Friday, March 28, 2008

Becky's Coffee Cup Quilt

I finished it! Well, almost. I think I'm going to add a bottom border. Surely I have the perfect fabric (or fabrics) for that. It will have to be quilted and bound and then it will really be done. I very much enjoyed taking a class from Ruth McDowell. It was good to be a student again.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

My Coffee Cup

Here are a couple of pictures of the quilt I am making in Ruth's class in it's early stages. I stayed late last night so I'm actually a little further along than it shows here. The quilt is 24" wide (or so) without borders. I'm loving it!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I'm A Student!

Today in Ruth McDowell's class, I cut and sewed and managed to piece about a 7" x 7" square unit. I took a couple of photos but, alas, the camera is not with me! I will upload (soon/tomorrow) some photos showing you all a progression of what I accomplish in my 5 days of class.
I'm finding that years of applique have left me well-suited to the kind of piecing that Ruth does. (Click here to go to Ruth's site for more about her.) 
I'm used to working with lots of different, small pieces of fabric. I am also used to not making a quilt top in a day. Good thing because the pieces I drew inside my pattern are small. If I have this thing together before I pack up on Friday it will be a miracle.
But I'm learning a lot. Ruth is an excellent teacher. It's nice to play!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Nepenthe @ Big Sur, CA

I spent yesterday with Caryl Bryer Fallert on the California coast. We drove down Highway 1 from Asilomar to a restaurant/gift shop called Nepenthe in Big Sur. Caryl had been there before in the late 60s. She says she thinks it hasn't changed much. 
The view from the restaurant is amazing! We ate outside and enjoyed both the view and the weather—and the food! Then we went to the gift shop (it's called Phoenix). I had way too much luck finding all sorts of things. I'm going to have to quit shopping soon.
The owner is a painter and he adorned the restrooms with the most amazing paintings. That's me posing in the ladies room. A very helpful man working in the store is the one who made sure we visited the "paintings". He even made sure the men's room was empty and then let us look in there. Should have taken a picture of it too but wasn't thinking.
Happy Easter to you all. I start my class with Ruth McDowell today. I think I'm ready. I guess I'll find out soon if I really am ready.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My class at Empty Spools

This week at Empty Spools is winding down... we've had 4 1/2 days of class. We have one more 1/2 day tomorrow when we'll talk about quilting and any other topics that come up. 
It's been great! Everyone has done a wonderful job. We worked on color, on constructing a more "organic" background, and on applique techniques. That's us in the photo: from left to right in rows, starting in the back, that's Karen, Gail, Christy, Bran, Linda, Janey, me, Kay, Tanya, and Trudy.
One reason that I really like multi-day classes is because I get a chance to get to know the people in my class. Everyone has a story and I enjoy your stories. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My grandson is eating corn on the cob!

If you click the link on this blog to my son's blog over there on the right (Becky's son's blog about her grandbabies) you'll see a picture of my grandson eating corn on the cob! He's 4 1/2 months old and he's pretty cute! And, yes, I'm Nana.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Empty Spools

I'm teaching at the Empty Spools seminar March 16-21. What a great place to go—both for teachers and students! I get to be both this year. I'm staying on for another week to take a 5-day class from Ruth McDowell after I teach for a week. I'm very excited!
Empty Spools is held at an historic conference center called Asilomar in Pacific Grove, CA, on the Monterey peninsula. Carmel is just minutes away. I'm from the land-locked prairie so I particularly enjoy any time spent at Asilomar.
If you've never heard of Empty Spools, I encourage you to check it out. Students take one 5-day class from one teacher. It's amazing what you can learn under these conditions. And the site is spectacular! It may be cold and rainy (I hope not but it is March after all) but I know it will be invigorating.

Where to look on the sewing machine...

Linda and I each sew on Bernina's. Did you know that there is a little mark in front of the presser foot that marks the 1/4" line? I'm finding that if I keep my fabric lined up with that line and don't worry so much about the edge of the 1/4" foot, I get a more accurate seam. I don't know if other machines have the same kind of mark... but if they do, try using it. It's handy.

More Pin Cushions

When I was out of applique to work on last week I made some new pin cushions from the wool beads we sell on our site. They are both easy and fun to make—a winning combo! A word to those of you with cats: Cats love these things! If you don't want them to play with your lovely pin cushions, you'd better hide them. In a drawer.
For the dotted ones, I cut ovals out of felt and felted them to the big wool ball. You can see that I also added some leaf shapes on 2 of them. Use the Clover felting tool or a felting needle to do the felting.
I'm calling the other ones "atomic" pin cushions. (Steve likes these the best.) I sewed small wool beads to the big wool bead with 3 strands of embroidery floss. Run the floss through the bead to each spot where you want to add a new bead.
I cut little squares of felt in contrasting colors to put at the outside of each of the little beads. As I pulled the floss tight, it gathered up the felt and cinched the little bead to the bigger one. Knot the floss out of sight at the base of one of the little beads. Too cute!

A Sneak Peek

The snow is melting and the sun is out. It's hard to believe that yesterday morning we had 7" of snow on the ground. 
I spent yesterday putting a new quilt up on the design wall. I was out of stitching (oh my!) and so I really did need to stop everything else I was supposed to be doing to work on this. Orange is sounding really good to me these days, so this one is predominantly orange. I bought the end of a bolt of a blue-with-orange-dots fabric by Kaffe Fassett earlier this week not knowing exactly where I might use it. That dot looks really good with the other oranges! You can see a bit of this quilt in the photo.
Orange may not immediately come to mind when you are working with blue, but it should. Orange is opposite blue on the color wheel. In the same way that red and green go together, so do blue and orange. They are very zing-y! 
I love Saturday. My husband and I have cleaned the house (he does the stuff I don't like to do and I do the stuff he doesn't like to do which works out very well) and I have the rest of the day to work on loose ends. There are blocks to trim and set together. There is the manuscript for our next book to get back to. I know there's more... I'm going to have to look at that "to do" list. And our granddaughter, Elanor, is coming over later to spend the night! I think we're going to play with modeling clay. 
Enjoy your day!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

We're blogging!

Hello! Welcome to the Piece O’ Cake blog! Linda and I have been talking about starting a blog for a long time and today is the day it’s happening. We’ll both be making posts and it is our hope that, through these posts, you get a chance to know us each a little better.
As I write this, the big news in Sherman, TX, is that it is snowing. Big flakes! This sort of weather event in Texas, in March, is unusual. We often get an Easter freeze (no sane person here plants annuals until after Easter) but this is sort of ridiculous. My cats are confused. They want to go out, but then their little feet hit the snow and it’s right back inside. Ten minutes later we do it again. Silly cats.
It’s sort of nice to be snowed in. My husband, Steve, called to say everyone who works at the college is going home and the students are out playing in the snow. I’m going to make a cup of tea and get to work putting the next project up on the design wall.