Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy Halloween! (Florence, OR)

Okay, I'm a little early, but I have been getting in the mood for Halloween all summer long between wall hangings, living in fog covered areas, reading, and...
....watching some old favorite movies like Hocus Pocus and Casper.
Hocus Pocus (1993) Poster  Pictures & Photos from Casper - IMDb
Books to get me in the mood for Halloween
I did a lot of reading this summer.  I discovered quite a few new authors, but I'll just talk about two for this post because they have lots of magic and fantasy to fire up anyone's imagination.

The first book is just the beginning of a great series filled with myths, legends, time travel, fantasy, monsters, gods, and Sci-fi....gosh, I could go on, but I won't...

This should be tagged “teens to adults” instead of “teens to young adults”.  I loved this book so much that I had to read the whole series.  This fast-paced series is about a legendary alchemist Nicolas and his wife Perenelle Flamel who actually lived in Paris in the fourteenth and fifteenth century.  You can visit their house, now a restaurant, at 51 Rue De Montmorecy, Paris today.   

Throughout the series, Michael Scott’s love of history shows through his storytelling.  This story is well written with in-depth characters, magic, action-packed battles, time-traveling, sprinkled with historical facts and mythology.  At the end of each book, Michael talks about how he decided to write this book, the history behind his characters, locations, different myths, and unusual historical discoveries.  So many historical characters!  There’s Joan of Arc, St. Germaine, Billy the Kid, Virginia Dare, and Dr. John Dee - who?  Do a Google, he was well known during his time.  Then there are the mythological characters such as the Egyptian cat goddess - Bastet, The Sphinx, Prometheus, and Isis.

In “The Alchemist”, Nicolas and his wife have learned the secret to long life through the Codex book.  It doesn't keep them young, but it does keep them alive a lot longer than anyone else without the help of The Elders.  800 years later, the Codex has them searching for the perfect “Twins” while living in San Francisco, CA and trying to stay hidden from their enemy Dr. John Dee and The Elders who want to destroy the human race.

I can go on, but I would end up talking about all 6 books. Start with the first one. If you like it, you will want to line up the next five because you will not want to stop reading until you get to the very last one.

The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston
This is the story about a modern witch Bess Hasksmith and her story to stay independent through the centuries from Gideon – the one who made her a witch and feels she owes him for her life and training.   I enjoyed the way we go back and forth in time from 1658 with the plague and witch trials to London’s Whitechapel district in 1888 to WWI to present day as Bess tells her story to a young witch apprentice.
This one does have some unusual scenes that might make some people uncomfortable.  To me, the scenes were a good description of what witch trial accusers would have claimed to have witnessed during that time.  I like Paula's writing style and I plan to read her next book soon.

Another fascinating bridge built by Conde B. McCullough in the 1930s.  This one is close to Heceta Head Lighthouse.  It crosses the river and goes straight into the side of a mountain's tunnel.  I can see this being a wonderful starting point for a time-travel story.  Cross the bridge, through the tunnel to come out...not where, but when.  The fog that day really had my imagination going.
UR Kidding!  National Cat Day
Because I have four cats, I just had to mention that today is National Cat Day.  Like it's not a cat's day every day, right?  Ours are so spoiled that I don't know where I would start telling you how spoiled they are....I do love my cats and could never ever live without them.  They are my best furry friends ever.

So here are a couple of LOL Cats that look very familiar to me.
I Can Has Cheezburger? celebrates National Cat Day!
It's Better Than Having Chip Crumbs in the Bed
Gee, this looks familiar....
    so does this.....
All of It!
yea, except ours comes up to us and demands we get out of his bed first...
You Don't Know What It Means to Need Sleep
Okay, got to go.  The cats are demanding dinner......
You've Seen Me Clean Myself...There's no Going Back
Happy Quilting!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Living In A Fog (FLorence, OR)

We visited the Heceta Head Lighthouse (Ha-SEE-Ta) a couple of days ago.  The fog bank was sitting low and giving the area an eerie Gothic look with sunshine.  I went nuts with the camera.  I'll try not to overdue the photos.  I get the feeling this place sees more fog than sunshine.

