Monday, July 30, 2012

Welcome Cat, Sunset, and Murder? (La Conner, WA)

A Drunkard's Path: A Someday Quilts Mystery (Someday Quilts Mysteries)
Clare O’Donohue did an excellent job on this story!  I had a hard time putting it down.  Nell has a new romance in her life.  She has decided to go back to art school with lots of encouragement from her quilt circle.  Nell isn’t the only one with a love interest.  Her grandma, Eleanor has also found love with Nell’s art professor and renowned artist.

Not everything in the little town of Archer’s Rest is so idyllic.  Two young women are found dead along the river and one was in Eleanor’s backyard.  Is it the same killer?  One of the suspects is Eleanor’s new beau and Nell is worried about her grandma being the next victim.  This time the whole quilting circle wants to help Nell and gets involved in solving the mystery.

Clare gives excellent clues, but not enough to give away the identity of the killer.   I was very surprised when they finally solved the mystery.  The art class lessons alone were fun to read since I never took art classes ..well, not since high school.  I always wanted to take were courses from a collage.  There was plenty of quilt talk too.  The way Clare merged the artwork with quilt making was wonderful.  I actually got a little frustrated because my fingers would start itching to quilt, but I could not put the book down!  I wish I could get this on my iPod.  I would love listening to this story while I quilt away the hours.

Sunset over Lone Tree Beach

On The Cutting Board
After I finished putting the top together, I was a little worried that the fabric blended into each other.  Too much of the same tone does make it hard to see the Welcome or the cat.
But, once I started the buttonhole along the edges, I knew it would be okay.  I think that next time I will use some better contrasting colors so kitty and Welcome stand out more.  I'm going to make it a little bit bigger too.  This one is only 10x16.
Well, this one is ready to be layered and quilted.
Now, I have three wall hangings to quilt: Art Nouveau, Gift Shop, and this one!  I better get a moving!
Happy Quilting!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Welcome Cats, Quilts, and Museums (La Conner, WA)

I visited La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum yesterday.  The Tudor-style Victorian mansion was fabulous to see by itself, but the old quilts on display along with the Japanese quilt exhibit made the visit perfect!

This mansion was built in 1891 and was known as the Gaches Castle.
The mansion almost did not make it after being gutted and turned into apartments for 30 years.  One of the tenants caused a major fire that took out the roof and third floor.  

There was talk of tearing down the old place, but one man saw a historic site that needed to be saved and started a restoration group.

They did a wonderful job restoring this mansion.
I just love the colors in this quilt!
They even restored the old fireplaces with Italian tile just as Mrs. Gaches would have liked it.
There are two exhibits at the museum from Japan right now.  One is "Ainu Embroidery" and the other is "At Play - Asobi: Quilts from Japan".  The Ainu Embroidery also included reverse appliqué.  I spent a lot of time studying the artwork.  I think I'm going to give reverse appliqué a try sometime soon. The embroidery consisted of "Cord" stitching or what I call couching. The coat in the photo below is all reverse appliqué and cord embroidery.

The quilts were extraordinary and made from silk, loose woven cotton, and hemp.  One quilt had me and another woman with our noses only inches from its work.  The quilt was filled with small scenes of the old life in Japan.  Beautiful gardens, detailed robes, hair, and their faces were just amazing.  I could have spent more time looking and studying all the quilts, but the museum was very busy that day.
No photos allowed, so here's some samples from a post card.
Back to the real world again.....across the street from the museum was a small butterfly garden for the public.  A very serene spot to relax and smell the flowers.

On The Cutting Board
Remember the cat material I bought a while ago?  Well, I decided to make a Welcome wall-hanging.  I used an old photo of Dusty playing on the scratch post as my kitty model.

I want to use large letters so people can see them at a distance.  I'm still working on the size and style I want to use.
 In the meantime, I am making a border using a paper foundation since the border's pattern is very small and there are a lot of pieces.

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Maiden of Deception Pass (La Conner, WA)

One of our many favorite stops in this area is the Rosario Beach Park.  It is a small inlet close to Deception Pass Bridge with deep waters allowing boaters to come and go.  Most of the time it is a quiet area, but once in a while a naval jet fighter will fly over to remind us that we are not far from civilization.  I love coming here and walking along the beach area.
view from the pier
This is a Samish story pole called The Maiden of Deception Pass.  There's an interesting story about her printed on plaques surrounding her.  So I find myself watching people slowly circling her while they read her story.   I also found a page on the carving with pictures of the story pole here.
They say you can still see the Maiden's hair floating in the Deception Pass waters....

We spent some time watching the Swallows zip around us.  I did not even try to take their pictures since I'm sure I would either miss or get nothing but a blur of a black streak across the photo.  Then Dan noticed one sitting on a cross beam just below the pier.  When we looked a little closer, there were quite a few sitting on the the cross beams resting.
peeking at you, peeking at me

fluffed up and cooling off
At the Car Wash
This gorgeous Dahlia was growing outside the car wash's office.  I wonder how many people stop to take photos of it?

On The Cutting Board

Finished the top for the gift shop wall hanging.  I have plenty of leftover batting so I should be able to finish this one up soon.  

Well, right after I finish another wall hanging top that I just started.  I'll show it to you next time.

