Sunday, August 6, 2017

Ricky Tims Master Class Lecture

We are so fortunate in Anchorage to have a fantastic quilt shop, Seams Like Home, that brings internationally renowned quilters to our part of the world. I attended Ricky Tims' two-day lecture  on Friday and Saturday. Those two days were the warmest and sunniest of the entire summer so would have been torture to be inside all day...but Ricky rocked my little quilting world and I didn't want to miss a minute of his lecture.

Above is the cover to the 120-page syllabus/book that comes with the lecture series. It is like getting four separate quilt books and covering all the details of those books in two day. It was intense.

Normally, he brings a trailer load of quilts to his lectures but since he flew to Alaska he brought a smaller sampling. We were allowed to touch all the quilts...really inspect them. One of my favorites was his self portrait.

He shared four unique binding or finishing techniques he created...two of them work great for pieces without straight edges.

The show stopper was his Bohemian Rhapsody quilt. I definitely want to explore his techniques for making this style of quilt. There were no seams to make the pointed corners. Definitely a master with his machine. 

There were several moments where I thought, "Why didn't I think of that???"

Ricky is a great entertainer. If you get a chance to take his it.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Busy as a Bee

Yesterday, I got a wonderful email from a woman who viewed my series of Youtube videos on how to make Bucilla felt kits. She shared her completed project and I found her way of making the name for the stocking wonderfully unique. The instructions call for embroidering the name but she did her's as a felt applique. Love it!

Of course, I thought....why didn't I think of that?  I learn so much from others when I share.

My latest landscaping project is a success. I used plant support cages to block of an area of lawn that needed to be leveled and reseeded. With two young, large dogs in the family, keeping them off the new dirt was the toughest part. After three weeks I had a good crop of grass and one weed in the middle.

My perennial flower garden is bursting with color.

My only frustration is the delphiniums I planted have turned out to be white...usually they are purple. I want purple. 

Since Breakfast Club was Thursday...I got a quilt top finished in time for show and tell. Love the denim color of the blues. Lots of piecing with this quilt design. I cut the fabric at the April Breakfast Club. I felt like I was working Bonnie Hunter design with all this piecing,

Roughly, 71 x 89. The pattern is Chain Log Cabin from the book, "Moda All-Stars Scraps Made Simple," designed by Laura Boehnke.

I also got the first set of pillow shams completed. Happy Dance!!!

So much has been going not good thing was our cat went missing...four days. I was so sad...and then he came home!

We have not been letting him go outside except in our enclosed dogrun. He seems to be okay with being an inside cat. I think he is close to 20 pounds now and a little over a year old. He looks perfectly healthy...guess he was just enjoying hunting for a few days. Kind of hard to work on my computer when he decides to spend some quality time with me. I am so happy he made it back home from his adventure.

Sunday, July 16, 2017


It has been a while since any actual quilting has taken place in my world. The rain clouds broke up and I have been outside most days...but I ran out of energy for landscaping so I took a couple of days off to bond with my midarm.

I have four shams to match quilts I use regularly on my bed. The bed quilts are both seven years old...hopefully I will get these made into pillow shams before the quilts turn eight. I used a simple muslin fabric for the backing as the backside will be completely covered once the shams are constructed. 

I got really hung up on what to "quilt" on the Iditarod shams. Finally I decided done was better than exciting! They are just pillow shams!!! 

I love these feathery designs...something so eye catching about combining the straight lines with feathers...and making little frames inside of frames. Love these.

I am going to wash the quilted sham tops before I do the final pillow sham construction. Something I have learned from experience. Though, this time I used dream puff batting which doesn't do a lot of shrinking.

Here's a peek at one of my hanging baskets. Our summer started with grey skies and rain so the coral geraniums in the center of this basket gave up on showing themselves. Still pretty!

I have been working in the evenings on a set of Bucilla ornaments that go with a Christmas stocking that features a gnome. Pretty darn cute!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fabia and Cub

June 28th, after 9 p.m. on the street in front of my house. This is Fabia and her solo cub. He is adorable.  My neighbor took this photo from her front porch with a nice camera. Not her iPhone. It was a cloudy and gloomy evening so I am so pleased she got this photo.

