Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Langdon Family Reunion - Sweet Home, Oregon

On Friday, August 21, my parents and I headed to Oregon. This was the second trip to Oregon for my Mom and I in the month of August. Our destination was a family reunion in Sweet Home, Oregon.

Of course no road trip would be complete without a shopping stop. We stopped to stretch our legs and do a little looking at the Outlet Mall in Woodburn, Oregon. Lucky for us this mall is visible from I-5 and so handy to get to. http://www.woodburncompanystores.com/index.html

The flowers at this mall were gorgeous. This pink "tree" was actually cleverly arranged petunias.
Although Sweet Home is not that large - population 8,016, we found very clean and comfortable accommodations in the Sweet Home Inn. http://www.ci.sweet-home.or.us/

This was a nearby barber / hairdresser shop. Someone has done a great job at trimming the bush out front in an appropriate shape for this business.

We found several murals decorating the sides of the buildings as we headed through the main street.

And of course no trip would be complete without a visit to the local quilt shop. We spied a sign that said "fabric" on the way to the reunion on Saturday morning. Since we had some time, we made a stop. This is a picture of Seamingly Creative, 1245 Main St., Sweet Home, Oregon 97386. If you are in the neighbourhood, I would encourage you to stop by.

I found the cutest little pair of embroidery scissors and a wonderful fat quarter collection. The fabric was very reasonably priced at this shop--my 10 fall coloured fat quarters only cost me $12. (The thimble says, "Portland" on it and was a purchase I made on my previous trip to Oregon.)

We had a great time at the reunion. This was my first time meeting my Langdon relatives. I hope this will be only the first of many more opportunities to get together with this branch of the family tree.

Friday, August 21, 2009

RCMP Musical Ride

On the evening of August 20, my parents, my husband, and I headed to see the RCMP Musical Ride. I have seen the Ride before, but it was when I was very young. Since the Ride doesn't tour Canada every year, when they do tour near your community, you really need to make an effort to go out and see them. The opening act for the evening was Elvis impersonator, Jeff Bodner. It is fitting that Jeff opens the show as he is an RCMP officer in his "day" job.
The evening temperatures were very warm! However, once those magnificent horses and riders enter the arena and perform in perfect step to the music, you soon forget all about the heat.

Riders in this year's Ride represent every province in Canada.


A definite highlight of the evening is when the Ride is over and the audience members are allowed to approach the riders and horses on the arena floor. Riders are eager to answer questions and the horses tolerate all the children and adults who reach out to touch and pet them.

The RCMP Musical Ride is definitely one of Canada's treasures. Watching the performance of the Ride can not help but instill Canadian pride in each and every audience member.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rooster Strip Twist Flimsy

After coming home from the retreat, I spent some of my remaining vacation finishing off my Strip Twist blocks. I managed to not only get the blocks finished, but I also got the top completed to the flimsy stage. This quilt now measures 98" wide x 105.5 " long.

Quilt Retreat - FABS + 2

Mom and I headed south to Oregon for the FABS + 2 retreat on Thursday, August 6. We weren't due to meet up with the rest of the group until the Friday, but we thought if we headed down a day early we would be able to get in a little shopping before the retreat.

Our hotel reservation was at the Phoenix Inn Suites in Tigard. http://www.phoenixinn.com/tigard/ This is a fabulous hotel and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone. We were conveniently located across the street from the Washington Square Mall.

In that mall was Macy's where we found our Fiestaware dishes on sale. We loaded up on the newest colour, Lemongrass (a beautiful bright green), Chocolate (a new colour in 2008), Cinnabar, Plum, and Sunflower (colours released in 2000, 2002, 2001 respectively). Mom and I started collecting these beautiful dishes that are manufactured by the Homer Laughlin China Co. in WV last year. http://www.hlchina.com/index.htm

We also managed to get to Joann's for some great chicken and egg fabrics and a great print called, "Kittens at the Beach". We even had time to get in a visit to another favorite stop of ours when we head south: Kohl's.

I have a special project in mind for this fabric. (Does it count as adding to your stash if you have a specific use in mind for your fabric when you purchase it?)

