3/24/17

A Late Night/Early Morning Finish

For all that Wednesday was a productive day, Thursday couldn't have been more slug-like. There was just one small housekeeping task to accomplish, and I did it early so that I could spend the afternoon sewing. Then I headed off for my monthly pedicure, making a couple of stops along the way home. When I got home, I had some lunch, and then sat down in a chair. After that, there was little movement, but a whole lotta sloth. Finally, I made my way to the sewing room at around 4:30 p.m., but Mike arrived home early, and so I didn't get very far.

When I got into bed last night, I couldn't sleep knowing how close it was to being finished, and so I got up and worked on it. It was finished around 2:00 a.m.


With so many seams and so many little pieces cut every which way from larger pieces of fabric, it was easy for little errors to add up. Also, many pieces are cut on the bias, and so there was some stretching involved as well.

When I started sewing from the bottom up, the bottom section (with the green background) was too long. You can see that there is just a small triangle of cuff above the outer edge of the shoe on the left. That seam needed to match up to look right, and so I pinned it there and worked my way to the outer edges. When it was pinned for sewing, the right edge was about 3/4 inch too long. The remaining sections went together just as they should, and so I just cut that puppy off. No harm done, and no one will ever know the difference. It ended up at 32 x 46 inches. Of course, it still needs quilting and binding.

The only other thing I accomplished yesterday was a little more stitching on Hocuspocusville. When it was unrolled to move the hoop, it looked like this.


It's more than half finished now, and I'll pick it up there again this morning. 

The only other thing to happen yesterday was the return of Bob the bobcat. Actually, we have no idea if this is a Bob or a Bobbi. He likes hanging out at the bottom of our field where there is plenty of mole, gopher, and squirrel activity. 


Usually, we don't see him this early in the year, and so it was surprising to spy him out in the field. He's camera shy, and so it's hard to get a good shot of him. This picture was taken through the living room window. It's zoomed in close, and I was able to brace the camera on Smitty's scratching post for stability. He looked right at me, and then hurried off.

It's another slow day here at the Three Cats Ranch. With Snips and Snails finished, I can get caught up on my Solstice Challenge blocks, and then...just maybe...I'll get going on the next section for And On that Farm. I can hear you saying, "Promises, promises."

3/23/17

Eight Seams Makes a Finish

Yesterday was a fairly productive day on the domestic front and in the sewing room. Some days are just that way. One housekeeping chore was dispensed with fairly quickly, and then I was able to get into the sewing room. I wanted to sew together the sections for the arm and shirt and then move along to the pant legs. That didn't take long.


From there, it didn't take long to get a good start on the legs. Soon the next section was sewn together.


From there, I told myself I'd go finish up some more housework. On my way out the door, I spied the little OshKosh b'Gosh overalls, and decided to remove the label and pin it in place. 


My neck was bothering me from the sewing I'd done already, and so it was tempting to quit for the day. Still, I thought, the cuffs on the pants are only a few pieces, and so I decided to finish those off.


It was late in the day by then, but the shoes were so tempting. I had to finish those too. This is what I love about quilting...the quilt itself propels one forward.


There is still one seam to sew in that bottom section. Now I have just three pieces in the upper background section to sew, and then just the long seams between the sections: a total of eight seams. Looks like this will be finished by day's end.

Today I'm getting my monthly pedicure, and I'll pick up some bird seed on the way home. Other than that, it's nothing but sewing. I'm looking forward to having this all stitched together.

3/22/17

Quilt Shop: Homespun Quilts & Yarn; Astoria, Oregon

It's good that I have a quilt shop to share with you today since yesterday was a boring day of laundry and grocery shopping. It was a nice little shop, and I enjoyed my time there. My Quilt Shop app failed me this time because I was certain there was at least one quilt shop in Astoria. The Quilt Shop app identified none. Undeterred I went onto the internet and found Homespun Quilts & Yarn, just a few blocks down from the tall scary bridge.


Before I go on, I want to say just a bit about Astoria. It's named for the Astor family. John Jacob Astor (the first) was a trader who was hired in 1810 by Thomas Jefferson to establish a Jamestown-like colony on the Pacific Coast. Using information from the Lewis & Clark Expedition, Astor set out on an expedition beset by hardship, starvation, and tragedy that was ultimately unsuccessful. As it turns out, there is an entire book written about this, entitled (unsurprisingly), Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival. I always thought Astoria was named for the man's great grandson, John Jacob Astor IV, who went down with the Titanic. Here's my take on this whole story: Never travel with the Astor Family.

History aside, let's get back to the quilt shop, shall we? It's located on a very narrow street. There's on-street parking that was all occupied on the day we visited. Fortunately, we found a spot one block over. Also, there is a public lot just across the street. The shop appears small, judging by the storefront.


Step inside the front door, and you see a store that reaches far back into the interior of the building. It didn't have a huge inventory of fabric, but what they had was very nice. There was probably something for everybody here. This was a pretty wall full of batiks.


In this corner were some very fun novelty prints.


