Sunday, October 9, 2011

Machine Quilting

I finished the top for Food Quilt #2 and got it basted.  I am going to quilt it myself as my favorite long-arm quilter is not available right now.  And if she can't do it I may as well be unhappy with my work as pay someone to do a job I will be unhappy with.  Colleen at Sew Little Time Quilting is the absolute BEST long-arm quilter ever.  She does awesome work. Understands what I like and will even free-hand drawings that I give her.

But, anyway, she can't quilt right now so I am going to do it myself.  Setting up the Flynn Frame was a bust as I don't have room so I will do it on my Featherweight. 

Checking the stitch length, as I recently mentioned, gave me a gift certificate for New Pieces, a great quilt shop in Berkeley.  One of the goodies I got was "Machine Quilting Made Easy" by Maurine Nobel.  SewCalGal had recommended it on her blog just the day before I went to New Pieces. e-mailing SewCalGal back and forth we discussed actually doing the exercises in the book in order to improve our free motion quilting.  So, today, in between working on the food quilt, reading and eating (no chocolate tho :(  ) I did the first exercise in the book.  In addition to checking the stitch length and practicing tying off and stitching I did some stars.  I even labeled the practice patch so that in five years when I pull this out I won't have to rack my brain to figure out what it is!  I can see the benefit of this practice.  I am confident now that I will be able to quilt this using straight line quilting.  Will post the results when I finish the quilt.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Today was a really busy day.  I picked up and dropped off quilts for artquiltmaker and one of my stops, New Pieces at 4th and Gilman in Berkeley, I was handed a birthday card from artquiltmaker (my daughter)! It had a generous gift certificate in it which I proceeded to totally use up! The picture above shows the goodies I selected.

I found some 120" wide fabric for the back of my grandson's food quilt.  I got two quilt hanger thingies (I've misplaced one already!) and the Machine Quilting book by Maurine Noble.  This book was recommended to me by SewCalGal and is timely because I am endeavoring to set up the Flynn Frame I purchased recently.

When I got to artquiltmaker's house I gathered the food I had asked her to get and made two pots of soup and a pan of lasagna for her larder.

I make a really easy and delicious soup. Take a boneless chuck roast and cut it in large chunks.  Cut up vegetables, including an onion, of your choice, also in large chunks.  When I make a chicken soup I cut up a whole chicken, use the back, neck and wings for the soup and save the meaty portions (breast, drumsticks and thighs) for another meal of baked or fried chicken.  Put enough oil in the bottom of a cast iron dutch oven and heat it.  Dump in the meat and vegetables.  When they start to sizzle (about five minutes) put them into a 350 degree preheated oven and bake for thirty minutes.  After thirty minutes remove the dutch oven from the oven and place on the stove.  Add broth, water or fruit juice to cover the meat and veggies.  Bring to a boil and simmer for thirty minutes.  You can add a bay leaf when you add the liquid but add any other spices about 25 minutes into the simmering so they don't loose their flavor.  With chicken soup, after the simmer, I remove the chicken pieces, let them cool, then remove the skin and bones and put the meat back in the soup.  Some poultry seasoning is nice in the chicken soup.

In a beef soup some small new potatoes are nice.  Or in either beef or chicken soup you can put rice in your individual serving bowl and then add the soup.  I don't put rice in my soup when cooking because it soaks up all the liquid.

So I hope you enjoy this easy soup recipe as much as I am going to enjoy my birthday presents!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A visit to Columbia State Park

Our 20th wedding anniversary was the tenth of August and we decided to go see Columbia State Park and have lunch there.  While Strolling around the town we came to the Native Sons Museum and hall.  Our Son-in-law is a member of this worthy organization.  

We were quite surprised and proud to see the campaign button he used when he last ran for an office in the museum! (The blue button, top center)  What a small world

These are the two lead horses of the four-horse stagecoach team.  Rides were offered with discounts for senior citizens.  We enjoyed looking at the horses and the stagecoach.  We have, however both taken rides on stagecoaches and do not wish to repeat the experience!  Did you know a stage coach can go twenty miles a day? It is about 60 miles to Yosemite from Columbia which means it took three days to travel by stage from Columbia (which is near Sonora) to Yosemite Park when that was the common way to travel?  Hard to believe!

The Wells Fargo office desk
The other thing that amazed me is there was a charge by Wells Fargo (the mail carrier) when a letter was posted and another charge, depending on weight and how much the recipient appeared to want the letter, when it was picked up at its destination.

We had a good day, it was quite fun.  We ended it at the ice cream parlor/theater with some delicious dessert!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Vacation post cards

I started blogging again yesterday.  This morning I decided to edit my blogs and found some drafts I had never finished.  So, today I am finishing them and posting.

While on vacation in Oregon I did the send everyone I know postcard thing.  The difference is I drew on USPS postcards instead of buying the premade kind.  Here are two of the ones I remembered to photograph.


It is always fun for me to draw postcards.  It would be even more fun to remember to photograph all of them.  I wonder if the loved ones I send them to save them?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Flynn Frame

A few months ago I bought a used Flynn Frame from Amazon.  I had been thinking about getting one for quite some time and finally bit the bullet and ordered it.

When the device arrived I opened it up, read the directions, put it back in the box and stashed it under my drafting board.

On my regular Thursday visit to artquiltmaker we talked about quilting (as usual) and bemoaned the fact that our favorite long-arm quilter, Colleen Granger of So Little Time Quilting is currently unavailable.  Which, of course led to my stashed Flynn Frame.  We talked about practicing, what kind of fabric to use and ways to embellish the practice quilt.

So, yesterday I spent the better  part of the day putting the thing together.  I had to go to OSH to buy round tubes to roll on.  They didn't have the exact size I need so jerry-rigged the height with four drawing boards!

I got the thing all set up and started rolling it around without the machine running to get the feel of it.  I found it to be quite awkward and also found that I do not have enough room, even for a twenty inch quilt!  So I'm looking to expand into the spare bedroom.

The other thing I found out by this dry run was that I need, at least at first, to have lines to follow on the blank quilt sandwich.  Also, the throat on the machine I planned to use only gives me five inches of quilting space.

Well, after all that the mounted Flynn frame, when taken off the sewing machine, fits perfectly behind the door of my studio.

Guess I'll get back to the food quilt.  More on that later.