Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Day Out

For at least part of the day, our lunch and shopping trip on Friday was sunny and beautiful. Not that warm, but lovely to be down by the water and walking around town. La Jolla is filled with specialty shops, galleries, and restaurants, always something interesting to see. We lunched at one of the hotel restaurants, enjoying the view from the terrace. From where we sat we could see both the ocean and the pretty little garden planted with red and white cyclamen. I have a few of these plants in my yard, but they always die off in the summer heat and reappear in the winter.

Today will be a quiet day, but I think I am ready for one. Yesterday Diane hosted our annual family Christmas get together and gift exchange. Lots of laughter and even MORE delicious food. This holiday season has been especially busy with family and friends, but I have loved every minute of it. We will have one more gathering on New Year's Eve and then it's back to work (and the diet!).

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Friday, December 28, 2007


It was a little bit chilly this morning. This was outside in our sheltered breezeway at about 8:00 in the morning, so you know it was even colder overnight. I know that if you live someplace where the mercury REALLY drops, you are thinking "wimps". You are right.

Fortunately, the stuff we grow in the yard was ok for the most part. We can survive a little frost. Looks like we can still make lemon rosemary chicken. Those little tangerines are Clementines, and they are delicious. We also have other varieties of oranges and tangelos, but they won't be ready for at least another month or two.

Here's a glimpse of what I have been up to. I've really enjoyed having a few days off, and have been fiddling with a new piece. We'll see where this goes. Even if it goes nowhere, its great to have time to get lost in color and fabric.

We had a beautiful Christmas, enjoying the company of visiting family and sharing delicious meals. I loved seeing each decorated home, so warm and festive. I usually take down and pack up the Christmas decor on New Year's Day, but this year it will stay up a little longer. Andy will be home to visit on Jan 9th, so we will have another Christmas celebration when he is here.

Today there is more fun in store. Diane and I are going to spend the day shopping, lunching, and walking down by the water. It may be chilly, but we will bundle up and enjoy the crisp air and beautiful colors of sky and ocean.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Last of the party quilts

Isn't this beautiful? Carla supplied the border fabric and Pam made her a New York Beauty. I love this quilt. I have fiddled around with these blocks but have never completed one. Definitely takes a lot of patience, but then so do most things associated with quilting.
It's been fun sharing these quilts. Next month we will draw names and begin the whole process again, getting ready for the 2008 exchange.
Hope you all are taking time to enjoy the good things of the season.

Monday, December 17, 2007

More gift quilts

Gayle's quilt from Andine. It is a winter theme quilt with snowflakes in the border fabric. The centers of the stars have fussy cut motifs, stockings I think.

Gayle said "Ok Jen, hand off that camera and come and get your quilt".

Obviously, I was very happy with the quilt Gayle made for me.
It is a fun, bright quilt, and I was touched that she worked so far out of her comfort zone to make it "artistic" in feeling. I would have been delighted with ANY style of quilt she made since I like them all. I know most people have a preference for quilt style, and though I am drawn to the brights, I love the antique reproductions almost as much.

Gayle knows I like batiks, so she used a lot of them in this quilt. Gayle has been learning how to quilt on a long arm with Carla, so she did all of the work herself. Even more reason to love the gift! I thought you might like to get a closer look at this one.

This weekend has gone too fast! I spent yesterday afternoon volunteering down at the Quilt Visions gallery. They have a wonderful juried members' exhibit up right now, including works by Laura Wasilowski, Pamela Allen, Carol Taylor, and Noriko Endo. There were so many more, but these are some of my particular favorites. It was fun to have plenty of time to see the works "up close" in an uncrowded venue.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Andine's quilt

Andine gets a first look at her quilt from Cindy. Andine provided the burgundy flower fabric, and when I first saw it I was kind of underwhelmed. Really not my cup of tea. I have to say, though, once I saw what Cindy did with it, I changed my mind. She made a lovely quilt
which perfectly complimented the fabric she was given.

Obviously, Andine was delighted!

Quilting Fitzy asked about what part of Michigan I came from. Though born in Kentucky, I lived in Royal Oak and Southfield, MI. during my childhood and teenage years. I came to California in 1975, got married the next year, and stayed. I would have to say that after 30+ years my strongest ties are here in California, and it feels like home.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Cindy's quilt

This morning was cold and clear again, and I had to use my "California Ice Scraper" (a credit card). I could even see frost on my neighbor's rooftops. When I moved to California from Michigan some 30+ years ago, this always made me laugh. Imagine, using a credit card for an ice scraper!

I know you want to see all of the quilts that were exchanged last weekend, so here is another installment.

Cindy's turn to open her quilt.