I saw her yesterday morning at the bottom of our mountain but didn't even know she was up on our street until I heard my dog barking from the top of our driveway. It was a bark that said an animal had been spotted but we had seen a bull moose earlier so that was what I thought I would see.

Fabia has been viewed in our mountain community for several years. She was originally called "Fabio," until it because obvious the he was actually a she. 

Just a quick post. I need to get packed up and drive into Anchorage for Breakfast Club. Raining all day today so a perfect day for sewing with friends.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Backyard Fire Pit Complete

This is what our fire pit looked like at the start of  the 2017 non-snow season. Cute...but I am a quilter that loves big borders and this little circle needed more.

A new outer border was slowly added.

Then, of course my mind kept wanting to add a connection to the rest of my landscaping. So I marked an additional area to dig up and add rock.

I'm calling the fire pit officially complete. I am not good at making beautiful, lush lawns. My current thought is to bring in top soil next spring, level out the lawn and reseed. The dirt around our house was sprayed with hydro-mulch five years ago but was left to go wild so there are plenty of weeds in the mix. Any advice about cultivating a lush lawn is greatly appreciated.

Our summer is turning out to be cloudy and cool which is pretty much normal. We are spending quite a bit of time sitting around the fire pit in the early evenings. 

So my next summer project was to stain the new awning extension over our deck door. We had it built in March and we are so happy to have it. We didn't realize when we built the house how often we would use the deck door. With two dogs, it is our main door and when it was raining or snowing we were getting hit with moisture whenever we opened it.

Before the new awning was stained...

 Just took a few hours.
The day started out sunny but almost as soon as I started working on it the dark clouds began to gather. I stained the areas that would be exposed to the rain first and hoped the stain would set enough before the rain came...if the rain came. 

Oops...I see in this photo that I left some of the blue painters' tape where I need a ladder to reach it. Most is done and looks great. We had a few light sprinkles but nothing that was bad for the new stain.

I don't think the "garden boxes" are going to get much action this summer. I did plant raspberries in one section. I still have some rock work to finish around the two bottom garden beds. You can also see our lovely and important generator that powers half of our house when we lose power. My studio is hooked up to the generator so the quilting can always continue. We do lose power in the winter time when there is heavy snow or high winds.

I have had a little success with one of the unique plants we can grow in Alaska, a blue poppy. They are pricey plants, about $15 for one plant. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it winters over for many years to come.

Breakfast club is this Thursday so I hope to spend some time at the sewing machine. I have two existing projects I am planning to take instead of starting the official new project...but I just might change my mind. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Row by Row Road Trip

I had an excellent adventure with several quilters from our Breakfast Club group. We did a road trip to the Kenai Peninsula. We absolutely have the most wonderful quilt shops in Alaska. We started early in the morning on Tuesday, shopped at four stores on our way to Homer, where we spent the night at a B & B. 

Wednesday morning was the first day of the Row by Row season. We were on the road by 8 a.m. since Homer has one quilt shop inside a hardware store that opens at 8 a.m.

After stopping for coffee and driving for an hour and half we were in Soldotna for our second pattern. I purchased kits of all the patterns since they were soooo cute and many had laser cut pieces.

Here is a look at the actual kit with the laser cut pieces. Fantastic detail. Not all the cut sections have been removed on the little pieces when you open the kit, such as the middle water piece.

Kenai Fabric Center is like a fabric hoarder's paradise. And I think half the store is batiks. The store does not have sales or discounts to clear out old fabric for new so I saw several batiks that had been released over ten years ago. But the new stuff is there too!!! It is definitely a "destination store."

Here's a peek at the Kenai Fabric Center kit. The birds are already on the fabric. It looks like someone drew them in place! I don't know...wish I had thought to ask at the shop if the birds were on the fabric or the shop added them. Some of these shops go to extreme lengths to make the perfect kit.

The Bearly Threaded kits came in different colorways with the black laser cut silhouette. 

Below is the colorway I bought.  The waters of the Kenai River in the Cooper Landing area are turquoise so I love this version.