From the parking lot and beach area, we got a great view of one of the original houses.  The house is now a B&B and the head lighthouse keeper's home.  
There were more black birds than seagulls all over the beach area adding to the atmosphere.
It's too bad a second house that probably housed the assistants was dismantled and the lumber sold.  I would liked to have seen the other one.  This one is a wonderful well-maintained Queen Anne-style home.  I just love this porch.  A great place of a cup of tea...and to have
such a gorgeous view!  So peaceful with just the sound of birds and the ocean crashing against the rocks below.  
You can see the lighthouse between the flag pole and the house.  The keepers have a short walk up a hill to the lighthouse.  Not too bad of a walk as long as you are not carrying a heavy load.
The lighthouse was started in 1892 and was first lit on May 30, 1894.  Restoration was done in 2011.  The lighthouse looks almost brand new.  The lighthouse is still active and its beam shines out to sea for 21 miles.  Making it one of the strongest lights on the Oregon coast.
On The Cutting Board
I finished and mailed my latest custom orders.  I hope my customer is happy with them.

I'm back to working on some unfinished projects for November.  I started the one below during the summer.  Now I'm not happy with the shadow coming through the face.  In the above photo of the Cupid/Angel, you can't see the print beneath her face.  Two layers of fabric really makes a difference.  From now on, I'll be doubling the peach fabric!  She is still cute despite the shadow.  I plan to finish her with some oak leaf quilting and a teal border.
This pattern is a smaller version of the one above for embroidery only.  Both are designed by Nancy Halvorsen.   I decided to add coloring to this one with crayons.  I have been following Mamacjt's blog.  She is the one that got me started on thinking outside the box or crayon box.  The regular Crayola crayons work quite well.
The instructions are easy enough.  After the pattern has been transferred to fabric, iron a sheet of waxed paper to the back to stabilize the fabric while coloring.  I did not do that this time because I had already started stitching when I decided it needed more color.   After the coloring is done, pull off the waxed paper.  Heat iron on cotton setting, cover project with muslin, and press until you smell melting wax.  Ta-da!

Next time, I will use some waxed paper.  I want to see if I can get a deeper darker coloring into the fabric.  First, I need to finish these two...so back to the projects...
Happy Quilting!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sunshine On My Shoulders (Florence, OR)

We went downtown Florence on two different days.  We walked along the main street and the port.  We stopped often to read each building's sign that gave us a short description of their history.  One building actually slid into the Siuslaw river and was pulled back out by the owner.  The building is still standing and being used today.

We did not see any sea lions, but we did see some birds sitting out while soaking up the sun.  We noticed this Great Blue Heron has been in the same spot both times.  He is sitting on what looks like an old wharf near the town's park.
Go away.  I'm trying to sleep here.
He blends in rather well.  We almost missed him.  While taking its pictures, a motorboat went flying by and this was its reaction to it.
We need a "No Wake Zone!" sign.
In the meantime, the Cormorants were enjoying the sunshine and drying their wings.
That is the old Siuslaw River Bridge that was built by Conde McCullough in 1936.  I am always amazed by all his bridges with the beautiful art deco design and by the fact that they are still being used despite their age.  He built bridges to last more than a lifetime. Of course, the ODOT does a great job of maintaining these beautiful bridges.
oh yea, that feels soooo good

Titanic move over
We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day for walking and enjoying the sights.

On The Cutting Board
I'm moving right along on my next custom order.  Of course, it helps that the pattern is already to go from Nancy Halvosen's book.  The snowman is pretty simple.
I straightened out his eyes and he looks pretty good that way.  Maybe I should make more with straight eyes instead of following Nancy's pattern.
The Cupid/Angel looks very stylish with her new hairdo and straightened eyes.  I also did a double layer of peach for the face so the rose bud fabric would not show through her face.  Seems to be working quite well.
I used a crayon to give her a little pink to her cheeks.  After coloring with the crayon, I put muslin over it and heated the area with the iron until I smelled wax.  I read it will fuse to the fabric and not wash out.
Well, time to pull out the sewing machine and get them done.
Happy Quilting!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Witch, A Cupid/Angel, and A Snowman (Florence, OR)

Well, there's an unusual combination!  I'll explain that title when I get to my Cutting Board.  In the meantime, I wanted to show you what we did yesterday.

