Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry HoHo 2012

Christmas 2012 in Reno, Nevada was a success!  Wasn't sure I was going to make it in time with all the snow in the Sierras.  I had planned to leave the Bay Area on Saturday, December 22 - but the Snow Gods were intent on providing alot of snow, so no go.  Then Sunday passed with me sitting in the Bay Area while the snow snowed and snowed in the Sierras.  Finally, on Monday, the weather improved and I was able to leave for Reno.  It only took 30 minutes longer than usual.  Got to hand it to the snow removal workers on I80 - they clear those roads (over and over again...) in a very efficient manner. 

Got to Reno in time to help my DIL pick up the big present we were jointly giving her husband (my son).  A 60" flat screen (because a 42" is just not big enough!)

The little boys got their plate of cookies and milk ready for Santa and Daddy wrote their note to Santa.  New Christmas pajamas were worn by the little ones and they went to sleep knowing that Santa's reindeer might wake them up when Santa landed his sleigh on the roof.  

Very, very early in the morning, it was time to get up and survey the piles of presents.

Down they come to see what Santa has left for them.
Headlamps for all the men in the family.
A scooter and a skateboard

And Santa brought a white Christmas and more snow yesterday and today.  No way to practice the balance skills needed for the skateboard or scooter outside.  But Frosty, who had melted a little, was rebuilt into a new and improved version. 

One of the downsides to being a Labradoodle in the snow:

Actually, Boo doesn't think it's a downside - I just get a little tired of trying to clean him off every time he goes out in the yard.  Oh well, it's the Magic of Christmas that provided all the snow and fun, so I will take back any complaints about snow and ice covered dogs. 

Happy Holidays to all!

Aaaaaanyway, that's it from the Robertson household.

Monday, December 17, 2012

It's as Easy as A-B-C

Well, it seemed easy enough at the beginning.  Let me take you back in time to the begining of the Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild (otherwise known as BAM) quilt along that was started in 2011.  The idea was to make a block each month that began with that month's letter of the alphabet.  We used traditional blocks but made them with modern fabric.  Those of us particpating in the quilt along brought our blocks in each month for Show and Tell.  That was August 2011. 

Angela Obeso from the guild quickly deduced that we might need to speed up our block making process if we planned to have a quilt top with all the letters of the alphabet completed in this we agreed to start making 2 blocks a month in 2012 with October 2012 being the month for "Y and Z".  (Trust me there are not many blocks that begin with the letter "Z").

I think 6 intrepid guild members completed the quilt along.  Some have already put their tops together.  Rhonda (and several other BAM friends) came over for a sew day yesterday and Rhonda finished her sashing for her blocks and will soon be moving on to quilting her top.  I have my blocks pieced together in the top and am now working on borders.  Here is where I am right now:

The top was 60x72" without borders.  I am not yet sure about the inner borders, but right now it's a white inner border before the more elaborate border is added on. More border to follow.     

I have also been busy making cookies and finishing up my Christmas shopping and going to holiday parties and generally sewing less than usual.  I'll be out of the office for a little more than a week and will not likely be doing much sewing.  My grandsons will get most of my attention - we have  our traditional Gingerbread House to make when I get there, some holiday cookies to make and then Santa leaves his presents and the fun begins!

I love this time of year!  So fun to get the presents wrapped and all the yummie food and time to laze about without feeling guilt about it!

Aaaanyway, that's it from the Robertson household.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I Was Waiting to Have a Finished Project...

...or a finished top before I blogged again.  Thought I should have something to show and tell, so to speak.  I see the holidays have taken a toll on my progress.

After Thanksgiving, I went to the BA Mod Quilt Guild partay on December 1, which was a combination of early sewing, partay plus meeting and then more sewing until 11:00 p.m.  You gotta love the Los Altos Library to let us stay so long.  Three of us were the partay planners, so we all spent time gathering the food and then setting up the party that day.  It was quite a success with more than 40 quilters at the partay and 32 staying to sew!

