Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Sew Far Sew Good

Hi Everyone!  I have been busy with lots of sewing and working on quilt patterns.  I have to admit I'm slow in many things, including sewing and writing for that matter.  I'm also still a part of the Round Robin at our Valley MQG.  It's been lots of fun to see other guild members add their touches and ideas onto the piece. I can't wait to see my piece, still have 3 more months to go.  

I also repaired a boat cover for one of my dear friends.  The cover was torn at several places where the anchoring straps are because of the wind.  Before I became a quilter, I was a re-upholsterer.  I did all kind of projects, such as cushions, chairs, sofas, couches and even car seats!  Of all the projects, the car seats are the most challenging because there are many connected curve pieces.  And when the covers are done, they have to fit like gloves onto the seats.  So sorry that I couldn't find pictures of the car seats that I did on my computer .  I didn't have a digital camera back then.   I think I've shared a picture of a sofa that I did for my friend before, but for those who haven't seen it, you can see it here.  Doing upholstery jobs taught me precision sewing and patience.  For everything, I owe it all to Mr. Jackson at our local occupational school where I took auto-upholstery classes when my younger child started school twenty some years ago.  He would make us redo the pieces over and over again until they were perfect.  I still remember redoing a part of one particular car seat cover five times!!

In May, at our Valley MQG, we had another challenge.  It was a song from the Led Zeppelin called 'Stairway to Heaven'.  We were to take anything from the lyrics and make a quilt project with it.  I decided to use a part of the lyrics from the song about glitter and gold.  After all the quilting and facing were done, I hand sewed the golden beads on with gold thread by Sulky that I have had for many years but never used it on any project.  The big beads have real gold foil inside.  They are pretty cool. 

This is my piece.

This song reminds me that we can't buy our way to heaven.   I believe that everything in this life is for us to learn and while doing that, we are supposed to help and serve one another along the way.  

You can go to this Valley MQG webpage to see the lyrics.  It's been so much fun doing the challenges this year.  My husband dusted off his Led Zeppelin CD collection and we listened to them all.  My ears are still ringing from Robert Plant's high pitch voice.  It's amazing that his voice worked so well with the music.  Many wonderful old memories flooded back to me as we were listening to these old rock classics.  I remember my brother would play his guitar and we would sing old classics from The Carpenters, Peter Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan, and many, many more.  When I was young, I didn't speak English so I didn't really know the meaning of some of these songs.  All I knew at the time was that they sounded good.  Now that I speak English and I have my husband to ask what things mean.  I have somewhat better understanding of things.  In the other part of the world we admire the Western culture without knowing or understanding the true meaning of it.  I believe that Arts have no boundaries!!  I never knew a lot of these artists before I came here either, I just liked their songs and music.   I also watched Jimmy Page's interview on Youtube and I realized how committed he is to his art.  That's why he is so good with his guitars.  It is quite an inspiration to me.

For June our challenge is to incorporate a selvage or selvages into a quilted project.  I have to come up with something before next Monday!!

Have a great day!!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Works in progress and Lincoln's quilt

Phew, where has the time gone!!  I can't believe I haven't posted any progress for almost a month.  This is going to be a long post, let's get to it.

At our Valley MQG, we have a new challenge in honor of Quilt Con last month.  Our challenge is to take a 12 inch Sawtooth Star and make it modern. Use the components of a Traditional Sawtooth Star to make a modern version. We can change them around, change the color formation or delete parts altogether.

This is the traditional Sawtooth Star block

This is my spin on the traditional Sawtooth Star.

By itself, the block doesn't look like anything much.  But when I put a few of them together, they turned out really nice.

I like it so much that I want to make it into a whole quilt!!  My husband gave it a name 'Time to Sew' because of the hour glass and thread spool images there.  The free pattern and instructions will come in the near future.

There is still one more thing that we're doing at the Valley MQG, it's a Round Robin.  This is my center block for this challenge.

It took me awhile to come up with this block and I really like it.  I can't wait to see the final piece.  This will be the only image you'll see until the Round Robin is done 6 months from now.

Another project that I was working on was a quilt for Lincoln, the newest addition to the family.  The colors of choice are navy blue and gray, I pulled some fabric out as you might have seen in the last post.

This was on design wall.

This is what I finished with.  I couldn't leave the blocks as they were, I had to give them a Faux Rag Quilting touch on both the front and the back of the quilt.   :-)

The dimension of this quilt is 48 x 56"

Another piece of good news before I go, in April, I'll be teaching at one of our local quilt shops called Quilty Pleasures in Simi Valley, Ca.  I'll be teaching projects from my book 'Soft & Cozy Keepsakes - Faux Rag Quilting'I took a break after my surgery two years ago.  I'm very happy to be back teaching again.    Can't wait!!

See you next time
Go do something fun!!!!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Back to the US time zone: more fabric and WIP

I'm back from my trip to Thailand.  What a fantastic trip I had!!  I met up with some old friends and we had lots of laughs and fun going places together.  What is amazing is that our old math professor came along on some of the trips with us.  She's 78 years old and still strong and she's really funny.  We went on a 3-hour hike which you can read about it here, and she kept up with us all the way.  Can you believe she and some of my friends have already planned a trip for my next year's visit?  As much fun as it was, I had to come home and get back to work.

I have a few more pieces of fabric to add to the stash.  I showed you some of the new additions here, and since then, I added a few more.  I was in the mood for green and I just loved these pieces.

When I was at QuiltCon 2018 on Saturday, I found this fabric in a half yard bundle and thought they go well with the ones I got above.  So they had to come home with me.  :-)

At the same fabric store in Bangkok, I also found some grey fabric that I wanted to include into my grey stash too.  Aren't they lovely?