We decided to drive south to Coos Bay.  We stopped by the Umpqua River Lighthouse to stretch our legs and to take a few photos.
Then onto my favorite state park - Shore Acres.  It must have been amazing to live here...almost a pinch me, I can't believe I live here every day.  To be able to view this rugged yet gorgeous coast every day...
then to go to walk through a shelter of woods to your formal gardens with dahlias and roses near the house.  
the hedge is square.  the fish-eye wide lens made it look curved
Can you imagine living in such a place?  Talk about a dream world!
a serene pond setting
What a delight to find some dahlias still blooming....
along with some of the roses.
More artwork by Mother Nature.
On The Cutting Board
The title has to do with everything I have been working on this week.  Oh, you already figured that out!

Okay...so here's the Witch!  She is all done and ready to go.  I added a piece of driftwood for a more natural look.  I gave the driftwood a good scrubbing to get all the sand off of it.  
I braided some fabric with twine.  I thought using twine would also give the hanger a more natural look.
I wanted to add a little something to the end of the driftwood, so I gathered together some thick black thread, a purple ribbon, and some more twine.  I pulled the twine and thread apart.  I added some color by tying bright beads to the thread's ends.
Sorry the pictures are not better.  We are in a very shady spot.  The sun never hits this site.  The Witch already has a buyer, so I won't be listing her on Etsy.

Now for the Cupid/Angel and Snowman.
As I was finishing up the wall hanging, I received a request for two more custom orders.  This time both mug rugs are by Nancy Halvorsen.  The customer asked for a few simple changes.

The main change she asked for was to change Cupid/Angel's hair to a blonde bob with bangs and to straighten out her eyes.
What do you think?  I actually like her new hairdo.....and it is nice not to have those crooked eyes.
I will also be making her a snowman with straight-er eyes.  I told her two weeks, but I would like to ship them to her by the end of next week.  Well, I better get to it!

A last minute addition:  if you are looking for more handmade Halloween items by Etsy artists, click on the link below:
Happy Quilting!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Progress - Slow (Newport, OR)

Travel day tomorrow.  We are heading south to Florence, OR.  Which will probably be our last stop along the coast before moving inland to Sutherlin for the winter.
 In the meantime, we have been enjoying a few walks on the beach with a little sunshine and very little wind.  Rather a nice change of pace from all the rain we were having for most of September.
All of these photos are from Ona Beach State Park.  A great place to walk during low tide and for watching the waves crash on the rocks.  Below:  Just on the other side of the cliff is the Seal Rock State Recreation Beach area where all the sea lions and seals hang out.  It is also a great birding site.
I found my first sea glass on this beach.  I was hoping to find more, but no such luck.  I did find some interesting cone shaped shells that reminded me of little dancers' skirts.  I collected some driftwood as well.  I think I will use them for my wall hangings.
On The Cutting Board
I have to confess that I am a little disappointed in my progress.  It has been slow going on the Witch wall hanging.  Between sinus headaches from hay fever and taking Claritin which causes me to feel lethargic.....and our busy schedule of walking, taking care of cats, and traveling, the witch's progress has slowed way down.  When I have free time, I don't feel like sewing ...just goofing off on the computer.  Hopefully, I will get back on track within a couple of days.

Okay, enough whining.  Here's what I have done so far.  I added black glass beads as buttons for her shoes.  I also added beads on purple thread to give her broom a little pizzazz.
I know spiders have eight legs, but this little guy just looks better with six legs.  I'm almost done with the quilting.  I might quilt in some bats or a cat as fillers.  I have the binding all ready to sew on.  So, that just leaves making a hanger and a couple of loops.
So, with some luck I hope to have this one done by next Wednesday.  Getting it photographed and listed in time for Halloween on Etsy is another question.  I would really like to have this done and listed in time for someone to order it for Halloween, but I'm not holding my breath.
Happy Quilting!

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