I'll leave you with this cute clip that SpartanBabe shared with me from the "Emperor's New Groove.   It's very funny!  Lots of Squeakers in this clip....

Happy Quilting

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Over The Rainbow Bridge (La Conner, WA)

I'm having a hard time keeping up with myself and the internet.  Part of the problem is the slow internet, but the main problem comes from this area having so much to do.  We have visited Oak Harbor, Anacortes, and La Conner in this last week.  I won't bother listing all the parks we stopped at, as well. 

I have so many pictures to share and experiences to talk about, but at the same time, I'm having a hard time sitting in front of a computer waiting for it to upload the next page.  So, I think I will keep this post short and I will add photos to Webshots later.

We visited La Conner this week on a sunny day - surprise!  It is such an enchanting town and I have been under its spell since we visited here three years ago.  

We walked the main street and as usual, I took way too many pictures.  La Conner's quaint downtown area on the Swinomish Channel is filled with wonderful gift shops, galleries, and museums.  Oh!  Speaking of museums...there's a quilt museum here and I plan to visit them next week.   The Quilt & Textile Museum is up the hill in an an old Victorian home. I have been there before and really had a great time looking at quilts and wandering through the beautiful old mansion.
Views from the docks
and this view at the opposite end of the channel with the Rainbow Bridge
La Conner has so many shops to look through including a quilt shop called Fabric Déva (no website).   I actually did not buy a thing from the shop this time....only because I could not make up my mind, got frustrated, and decided I'll just have to go back again.
The Ginger Grater on 1st Street
There are a lot of nice restaurants and pubs along the waterfront with sitting areas on the dockside.  I love the looks of this one.  It has a waterfall coming off the dock and into the channel.  People are sitting nearby eating while enjoying the sunshine and listening to the water fall into the channel.

Even La Conner's bridge is enchanting.  This bridge has been a burnt orange since 1957.  After getting the first coat of primer, the town's people decided they liked the color and asked DOT not to add the typical green coat of paint.  It has been burnt orange ever since and is known as the Rainbow Bridge.
Rainbow Bridge

On The Cutting Board
Last winter, I decided to make a small sign for Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve's gift shop.  Actually, the shop is also the office area and when visitors look through the screen door, they did not see the items for sale inside.  We kept hearing the same comment a little too often - "oh, I did not realize this was a gift shop" even though we had t-shirts and hats hanging outside with a sign.

Sooo, I thought I would make a little sign to hang on the inside of the screen door with hopes of getting a little more business for the shop.

I thought about using one of the many birds sighted on the preserve, but then I worried about the correct color.  If I am off on the color, I'm sure I would hear about it from some of the die-hard birders!  Then I saw this cute clipart of a squirrel holding an acorn....Perfect!

I'm using the lighter fusible webbing for this project.  It should be easier on my hands while I am embroidering the edges and details.  Isn't he cute?
I will be wondering how a birder can sight birds if they miss this sign.  Okay, I'm ready to start some embroidery work. 
Today is Saturday - we are off to see the Farmer's Market and downtown Mount Vernon.  Catch you later!
Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Not So Wordless Wednesday (La Conner, WA)

We saw our first juvenile Bald Eagle!  He was sitting in the tree on Lone Tree Beach.  A popular spot for Eagles hunting for fish.  Except for his feathers and beak, he looks full grown.
Caught plucking out his white feathers.
And like most typical teenagers, he is in a hurry to grow up and be an adult.  I watched him pluck quite a few of his white feathers out.
Practicing his Regal pose
And to prove he was an adult, he did several regal poses just to impress his viewers.
Lone Tree Beach
California Poppies

On The Cutting Board
Introducing Bear Lee an Angel

Bear Lee is not perfect as you can tell from his crooked halo and droopy wings tied on with twine,....

I used high quality muslin of 200 count
....but that doesn’t keep him from trying with all his heart to put a smile on everyone’s face.

His heart is filled with his favorites: berries and flowers.  A friend visiting Alaska told me about her experience of watching a black bear grazing on dandelion heads.  It had me wondering how many dandelion heads does it take to fill a black bear?
all hand-stitched embroidery
Of course, my flower doesn't look like a dandelion, but I would like to think that Bear Lee would enjoy a variety of flowers to munch.
I used coffee to stain the muslin
Twine is used to keep Bear Lee's wings on his back and his halo upright
Batik backing on the wings for a nice finished look
    • Body ~ 16 inches long (doesn't include halo)
    • Sitting ~ 12 inches tall  (doesn't include halo)
    • Wing span ~ 14 inches
    • Heart ~ 2 3/4 x 2 1/4 inches
Bear Lee's arms and legs have minimal movement.
He can stand or sit.
So, what do you think?  Would you pay $35 for him?  Too much?  Too little?  I plan to post Bear Lee in Etsy soon.  I need to work on his photos.  They are not the best.  My light box is too small for him.  Maybe an outdoor photo shoot would be better.

Once Bear Lee has sold I plan to make another one.  I think I'm going to try a different bear pattern.  In the meantime, I'm also thinking of creating some more crazy quilt items.  I had a lot of fun creating Bear Lee's wings and heart.
Happy Quilting!

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