Cindy loves the "primitive" folk art style, so as you can see Carla got it just right.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Barbara's quilt

Barbara opens her quilt from Pam as we all excitedly wait to see it.

Another cheerful, lovely quilt. As if you couldn't guess, Barbara loves polka dots and bright colors. I'm not sure, but I think she may have provided the polka dot fabric.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More party quilts

Here is the quilt Joan made for Kathy. I love the colors in this one.

And here is the quilt Kathy made for Pam B. This was a challenging quilt to make since she started with that orangy-green batik. If you can, click on the second picture below and take a look at the fabric. Using those motifs in the center of each block worked really well. I remember we had an awful lot of fabric shopping trips trying to figure out how to coordinate something with that batik.

Pam loved the result, and so did we. Good job, Kathy!

For those who don't know, a bit of explanation. Our small quilt group is a baker's dozen of women who meet once a month or so to sew, chat, and socialize. We have done some trips and retreats together, and we have this Christmas party every year. In January, those who want to participate throw their names in a hat. We have a drawing to see who each person will make a quilt for during the year, to be finished by the Christmas party exchange. Each person who makes a quilt will also be getting one from someone else, not necessarily the person they made a quilt for. After the drawing, you may choose to give the person making a quilt for you some fabric to work around OR you may leave it up to them to choose. It is strictly voluntary to participate. This year, four women chose to sit it out. Life gets busy, and sometimes people feel that they don't want the pressure of the deadline.

As for me, there is nothing as thrilling as receiving a quilt made just for me. I also love making one designed especially for someone else. When you give a quilt to another quilter, you know they really APPRECIATE the work that goes into it. For a lot of us, before we started doing this exchange, we had never received a quilt as a gift.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Snowmen and Giant Telephones?

Appearances to the contrary, my friends are not all talking on giant telephones. Pam T gave each one of us one of these "grippers" for our rulers, and we were already in a silly mood. This picture is the result.

Here is a picture of the cute snowman ornament we each got as a party favor. The tables were draped in "snowy" batting with homespun fabric and berry garland for decoration. Our party favors made the perfect finishing touch. I think our hostesses must have worked all year long to make them.

Here is the beautiful quilt that Barbara made for Joan. She told me that the prarie points evolved as a solution for not having enough of one kind of fabric for the border, plus she wanted to add some interest. This quilt sparked a lengthy discusion over the making of prarie points, not something I have attempted as yet.
Blogger does not want to let me upload any more pictures tonight, so that's all for now. Stay tuned for more party quilt pictures.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Quilting Friends Christmas Party

Here is the completed courthouse steps quilt, just before I wrapped it for giving. The traditional style and colors are perfect for my friend Pam T.

It is actually a lap quilt, a little small for a bed.

Here is the lovely label Debra made for the quilt using machine embroidery. A very nice finishing touch.

Today was our annual quilt exchange Christmas party. As always, it was the best party of the Christmas season, and we had a wonderful time. Pam loved her quilt. I was thrilled to have made something she is so happy with.

And here I am with the amazing beautiful quilt that my friend Gayle made for me. I was so happy I cried. She worked completely out of her comfort zone to make a quilt just perfect for me.

On this day, we all felt loved and appreciated. Quilting Friends are the best! I will post more party pictures (with quilts) in the days to come.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Memories and new beginnings

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but Christmas comes in a close second. Some of my friends are cutting back on the holiday decorations, but I still enjoy getting out all of the traditional things and making little displays around the house. A couple of years ago I got a pre-lit pencil tree, and it makes things much simpler. We still use the handmade and special ornaments, including some little stuffed ones my mom made for us when the kids were just babies. I also use the tree skirt she made something like 25 years ago. Holding these things in my hands, I think about how she made them with love, and I spend a little time remembering. She has been gone 15 years and I still miss her every day.
How I treasure the things she made with her own hands!

Thank you friends for your support during our "empty nest" transition. Sooner than expected, we are getting used to the quiet around the house. We have talked to Andy several times since he left. Here is part of his first update, sent last week: "... Living in a city is much different. We have probably walked at least 10 miles since we arrived. Once you get used to the steep inclines, it's not a bad way to get around. The next step is figuring out the BART and the MUNI. For me, that begins a bit later today.Hopefully next week we find us both employed, and living in a sublet. Who knows, maybe we'll even be able to afford actual food. For now, one can dream. I will type another update shortly.Much love to everyone in San Diego... "

That "actual food" remark left me laughing. Believe me, they won't starve, especially since they emptied the pantry before they left. Since this early message, both boys have begun working and Andy is loving his job. They have found an apartment to sublet for a few months while they look around for something more long term. Every time we talk, he is just bursting with excitement. How can I not be happy?