Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Lights, lights, lights!

I had a request to show this year's lights, so here they are in all their twinkly glory. We hang them all along the inside of the dining room and living room windows, plus put them on little trees clustered in the corners. They sure brighten up the night, and because they're reflected in the windows it looks like we have twice as many!

The shot below shows the little area where I hand sew in my favorite wicker chair, looking out over the water. Even on a grey day the water is still calming.

The next shot shows the Christmas basket quilt that I made last month, inspired by Gwen Marston's quilt in "Liberated Quiltmaking II."

My new lights this year are battery-operated flickering candles that I found on Amazon at a great price. I bought two sets of three, then I found some thinner ones for really cheap and bought a set of them. You can never have too many candles on a winter night.

Here is my favorite snowman feeding the birds, which I bought many years ago at a Christmas craft fair in Rockford, IL. The chickadee wool appliqué is the piece I just finished last month.

This chili wreath came from Pike Place Market last month. It's drying out nicely and is completely edible. The chilies are from a farm in eastern Washington.

So there you have it -- this year's lights! 

If you're interested in last year's lights post, click here:

Have a bright night

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Feeling blessed

I feel rich with friends as I write out nearly 100 holiday cards this weekend. A lot of people look at sending out the cards as a chore, but I love picking just the right photo for the front of the card, composing a newsletter, coordinating the return address labels and stamps (yes, I'm THAT person) and feeling the satisfaction of taking a big pile of cards to the post office. With every envelope I address, I think of good times with that particular friend or relative. Then I eagerly await return cards telling me what's been going on with everyone across the country over the past year.

This year we couldn't get the whole family together for a photo, so I used one of my daughter looking out at the water with the sun on her shoulders and a gleaming Mt. Rainier on the horizon. In the dead of winter I figure it will bring some sparkle to the holidays. (And it only cost a penny for each photo at snapfish with a coupon.)

I found stamps of songbirds in the snow, as well as some traditional Christmas stamps. 

I'm also feeling rich as I pack homemade presents for my various groups of friends. Sorry, I can't show you any of these gifts but they've been keeping me busy in the sewing room.

Here are some other glimpses around the living room, which will stay decorated into February because I need the lights, candles and cheerfulness during the dark Northwest winter days and nights.


Have a colorful day

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Seattle light

Dave and I went to Seattle a few weeks ago and spent two nights and three days leisurely exploring and eating. I was most struck by the lights and lighting. Our first night was Election Night, and the ferris wheel down by the water put on a red, white and blue light show. Another iconic Seattle sight was the sign at Pike Place Market:

The next morning we had breakfast at Bacco's, where I snapped the window reflection behind me.

It was rainy, so we decided to spend a few hours inside with the wondrous lighted glass at the Chihuly Garden and Glass center. Below is Dave, man of mystery, in front on a sea life form.


Above and below are shots of the Persian Ceiling, a spectacular ceiling of more sea-like forms with dramatic lighting.

Next is a closeup  of a glass vessel in the Macchia Forest room. Each style of glass has its own room in the exhibit, and it's fascinating to read about the inspiration that went into each.

The exhibit continues outside, where I captured our reflection with the Space Needle behind us in a blue, rain-splattered glass globe. This one really says "Seattle."

That evening the sky was pale orange, dusty blue and grey as the sun set on our last day in the city.

The next morning we walked down to Pike Place in the fog. I saw a group of people aiming their cell phones up to the sky and followed their gaze to this brilliant sight of the sun reflecting off of a glass building and being scattered in the fog. Then it was time to catch the ferry and head home.

Have a colorful day

Monday, November 21, 2016

My little (wool) chickadees

Now that I'm addicted to stitching on wool, I did another little project over the weekend. The chickadee candle mat is from a kit that I bought almost two years ago and will be perfect for winter decorating.

I embroidered a feather stitch in green around the inner circle. I did a tiny whip stitch with one strand of DMC cotton embroidery floss to appliqué down the little pieces. (That's a half-inch appliqué pin in the photo.) It was very satisfying to finish it so quickly -- now I need to find another project!

Have a colorful day

Friday, November 18, 2016

Seabeck quilt retreat

I just got back from a relaxing and productive quilt guild retreat at the Seabeck Conference Center on the Hood Canal. Dorms and meeting buildings are scattered throughout the rural setting just across the street from the water. It is beautiful.

Inside, about 14 of us sewed, ate, chatted and laughed for three days. I can't show you what I worked on because they're gifts and most of the recipients read the blog. But I did get a LOT done until my sewing machine seized up about an hour before the retreat ended. Luckily, I have a second machine so I can finish the gifts before Christmas.

Here are some of the projects being worked on:

I always love looking at other sewers' pincushions when we get together. Here are a few:

Somehow I missed getting food photos! That's unheard of from me. I guess I was too busy eating to remember to take pictures. They served us family style in a big lodge and I'd categorize all of it as comfort food. 

Already looking forward to next year!

Have a colorful day

Friday, November 11, 2016

Wow, wool!

One of Pam's many wool appliqué quilts.

Our quilt guild has an extraordinarily prolific and talented wool appliqué artist named Pam who just started a wool group that I joined. I was so blown away by her work that I asked if I could feature her in a blog post. She said yes.

So ... Heeeeere's Pam!

She started doing wool appliqué about 15 years ago when she lived in Alaska. She even dyes her own wool, often starting with white or light colored wool garments from thrift stores. In the summer she dyes outside with wool dyes and in the winter she dyes inside with Kool-Aid. (Kool-Aid doesn't require working with ventilation for safety.)

All of the work here was done by Pam

Her studio is to "dye" for, with stacks and stacks of colorful wool and projects under way.

For the first meeting of the Woolies, she spread books, patterns, supplies and yummy finished projects throughout the rooms. Ten of us dove in and feasted on the color and designs. 

I was inspired to order two of the books that she had, and tomorrow I'm going to a sale  at the quilt store in Port Gamble, which has a nice selection of wool.  Then I'll settle in for the winter with a new project!

Detail from one of Pam's quilts.

Have a colorful day