Look at these sewing fabrics. The one with the spools of thread was so yummy, and I was very tempted.


Yarn people, I need to apologize to you here. There was a whole room of yarn, but since I'm not a yarn person, I didn't even step inside. Later, I realized that I'd missed an opportunity for you guys. Mea culpa. I won't let it happen again.


They had so many cute patterns available from artists I've not seen before. This guy made me smile.


The pattern is by Chicken Soup Designs. Cute, huh?


This was a nice long wall of solids, polka dots, and stripes.


So many pretty colors. This is why I love to visit quilt shops. It's a feast for the eyes...like walking into Oz.


In this old wringer washer, you could grab handfuls of scraps and stuff them into a bag for $8. I like seeing these kinds of deals in a quilt shop.


They had a good selection of florals and patterns for bags.


The fabrics on these shelves were all flannels.


This was a cute little bag. I looked around for a pattern, but didn't see one. Possibly, it was just for display.


Nothing to see here...I just liked this quilting motif.


There was an interesting shelf of books. I picked up this one, but then set it down again when the templates on the pages within nearly burned my fingers. I just say "No" to templates.


This adult coloring book caught my eye.


The first page I flipped to was this one:


Makes you wonder if it was some kind of trap, doesn't it?

Look at these pretty metallic threads. I might have bought the entire basket just so I could set it in my own sewing room to gaze upon.


This bothered me a little bit. There was a sign above that said "kits available". I looked around, but didn't see any kits. This pattern is available for free on the internet. Since I didn't see any kits nor any associated prices, I decided to let it go and didn't inquire further.


Besides...just to the left were these little samples, and they distracted me. This was a larger one.


There was a smaller one, nearly identical, right beside it.


It was so cute, and I was thinking one could make a whole quilt from these. Wouldn't it make a good Rainbow Scrap project? I decided to purchase the pattern. This one is from Patch Abilities.


Of course, I needed that beach ball button, didn't I? And so I picked that up too.


Also, I picked up a fat quarter of this regional print for the Quilty 365 in my future:


Since the scrub jay quilt was on my mind, I picked up these three fat quarters. Possibly they can be used when I make the bird.


The women working in the store were so friendly and polite, it made the whole experience that much more enjoyable. One of them actually encouraged me to photograph the samples hanging on the walls, something that rarely happens. As I was checking out with my purchases, I resisted these impulse items located next to the cash register.



And look at these pretty seam rippers hand made by a local artist.


They were very tempting, but I resisted, realizing I really had no use for something like that. (Ha!) The woman who took my money observed that, even if one doesn't need a seam ripper, they'd still look good next to the sewing machine. Hard to argue with that.

So, I thoroughly enjoyed this quilt shop. It's definitely worth stopping in if you find yourself in Astoria, Oregon. Here are the particulars:


And here's a screenshot of their website:


I rate them 5 out of 5 rotary cutters:


Today I have a stay-at-home day, and I'm hoping to get well along on the Snips and Snails quilt. I had about an hour to sew yesterday, and so I was able to finish sewing the right side arm and hand together. 


Now the larger section is nearly finished, and I expect to sew it together today. From there I'll continue making my way down the legs. The fingers and hands were the most complicated part of this quilt, but the shoes will be a close second. Also, I'm now officially a week behind on the Solstice Challenge, but I'm afraid it'll have to wait until Richard's quilt is finished. He has all of my attention just now. There are just a few housekeeping chores to do. Aside from that, it's going to be a NBS day (nothing but sewing).

3/21/17

A Gift of Good Weather

It was a weekend unplugged. We arrived back home yesterday afternoon from our camping trip at Cape Disappointment. When I said I'd blog if I had something to talk about, it never occurred to me that we'd be in an area without cell phone service. It's not unusual to go without wi-fi, but lack of cell phone service is becoming rare. No matter. It didn't spoil the weekend, and sometimes it's good to unplug and relax. Still, it left me with a lot of catching up to do blog-wise.

When we did our final packing and took off Friday it was pouring rain. Along the way, we stopped off at the Fred Meyer in Warrenton, Oregon, to pick up a few things. Actually, we stopped because we still had about 20 miles to go, and Mike was getting sleepy. Nevertheless, we needed paper plates, napkins, and pickle relish. Also while we were there, we saw this essential item that I needed badly:


Those of you who have razzed me about planting the tomato seeds in red solo cups will appreciate the necessity of this item, and it's the first shot glass purchased while traveling in our new camper. 


It was a short hop into Astoria, Oregon, from there, which is a little port city situated at the mouth of the Columbia River where it dumps into the Pacific Ocean. I'd arranged with the driver ahead of time to stop at a quilt shop before crossing the river into Washington. (Yes! A quilt shop!) I'll tell you about that in a separate post. From there, we had to cross the river using what Mike has dubbed the "tall, scary bridge." It's easy to see why.