And we ended our trip with a swing over to Seward which has one quilt shop. I had never been to this shop before and thought it was great. Lots of wildlife themed quilt kits at fantastic prices. Their block needs a little explanation if you aren't familiar with Seward.  At the bottom is the Sealife Center that is an educational facility. It is also our state's only permanent marine animal rescue and rehabilitation facility. At the top of the block is homage to a race up and down a mountain on the 4th of July every year called, Mount Marathon. It is a challenging race and just making it across the finish line is a real accomplishment.

And this morning I was just anxious to run out to Wasilla and pick up Sylvia's pattern.

She has a mushing theme going for her Row by Rows with two or three more years already designed. This pattern also might need a little explaining if you aren't familiar with dog mushing. When we lack snow on the ground, mushing dogs still need to train so mushers hook them up to four wheelers or atvs. Pretty ingenious.

And I know one of my blog readers will be happy to know, Sylvia had the "Idita Quilt," pins this year and I picked up two for her!

All of the above Row by Row kits came with laser cut pieces except the kit from Homer. In an ideal world I would stitch around every laser cut after adhering it in place...that's my plan anyway.

We did our non Row by Row shopping in the quilt shops the day we drove down to Homer and then just grabbed the Row by Row kits and patterns on Wednesday so we would have time to drive to Seward before heading back to Anchorage. We made it back to Anchorage by 6 p.m.

One of our Kenai Row by Row trekkers is a flight attendant for Alaska Airlines so she will help us collect kits from Fairbanks, Sitka, Ketchikan and Juneau. The patterns from my two local quilt shops in Eagle River just didn't interest me...nor did they last year. I certainly have enough wonderful patterns to collect in Alaska.

And...I still have four Anchorage shops to visit...maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Recording a Finish

I am not the fastest quilter...but just like the tortoise...I am persistent. (That pile of tops needing to be quilted just never gets smaller.) My favorite moment of quilting is when I tie that last knot when stitching down the binding. I always want to jump up and do a happy dance.

This pattern is "Perfect Ten," by Swirly Girls. So named because you take ten fat quarters and add border fabric. I used a set of Moda batik fat quarters that had aged so long I didn't remember the name of the set but I'm pretty sure they are a Laundry Basket design from long ago. I loved the batiks but because all of the fat quarters are pretty much of a medium value it was tough to figure out what to make with them.


I did blog about this quilt when I pulled it off the quilting frame so I feel like I am just repeating myself...but just in case you missed that post, I'll review a little history. I am thinking of naming it "Practice No. 5," as I pretty much planned to quilt each fabric section differently when I finished piecing the top. It took a few years for the right inspiration to come along but the two new books I bought from Margaret Solomon Gunn with filler techniques was the push I was waiting for on this quilt top. Also, the song, "Mambo No. 5," has been running through my head lately. 

I have been hoping sites for quilt photo shoots would work their way into my new landscaping. I tried a few out today. 

My Clematis trellis is coming along but my new plants are only about 18" tall. Great quilt stand! 

KcKinley and Logan kept walking through my shots (thank goodness for the digital camera age with delete buttons). So...I tried to get them both to pose. Ha! Logan is still too young to stay when I am trying to get him to look at the camera. Kinley is trying to give him some pointers (inside setter joke...pointers) on modeling.

I lost my patience and pulled Logan out of the scene. Kinley was very cooperative. Notice the "WOW" wheel. My son, Zack, who collects the antler sheds, made that for me when he was about 11 or 12 on a trip to Grandma and Grandpa's over spring break.

The "WOW" wheel is also a "MOM" wheel. I love it!

Eli even jacked one of my photo shoots...he was laying on my felt pieces from a Bucilla kit when I came back into the room with my camera.

At least he just laid on them and didn't mess them up at all. 

Questions from my last post:
Since two ladies asked the brand name of the little iron, thought I would mention it is a Clover wedge iron. Also asked by a noreply blogger (check your default settings to change that status) what pattern I was using for the red, white and blue quilt. It is  "Chain Log Cabin," from the book, "Moda All-Stars Scraps Made Simple."