There is a new baby in the family.  My sister-in-law has a new grandson and she said the colors are navy blue and grey.  I pulled out my blue and grey flannel for a new Faux Rag baby quilt.  Let's see what will happen with these......

Get sewing and have some fun!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

River boat rides

I found some pictures of our river boat ride along the Chao Phraya river.  This river goes right through Bangkok.  In the old day and somewhat now, it's the main route for transporting goods from northern and north-eastern parts of the country down to the central part.  I still remember the image of timber logs being shipped by floating in the river to my father's mill to be transformed into planks and boards for building material.  I don't think they do that any more but I found this article about Timber rafting in the Wikipedia which is fascinating to me. 

Wat Arun or The Temple of Dawn

That day was a little hazy but Wat Arun is especially beautiful.  No wonder it's one of the most visited places in Bangkok.   

In the evening we went to have dinner with my brother and his family at the place called Asiatique.

The food was spicy but delicious!  That's all folks!!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

More fabric in the jungle!?! Is it possible?

We are still in Loei, Isan and having a marvelous time.  Today we went to the village of Tai Dam people.  You can read about them in Wikipedia here.

On the second line on the board is Tai Dam written language.
Everyone including children all dressed in traditional clothing.

A lovely lady selling snacks and herbal tea

They make their own fabric with 100% cotton threads, mainly in black and some blue.  There wasn't many selections of fabric that day, but I couldn't resist these two pieces so they'll come home with me.  The top piece has smaller threads and softer.  It measured at 4 meters which is about 4.37 yards.  The bottom piece has thicker threads and tighter weave so it's a little stiffer.   The measurement is 3.5 meters which is about 3.83 yards.  The width of the fabric, from salvage to salvage, is one meter or 39.37 inches which is the width of their loom.

May the fabric fairy watch over you!!!

More Travel and wild orchids

One Friday evening, my college girl friend, our math. professor and I went to visit Loei province in Isan.  Our friend who lives there came to pick us up at the airport and took us to Chiang Khan, treated us dinner and took us on a night walk along the street near Mekong river for souvenirs.  After walking till our legs hurt, he put us up in a small but very nice place.  

This was what we woke up to:

My breakfast.  The food here has Vietnamese and Lao influence

My Friend knows half of the town, or better yet, half of the town knows him.  Well, I may exaggerate a little, but only a little.  It was fun to see how people greeted him while we walked on the street.

After breakfast, he drove us to Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary to see beautiful wild orchids and may be, may be elephants and some other wild lives.  We got there a little after 10 am.  Lo and behold, it started to rain a little.  Then it rained a little harder, and harder.  We decided to have early lunch to wait for the rain to die down.  Lucky for us, the rain stopped a little after lunch so we decided to go for a hike.  Since we are not allowed to wonder off on our own, we have to wait for an available ranger to accompany us.  We took off around 12 pm. and here are some of the pictures.  There are much more but I can't show them all, so sorry.

Our ranger and his pink umbrella that he just borrowed from someone.  He graduated from Chiang Mai University and has been working as a ranger for 17 years.

White Millipede orchid
Lady Slipper orchid
Rock formation in the shape of a bird.  How cool is that!!
Another beautiful orchid

We had a great time even though it rained again after 2 hours of hiking.  The ranger said we were only half way through but had to cut the hike short and took us back out to the parking lot which was another hour of walking. We were soaking wet but it's so worth it.  All the places that we went has a link to Wikipedia so that you can read more about them.  These are non-affiliate links.

Hope you all do some fun things today.  


Thursday, January 18, 2018

New Year starts right

Hi Everyone.......

The month of December came and went in the flash for me.  There were so much to do before and during that month.   No matter how hard I tried, I was never ready for it.   It was especially hard for the last December, because I didn’t feel like doing anything.  Have you ever had such a time that you just didn’t want to do anything?  I had that quite a bit after my brain surgery in 2016.  My doctor said my body went through an experience equivalent to PTSD, and would take 2-3 years to get back to my old self.  I’ve tried to be positive and keep on doing the things that I love, such as sewing and volunteering, and that has helped me tremendously.  Volunteering and doing service for others, have helped to keep my perspectives.  I’m so blessed to have many wonderful people around me to help me get back to the right direction.

I have done quite a few projects in the past year but the project that I’m most proud of is this quilt top.

Our members in Valley MQG had made wonky log cabin blocks for our wonderful president Scott Griffin and I had the honor to put them together into this quilt top.  I loved every single block in this quilt.  They are from the heart of our members.  Now it's in the hand of my good friend, Lois, to be quilted.  We appreciate our outgoing president so much.  He has helped lead and guide our brand new guild to its current stage today.  And he has done a marvelous job.  Thanks a bunch, Scott.

I’m taking my sister-in-law and my two children to visit Bangkok, Thailand to start off the New Year.  They will be with me for 9 days but I will stay behind longer and will keep you updated with as many pictures as I can.  It’s too bad that my dear husband can’t come with us.  I won’t be doing much sewing but there are many things that I’ll be taking care of.   

Here is our first day lunch at the world famous JJ Market.

I'm with wonderful companies and having a great lunch.  Can't ask for anything more, really!!  The only thing that's missing is my dear husband.  Wish he was here with us.

Now that my New Year has gotten a good start, I'll be doing a lot of quilting this year.  I set a goal to learn free motion quilting and I can't wait to get started when we get back.  Bye for now.......

Embrace life and have fun!!