It poured all the way to our destination, and continued pouring into the night. At times, the rain on the roof of the camper was so loud, we couldn't hear the TV. It rained all night and into Saturday morning when it stopped suddenly. Oh. My. Gosh. Don't you know we donned our rain gear as quickly as possible so that we could get outside while we had the chance. There was an icy wind, and it seemed a perfect opportunity to wear my pink pussycat hat. (Thanks, Gail!)


It was a short walk out to the beach from our campsite.


When we stepped down off the embankment onto the beach, we got our first glimpse of the lighthouse.


There were people on the beach in that direction, and so we decided to walk the other way. If you look off into the distance in the image below, you can see a jetty. I'll say more about the jetty in a minute.


We walked some distance...perhaps a mile...and as we approached that tree in the distance, we wondered if we were seeing a bird's nest or a bird sitting there.


As we came closer, two juvenile bald eagles flew up from the ground, and we realized then that the bird in the tree was an adult bald eagle.


They flew off away from us and landed in some nearby trees. We investigated the ground where they'd been, thinking they must have been feeding on something. We found only an open clam shell.


We turned around there and headed back. The dry spell continued throughout our walk, and by afternoon, the sun was shining. Our shadow selves could hardly contain their joy.


There wasn't much else to do, and so we went out for a second walk...this time, in the direction of the lighthouse.


There was a lot of driftwood on the beach. Being so close to where the Columbia River flows into the Pacific Ocean, we have an idea that this wood flows down the Columbia and out to sea where the ocean drives it back onshore.


We were treated to a pretty sunset Saturday evening.


Here's another image of the lighthouse in the light of the setting sun.


The colors didn't amount to anything more dramatic than this. Clouds far offshore kept the sun from casting its light onto the clouds higher up.


We could see that it was raining off shore, but we didn't see any more rain until we packed up to leave Monday morning.


We expected nice weather on Sunday and took the opportunity to visit the lighthouse. It was a short hike out from the parking lot where we had a nice view of the beach below.


These buildings were fenced off, and so we couldn't get very close. Also, there was not much information to say what they were. The red roofs would indicate that the Coast Guard may have used them at some point in time.


Now, they are available for vacation and event rentals.


Along the way, we read the information about the jetty. It seems the jetty caused a shift in the deposit of sand from the ocean, and a substantial amount of land was reclaimed.


If you look at "Elephant Rocks" in the foreground of the image above, you can use your imagination to see the elephant.

In the image below, you can see how the campground looked at the time the jetty was completed. 


From there, we continued on to North Head Lighthouse, which is being restored to its original appearance from when it was built in 1898.


These signs were interesting to us. We knew that lighthouse signals varied in the information they conveyed, but I hadn't thought about the "daymark" signified by the lighthouse color. This explains why lighthouses are sometimes painted with stripes and why they vary in appearance in other ways.


There is another lighthouse at the other end of the cape. In the next series of images, you can read about the lighthouse further to the south.




From there, we headed to the marina in the little town of Ilwaco, Washington.


This sign gave us a chuckle.


There was a walkway with some shops, fishing-related businesses, and galleries. With a few exceptions, they are still closed for the season, which begins around May. We sat on a bench for a while and then headed back.


Along the way, we stopped at one of the few open galleries and had a nice conversation with the artist. There, I picked up my first refrigerator magnet for the new camper...signed by the artist, no less.


As we drove away, we noticed birds nesting in the many pylons in the marina. Hard to say, but this looks a little like a woodpecker.


From there, we headed a few miles north to Long Beach, Washington. It's easy to see how it got its name. Look to the north and you see this:


Look to the south, and you see this. It is legal to drive one's vehicle out onto the sand here.


The seagulls caught my eye, and I was attempting to get some good pictures, thinking I might like to make a quilt from one of these images.



It was cold on the beach, and even the seagulls thought so.


After that, we went back to the camper and relaxed for the remainder of the day. Millicent was finished up while we were gone.


And I went back to work on Hocuspocusville. I've worked my way across the bottom now.


In two tries, I managed to draw out the pattern for the scrub jay quilt. My first try didn't work out very well, but I learned the secret is to start with large sections and then move to the small.


You can see a better shot of the detail of the bird here. The goal is to prevent "Y" seams, "X's" and plus-signs. In my first attempt, I discovered unsewable seams when I tried labeling them for their sewing order. There might still be some "Y" seams, but it appears that everything at least is sewable now.


The next stop for this is to a copy shop to be enlarged, and then I'll continue on with the process of coloring, transferring to freezer paper, adding tick marks, and then beginning to choose fabrics. I'll show you a couple of things I picked up at the quilt shop with the bird in mind.

So that just about brings you up to date on our camping trip. I'll tell you about the quilt shop separately. (That was fun!) Today is an egg pick-up day. Also, there is a mountain of laundry and grocery shopping to do. I'm hoping in all of that to get some more done on the Snips and Snails quilt. Here's where I left it on Thursday:


The bib for the overalls is sewn together now, but I discovered I'll need to sew down the legs at least part way before I can start sewing those sections together. I'll be sewing together the arm section on the right fairly soon.

So with that I'm off to get a start on my day. There's much to do to get back to what passes for normal.