I stayed until 8:00 p.m. and finally had to call it quits, having arrived at 10:30 a.m.  I got some work done on my ABC quilt top and that was when I discovered that I had some blocks that just didn't work - mostly because they were too small.  I tried to "fix" the blocks by adding borders, but after going home and getting a fresh view in the morning when I wasn't so tired, I realized that 3 blocks had to be remade.  So, on Sunday, that's what I did and I started to assemble the top.  I decided to go without sashing.  I am putting the blocks together as they are and will then add a beautiful border (or that is my plan!).  I will show you some photos when I have the top completely together.  

Work is really busy and I have been busy with other things that I will tell you about in another blog.  Christmas is almost upon us.  I have gotten all of my gifts for my grandsons and know what I am getting for my son and daughter-in-law.  Just an implementation issue now!

Trust you are well and also busy with the holiday season.

Aaaaanyway, that's it from the Robertson household.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Back to Normal

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I certainly did!  Had 11 adults and 2 little ones for a 4 day weekend consisting of food and lots of it, wine and lots of it, riding the ATVs, having a visit with THE  best Santa Claus (at the Arts and Crafts Fair in Sonora), games, movies, loud political "discussions" and, unfortunately, no sewing.

My grandsons put on very large cowboy hats: 


 And had a long chat with Santa about swords and bow and arrows and baby dolls and drums:

Isn't this Santa wonderful?  He talks to the kids about the importance of education and being kind to each other and listening to their parents...and that's his real beard!

But now we're back to normal.  Back to work and sewing and my diet...just when I was getting use to eating all that luscious food again! 

So what do I need to get done?  I must get my BA Modern Quilt Guild ABC quilt along top put together.  About 5 of us from the guild have participated in this quilt along and it's time to get the tops together and then we may have a group submission to the San Mateo County Fair quilt show.  The quilt along was to make a block from every letter of the alphabet, using more traditional block patterns with modern fabrics.  We started this in 2011 with one block a month and then stepped up the pace to 2 blocks a month in order to finish the quilt along by October 2012.  It has been a labor of love - that's alot of blocks and a long time to be committd to one project.  The fun part is to see the difference choices in palette, size of block, and arrangement of blocks.  I wanted to make a black and white and red themed quilt using Bon Vivant - seemed like a good idea at the time.  30 blocks later and I wondering exactly what I will do with this black and white and red quilt?

The next decision is whether I should sash or double sash or none of the above.  More to come.

Aaaaanyway, that's it from the Robertson household.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WIP Wednesday with a Beauty...New York That Is

There's nothing like a big snow storm in the Sierras to ruin my travel plans and help me get some projects done.  And there's nothing like a Pillow Talk Swap with a mailing deadline of November 15 to get my...self in gear. 

I finished my PTS9 pillow top over the weekend and got it into the mail on Tuesday.  I showed you the beginnings of the top a few weeks ago, but here's the finished pillow:

A New York Beauty block out of Chicopee and Annie's Seed Catalog text print.  My partner wanted scrappy, so I tried to accommodate that request on both the front and the back.  I wanted to do something special for the back of the pillow, so I made some string blocks out of more Chicopee to make the back a little prettier.   I wish I would have bought more of the text print, as I'm now down to scraps. 


Then, after the pillow was done, I decided to quilt and bind the strip and flip quilt top I had finished a month or so ago (followed the tutorial on Cluck Cluck Sew Here).  I am not a person who generally quilts.  I prefer quilting by checkbook, but I thought maybe I should try some straight line quilting for practice.  Luckily, the quilt top was about 45" x 45", so it wasn't too hard to handle.  My straight lines are not as straight as they could be, but I powered through it and got the top done.  

And, drumroll, here it is:

The back is a small bright dot fabric I purchased at the Twaine Harte Pharmacy.

Hope you are having a wonderful, creative week.

Aaaanyway, that's it from the Robertson household.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday That Became Saturday

I don't know about you, but I spent Tuesday night watching the election returns, both nationally and locally.  It was a close election, as was expected, and despite Hurricane Sandy and other problems, it seemed that those who wanted to vote had the opportunity to do so.  Voting is a privilege we were so blessed to have been granted when this wonderful country was formed. 