Thursday night, we decided that we were going to eat at the Cheesecake Factory. Both Mom and I chose pasta dishes. There was no way we could eat the amount of food that was presented to us in one sitting! Since we had a microwave and fridge in our hotel room, Mom suggested that we take our leftovers "to go" and eat them for lunch the next day. Great idea. The problem was that we had no room left for a piece of cheesecake either. Fortunately, we could take the cheesecake to go so the problem was solved. Later that night we enjoyed cheesecake and coffee in our hotel room. I ordered White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cheesecake and I believe my mom ordered a piece of cheesecake with lemon in it. http://www.thecheesecakefactory.com/#lobby

On Friday we weren't due to meet up with the rest of the FABs until 2 in the afternoon. We had touched base with Pam and Linda the night before and we knew that they might be a little late arriving due to the traffic on the freeway between southern Oregon and Portland so we weren't in a hurry to get to Fabric Depot. We weren't expecting the heavy rush hour traffic we encountered on the way to Fabric Depot on a Friday afternoon in Portland. Thankfully, we had the steady voice of Garmin to guide us on and off of highways, off ramps, and down busy streets. I still find myself wondering how we managed to navigate through all that traffic to find the location of Fabric Depot in a big city that we had never driven in before.

We were barely in the door of Fabric Depot when we were spotted by Linda. After hugs we connected up with Pat, her daughter Michelle, and Pam. We were given a small square of challenge fabric related to the upcoming FAB challenge and asked to find something to go with the fabric--a pretty light lavender/blue colour. I purchased a FQ of a pretty pink and violet batik. Not knowing what the challenge would be, I only purchased a single FQ and wished later that I had purchased more of that great fabric. Pam spotted a great floral that would be perfect for a 4 Patch Posie quilt. The last time I was with Pam over a year ago, she purchased a print to make a 4 Patch Posie quilt but used it in another project before she got to the 4 Patch Posie project. Pam was determined not to let that happen again. I guess we were drawing a bit of attention to ourselves as we were discussing the suitability of this fabric to a 4 Patch Posie pattern and just how much a repeat really was, that we had another quilter in the shop stop by to find out what we were up to. No problem, Pam ended up purchasing a "little extra" -- more than what she thought 4 repeats was equivalent to. After all, you don't want to run yourself short later on and what if Norma really did know what she was talking about when she was trying to explain that repeat thing. http://www.fabricdepot.com/

After we made our fabric purchases, we made our way back to Cher's house for supper. Pat was driving one car and had the assistance of the navigator on her cell phone and I was driving the second car with the assistance of Garmin and my Mom. We started out ahead of Pat and ended up behind her on one of the freeways when we made decisions to change lanes at some point. Despite getting separated by traffic, we managed to pull into Cher's driveway just behind Pat and Linda. Thank goodness for satellites and those wonderful little boxes that give you precise directions!

The next day we exchanged our friendship blocks. We took turns putting our blocks up on Cher's design wall and taking pictures of them.

These wonky house blocks now belong to Cher.

These block parts now belong to Pam. Pam has decided to put together these block bits into a quilt block that will depict a ring of friendship. The plan is to back the block with foam and quilt it in the ditch before framing it and putting it in her ME themed kitchen.

These blocks now belong to Linda.

These wonderful house blocks now belong to me.

These are now Pat's wonky star blocks.

On Saturday we took a break in the morning to visit quilt shop to close to Cher's house. The shop was Fibers in Motion. I found two bright chicken prints and some great "go withs" to put with the chickens. http://www.fibersinmotion.com/

We decided that it would be a great idea to have lunch out since we were already in the proximity of a great little restaurant. We headed down the hill to Marco's Cafe. Mom and I had eaten there last year when we met Cher for the first time in person and I was thrilled to be here for a return engagement. The food is great! http://www.marcoscafe.com/

These are umbrellas that hang from the ceiling of Marco's. Some of the umbrellas are very unusual and used to belong to locals who frequent the cafe making them all that more special.

By now you must be thinking that all we did on this retreat was shop and eat. Although those were two great activities that we did partake in quite a bit, we did actually get to piecing our blocks for our Strip Twist quilts.

This is Linda and Cher.

This is a picture of me piecing my blocks before Pam pushed her 4 Patch Posie squares my way.

This is Pat in the foreground and Pam in the background.

These are Pam's Strip Twist blocks going up on the design wall Saturday night. That is my Mom sitting at the computer. Cher and Pam managed to hook my Mom into Farmtown on Facebook and make her a "neighbour" in the game. It looks like Pam is giving my Mom directions as to what fields of hers to plow so she can get a leg up on Cher in the game. Hmmmm

These are Pam's 4 Patch Posie blocks. Yes, this is the fabric that Pam purchased in Fabric Depot the day before. Pam managed to convince Linda to cut her fabric yardage into the 4 repeats and then the required squares to make the blocks. After that, Pam convinced me to piece her blocks for her. There was something about guilt, making a round robin quilt, getting those squares home without mixing them up, and some sort of a dare involved in there somewhere. There is now significant pressure on Pam to finish piecing this quilt and not let it sit as a UFO. We will have to monitor the progress of this quilt carefully in the future!