So, I didn't get any sewing done Tuesday night, although I had a light day at the office and was able to get the quilting done on my PTS9 pillow top earlier in the day.  I will be the first to tell you that I am not a great or even good machine quilter.  I hope my partner is not horrified when she sees the lack of expertise in my quilting.  I hoping the New York Beauty block, the text fabric and a wonderful pieced back will make up for the minimalist quilting and somewhat wandering lines.  I did so much ripping that I was beginning to think I would have to re-make the block!

What else have I gotten done this week?  Not much!  I finished 2 bee blocks for Melissa in the Bee Awesome bee.  The block is called Firefly.  I like it.

I went to the BAMQG meeting last Saturday and while I didn't bring my machine for Sewcial after the meeting, I stayed to brainstorm with Kelly, Rhonda, Jaye and Allison about the December partay that we are organizing for the guild and raffle baskets.  We got this great idea that we could make some raffle baskets, raffle them to members and then have some extra money for the guild for a speaker or a workshop.  So, I went out on Sunday with all my Joann's coupons and purchased 2 not very big bags of goodies for the baskets.  Spent a fortune and we still need more stuff to make really good baskets.  Luckily, Julie from Intrepid Thread is donating very generous gift certificates, Jaye and Kelly are making pin cushions, Julie and Allison(?) donated books, and we may get other donations of fabric, etc. before its time to complete the baskets. 

I have received 3 blocks (plus the one I made) from my 4x5 Fall Quarter Bee Hive #8 mates.  I am happy to say that I got my blocks out early, so they are not hanging over my head (like the pillow).  This will be my last round of aqua/teal and orange blocks.  I will likely stay in the Bee but change up my color choices so I can start something new.  I'm feeling monochromatic and neutral these days...

Lots of weekend trips for me in November.  I will not be in the Bay Area for a weekend until the last weekend of November, when I have tickets to see The Book of Mormon in San Francisco.  Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away?  (Big change since Wednesday when I wrote this:  massive snow storms in the Sierras made it impossible for me to get to Reno for the long weekend this weekend, so I'm here in the Bay Area sewing up a storm!) 

I hope you have been more creative and productive than I have!  Let me know what you have been up to.

Aaaaanyway, that's it from the Robertson hood.

Friday, November 2, 2012

What happened to October?

Whew - time is truly flying!  Here it is November 2nd and Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  So much has happened since I last blogged:  Hurricane Sandy beating up the East Coast (my heart goes out to all those people who lost so much because of Sandy); and work and Halloween and a really great workshop with Sherri Lynne Woods last weekend and sewing deadlines. And I purchased a mouse and a keyboard for my new laptop so that I can type without so many typos and jumping around when I didn't even want to move from where I was - now that's progress!

Is your life on fast forward too? 

Well, I'm going to take a break from speeding through life and show you a few bits I've been working on.

First, a little background re. the Creative Curves workshop.  Sherri held the workshop at St. Gregory's Church in San Francisco - what an amazing space!

I believe we had 14 people in attendance and I can tell you it was a dedicated group of sewists from 3 different guilds at that workshop.  BAMQG had 7 in attendance.  After a centering exercise, Sherri had us select our fabrics.  I must have been very calm and centered because I went with neutrals - not my usual style!  I only got this far and did not even begin to sew the parts together:

I hope that I will not let this project languish and find the time to sew the remaining pieces and get er done!  This is not an easy technique and really does require a lot of curved piecing.  I think the biggest lesson related to this technique for me is the lack of predictibility - you can't compose the whole picture and then put it together (control, lots of control!).  Every time you sew a segment, you may or will change the composition (loss of control, loss of control!).  It was fun and I hope I will get a chance to take another workshop from Sherri in the future.

Then, back at home on Sunday, I knew that I needed to get my Pillow Talk Swap 9 pillow kicked into high gear.  I had decided to make a New York Beauty block for the pillow.  My partner mentioned that she liked Chicopee and text fabric and scrappy, so I got started.

I posted two photos for feedback and my partner said she liked them both - makes sense for someone who likes scrappy.

I got started and things went sort of like this:

I knew that I wanted to add a border to the block and I got stuck here for awhile, going back and forth between a black border, a white border and a Chicopee border.  Chicopee won and I moved on to this:

Now I'm working on the back, which is going to be pieced.  I'll show you what I did next time (o.k. you're right - I can't show it to you now because it's not done yet...but I did make my template for the block, dry fitted it to the NYB block and I'm ready to start sewing again!) 

This is my first attempt at a NYB block. It's not perfect, but I think it will look really nice when it is all finished and quilted. I'll show you the finished pillow before I sent it out. It will be 20"x20".

And because I cannot resist sharing my grandkids with you, here's a slightly fuzzy picture of the Super Heroes before they went trick or treating.  At 3 and 5, this was their first year to go house to house together.  Talk about excitement - they were lit up with LED lights in their costumes, had their Halloween bags in hand, knew that they were to say Trick or Treat and then Thank You to each person who gave them candy.  Thank goodness there are still neighborhoods where the kids can safely go Trick or Treating!

Aaaanyway, that's it from the Robertson household. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's Wednesday and I've Made Progress!

Here it is Wednesday again and I have made quite a bit of progress despite a computer problem that resulted in euthanizing my favorite lap top and going without for an entire weekend while my IT guy switched everything over to this new lap top.  At least I didn't lose anything, but I am just not as comfortable with this newcomer laptop!  My old HP laptop was kind enough to last for 8 years.  The battery needed to be replaced, so I replaced it.  Then it decided to choke on a hairball and freeze up on me just when I had given it a nice new battery.  This new keyboard is smaller and the keys keep making typos!  Hopefully, I'll get use to it sooner rather than later.

On to my progress:  As I mentioned last week, I have renewed my bee commitments significantly and wanted to get started on one of the larger projects, so I started searching for the right block for my 4x5 Hive 8 commitment.  

I saw a block called Shattered Chevrons:

and was led to a wonderful tutorial on AsDesigned's (Anne's) blog  Shattered Chevrons here.  Anne's block had a border around it that I ultimately decided to leave off, increasing my chevrons by 2 to result in a 12.5 x 12.5 block.

My test block looked like this:

Anne's tutorial was easy to follow and allowed me to quickly get these blocks pulled together for everyone in the bee. 

I am really liking these blocks and am thinking I might make a pillow out of this pattern for the Pillow Talk Swap (my next project).  I'll let you know what I come up with next time.

Sorry for typos and strange alignments.  I'm on training wheels with this new lap top!

Aaaanway, that's it from the Robertson household!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's Wednesday and I Have a Little Work In Progress!

Here I am again!  I do have some quilting progress to blog about.  I saw a cute little baby quilt that I wanted to try my hand at.  One of my guild members had made it as a charity quilt and provided the tutorial.  Here's the Link  It's called a strip and flip baby quilt. 

I started with a fabric pull like this:

I pared down the pull and then cut the strips and put them in this order:   

Next I sewed the strips together, cut off a segment, added a strip of white to each side, flipped the strip and put it all together and...

A couple of shots in the garden of the top. 
It was easy and it makes an attractive cheery quilt for some little person in your life.  Of course, there is a bit more work to be done before it's an actual quilt...stay tuned for Kathleen's attempts at quilting (usually, I quilt by checkbook.)
Even though I said that I was not going to join any other bees, I re-joined the 4x5 Bee for another quarter and round 9 of the Pillow Talk Swap.  So that brings me to Bee Awesome, Round Boo Bee, 4x5 and Pillow Talk Swap, plus the challenges and swaps from the BAMQG.  I pared down my commitments and then, slowly, they creep up on me again.  Does that ever happen to you?  Don't get me wrong, I like every bee and swap that I am in, but in the back of my mind I know that I want to spend more of my time working on my own projects.
Life is full of so many choices - I need to get a little better at filtering the choices.  And, of course, enjoy the choices that I have already made.  I hope that you are enjoying your choices and bringing creativity into your life on a daily basis.
Aaaaanyway, that's it from the Robertson household.   

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I've Taken My Traveling Shoes Off

No more long trips for me until Thanksgiving!  I will have some time to stay in the Bay Area and enjoy the Fall, make some progress on my sewing projects,  and see if the Giants can make it to the World Series.  (They won last night, after losing the first game and now they're on the road to St. Louis for game 3).  If you limit your blog reading to quilty topics, there's not much for you in this blog.  Today I'm writing about everything but quilting!