These are Pat's Christmas themed blocks.

These are Linda's blocks.

These are some of the blocks that I managed to piece before the weekend was over.

This is my Mom and I just before saying our goodbyes to the rest of the FABs on Sunday night. We headed home on Monday morning.

This was a great holiday and a FABulous quilting retreat. We have now all returned to our respective homes and are back "talking with our fingers" as Linda says.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Quilt Retreat - Friendship Blocks

Only two more days until I leave for the FAB retreat!

We had decided some time ago to do a friendship block exchange. Every participant explained to the group what they would like for their friendship block and each person in the group was to make a block following those guidelines.

The first block I made was a Wonky Star for Pat. Pat requested a blue star on a yellow background. I picked a turquoise blue - my favorite blue right now because it reminds me of Arizona. Hopefully, the link to Arizona will help Pat remember which block is mine. This was my first ever attempt at wonky anything so I am not so sure I got it right, but IIWII! Since I was already in a wonky frame of mind, I decided to push on to the second block which was also to be wonky. This wonky house is for Cher. Cher said it didn't have to look like our house; we were just to have fun with it. There are some things in this block that are taken from my house - the cat in the window, the red door, and the red maple in the yard. This was only my second attempt at anything wonky. I am not so sure I got it right, but once again, IIWII.
The next block was not really a block at all. We were to make block parts using Pam's favorite fabric: ME. I went through my small stash of ME fabric to find the piece that had the most green in it. Green is my favorite colour so of course, I had to have green in my block. I believe Pam is going to assemble the parts we give her into a piece to frame for her kitchen wall. Cute idea!
The last block is for Linda. Linda had shown us her block which had pink, purple, and green in it so we could get some hints of the colours she was looking for. Of course, I had to make my block green! If you double click on the picture, you might be able to see the words and the drawings of the cats on the fabric. Green and cats--yup that is me!

I still have a few more strips to cut for the Strip Twist project we are going to be working on at retreat so I had better get back at it. Thursday will be here before we know it!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Quilt Retreat - Strip Twist Quilt

Thursday morning I leave for Oregon to attend the first FAB Quilting Retreat. The quilt that we are going to work on is Strip Twist from G.E. Designs. This is the pattern jacket.
I started out with two fat quarter packs of soft pastel blues, greens, and pinks. I have since changed my mind on what fabric I want to make my version of Strip Twist from. While organizing my fabric cupboard, I became re-acquainted with a fabulous chicken/rooster print that was in my stash. This is a picture of that print with my rotary cutter in the picture to show the scale of the birds.
I have now decided to use this print as the border on my Strip Twist quilt. The blocks are all going to be made from the many colours taken from the birds in the print. All of the strips that I have cut for my blocks so far have come from my stash.

These are the strips that I have cut so far. As you can see from the picture, there are more green strips than any other colour. I guess that is no surprise since my favorite colour is green and I have more green fabrics in my stash than any other colour. LOL The wild rust and green print on the bottom of the picture was part of a basket of fabric and notions that I won at our guild's quilt show last year. it is a little out there, but the colours work so in it goes. I am trying to follow some of the guidelines that Alex Anderson uses when making her quilts.
I needed to test the pattern to figure out how many blocks I could get out of a strip of fabric. The pattern says you should get 4 blocks from a strip of fabric. I tried a couple of different strips of fabric and find that I can get only 3 blocks from some strips (just a tad short) and I can get 4 blocks from others. I may run out of the chicken wire fabric (that I am using for my light) before anything else. I want to make my quilt bed size - preferably queen. Although this project is a little "planned", it will also be somewhat driven by the number of blocks I can get out of that chicken wire print. I may pull a backup light from my stash if I need to squeeze in a few more blocks.
This is a very cute pattern and the construction is simple. The pattern is solely made from 2.5 inch strips. That narrow light strip is cleverly constructed after sewing 2.5 inch strips together into stratas of 3 strips and then making a secondary cut. The blocks also make use of the partial seam method which avoids set in seams. It will be fun to see this same pattern in the fabric choices of the other FABs.