Since I last wrote, I have been in Reno for the little boys' 3rd and 5th birthdays.  That was the weekend of Oct. 6 and 7.  The birthday party was held at Pump It Up (a building full of bounce houses, bounce slides and other contraptions if any of you are like me and had not heard of such a thing).  The tiniest little bitty kids climbed up the huge inflated slide and came flying down at warp speed!

Here's a shot of Mason on the slide and the boys with their birthday cake:
Then the boys and I decorated pumpkins for Halloween.  We drew faces on pumpkins, honeydew and little watermelons and then applied Angry Bird and Piggy decorations on more pumpkins.  Their neighborhood is full of kids, so there are Halloween decorations everywhere, warranting several walks to see the sights. 

I came home Sunday evening and then took a red eye out to Philadelphia Monday night for an ABA meeting.  I had no idea Philadelphia was such an interesting city - I mean beyond the historical aspects of the city.  We went to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the Constitution Center, Betsy Ross's house and saw the oldest residential street in the country (Elfrey's Alley).  We had a Philly cheese steak sandwich at Geno's (no cheese wiz for me) and went to the Barnes Foundation to see the single largest collection of Impressionist paintings in the world.  Dr. Barnes had 181 Renoir's alone in his collection!  And his paintings had not been loaned out, so these were paintings that I had never seen before.  More Impressionists than at the Musee de Orsay in Paris!

We also went to the Magic Garden to see the mosaics.  My friend Jaye, from the BAMQG, had blogged about this place and I had to see it.  Amazing place where every square inch of the building and the garden (as well as buildings near by) were covered in mosaics made from throw away items - dishes, bottles, bicycle tires, spoons, wire, you name it. 


 This shot is from across the street. 

 This is the actual entrance.

This is some of the magic inside the garden.

And this is a shot of the ceiling of the Magic Garden building.  Truly a strange and wonderful place.
I'll write tomorrow about my limited sewing experiences.
Aaaanyway, that's it from the Robertson household.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall is in the Air - Can you Feel It?

I love Fall.  Don't know why, but when I start to notice the sun coming up later and going down earlier, a little coolness in the morning and night air, well, it just makes me happy!

My pumpkins are already purchased and my baking has taken an upswing.  Gotta try those new recipes before the holidays you know.  Even my tomatoes have decided to ripen.  This was not a good tomato year in the Bay Area.  Probably too cool.  I will have plenty of tomato sauce for the freezer to enjoy over the next year, but I don't have to stalk my neighbors with bowls of tomatoes in an attempt to give them away as I have been known to do in high volume tomato years.

On the quilting front things continue to be a little slow.  I finished my addition to Ruth's quilt top for the round robin bee I'm in.  She wanted a quilt that was 32" long by 60-70" wide to hang at work.  I received it with the first 3 rows in place and I added row 4:


I like that red stripe fabric.  Reminds me of Pippi Longstockings and the Wicked Witch from Oz.  You know...I'm melting, I'm melting, look what you've done you wicked little girl.  But I digress.

One of my quilts was accepted into the New Quilts of Northern California special exhibition at the Pacific International Quilt Festival.  I entered two, thinking Screaming Green would be selected, but they surprised me and selected my orange Wonky 9 Patch:

I followed an Elizabeth Hartman tutorial to make the wonky 9 patch blocks.  Several of these blocks came to me as an exchange in an internet swap called Blockwork Orange (gotta love the name!).  It's quilted with a ginko leaf pattern by my longarm quilter friend Dee Small. 

The PIQF is an amazing show of hundreds and hundreds of top notch quilts from national and international quilt makers.  It's at the San Jose Convention Center from October 11-October 14.  Unfortunately, I won't be in town during that week because I am in Philadelphia for a meeting.  Darn - I won't even get to see my quilt hung at the show.  Take some pictures for me if you go.

I am starting a new quilt after being on design hiatus for a few months.  I just couldn't figure out what to do next.  Ever have that problem?

Aaaanway, that's it from the Robertson household. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hello My Friends...Hello!

Clearly the second half of August pretty much got away from me.  And, it was beginning to look like September was headed in the same direction.  What have I been doing that has kept me away from blogging?  Work and lots of it.  A trip for Labor Day Weekend.  Work, work and more work.  That's about it 

I have not been sewing very much.  At least nothing new and big and exciting.  I have completed a number of UFOs over the last few months and have been debating what to start next (something will come to me, I am sure of it!).  I have been keeping up with my ABC blocks for the BAMQG quilt along, which ends next month with the Y and Z blocks.  I am also in a Round Robin with 3 other women from BAMQG and have passed on my first completed round to the next person and am now staring at the second project.  Here is my addition to Sheetal's center star medallion (my first project):

Sheetal wanted a scrappy quilt, so I added a neutral linen inner border, then I added the tree border and then finally made the scrappy last round with the cornerstones from the center medallion fabric that she requested.  I really angsted (is that a word?) over this project, but now that it is done, I really like it. 

I have also just completed this month's blocks for the Bee Awesome swap I'm in.  Sheetal (yes, the same Sheetal from the Round Robin) wanted herringbone blocks, so I made her these blocks:

She wanted scrappy and I think she wanted a more neutral palette than I would normally use.  Made me realize that I have almost no neutrals or pastels in my stash.  I'm a color gal.  I did purchase a few neutrals to help fill out my ability to complete these blocks and also added a few kitties from a quilt I made for Connor (my older grandson).  I hope she likes the blocks and that they fit in to her idea for her quilt.  I know at some point in the future she expects to return to Austria (I think it's Austria...) and I like the idea that she will have some of my blocks in her bed quilt. 

How is your end-of-summer almost fall experience going?  Hope you are busy and productive and finding any number of ways to be creative in your life.

Aaaaanway, that's it from the Robertson household.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WIP Wednesday

Hi all - I've been meaning to blog and life just got in the way!  Took a mini-vacation to my house in Gold Country and then went over the mountains to Reno to see my grandkids.  Highway 108 over Sonora Pass is a road that is only open a few months a year and now I understand is so narrow and curvy and the pass is 9600 feet.  They were working on the road and then it started to rain and lightening.  Yikes - I was so happy when I got down from there and hit US 395.  Thought it would be smooth sailing from there - but first more road work and then miles of stopped traffic.  What the heck had happened and more importantly how the heck was I going to get to Reno?  So it turns out there was a flash flood and the entire highway was submerged, plus a mud slide from a hill that fell down with huge boulders and trees.  I back tracked to a Best Western and learned that I could either go back over the mountains through another pass called Kit Carson pass (also only open a few months a year) or drive east and then north up to Reno.  I went out east and eventually made it to Reno at 7:00 p.m. rather than the 4:00 p.m. I expected.  Did you know that much of Nevada looks like you are on the moon?  Well, at least that's how I felt as I drove through desolate moonscape/landscape on my way to Reno.  This was an adventure that I would happily have skipped!

I have not gotten much done in the way of quilting because of my adventures on the moon, but did manage to pick up my finished Spiderman and the Avengers quilts to bring to my little boys - who were so thrilled to get them!  Here they are:


 Other than the color around the Spiderman blocks, I made the quilts identical so that there would be less to fight about.

Thanks to a brilliant suggestion by Ruth Beebe, I had my long arm quilter Dee Small add spiderweb quilting to the quilts.  This is a close up and you might be able to see the quilting a little better on the back (again identical). 

Yes, that is a label on the back of the quilt - can you believe it?  It's not very fancy but the little boys were very pleased with the fact that each of their quilts had their name on the label. Small pleasures!

I did also spend some time photographing two of my quilts and then submitting my photographs to New Quilts of Northern California for the exhibit at PIQF in October.  I don't know whether one of my quilts will be selected for the show.  I did have one selected last year and it was so fun to see my work hanging at a big quilt show!  One of my friends from the BAM guild and I are going to photograph our quilts using a hanging system that she had installed in her loft with the hope that we will obtain more professional results.  I would like to submit a quilt or two to QuiltCon, but need good photos. 

I'm going to get back to quilting now that I'm home.  Have a number of projects in the works.  More about that later...

Aaaaanyway, that's it from the Robertson household.