Thursday, November 10, 2011

Visit to Palomar Mountain

I received a quilt job from the friend of a current customer. )I love it when a quilt makes my customer so happy that they refer me to their friends.) Jody is my customer's and Shirley is her friend and neighbor. Shirley is 83 yrs old; her quilt is a 94 x112 quilt for her grand-daughter. This was supposed to be my last quilt before my foot surgery tomorrow. Good so far. Then I measured it. The backing was too small by about 11 inches. Not so good.

I called her and had a nice chat with her. I found out that she had more of the backing fabric. She lives about 40 miles from me up in the mountains. It was a beautiful drive up to Palomar Mountain. It is a small community with a population of 3,200. Summer tourists swell that number filling lots of summer cabins.

We found Shirley's senior cabin nestled under a huge Redwood tree where the deck was still covered in snow. She invited us in for a visit. Right away I noticed a chalk drawing on the wall. It was a good likeness of Shirley but I was more interested in what Shirley was wearing in the drawing. It was a WAVES uniform. WAVES was a term used by the U.S. Navy describe Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service from the 40's to the 70's. Shirley served in the Navy starting in 1953, during the Korean War. I recognized the uniform because I wore a uniform just like it from 1968 to 1990. We swapped stories about duty stations, etc.

Shirley was assigned to be an Electronics Technician and was stationed at Coronado Island in San Diego. Shirley and a friend had a week off coming up and they decided to bicycle up to Palomar Mountain to visit the observatory. Clearly she did not have access to the internet or Shirley would have known that this was a 68 miles trip one-way. She laughs about how innocent they were setting out on that adventure. But it was the 50's and people were more trusting then. Shirley and her friend got rides from strangers part of the way. They made it to Palomar Mountain but they were too exhausted to bike the last 5 miles up to the observatory.

They checked in at a small snack bar on the side of the road. Shirley noticed a tall, dark and handsome young man working at the snack bar (now called Mom's Kitchen) and asked about finding a hotel room for the two girls. The young man directed them to his mother who rents out a room at her house. The rest is history. Shirley and the young man, Wayne, fell in love and got married. One of their sons, Mark, works at the observatory. Mark's best friend since grade school is named Lloyd. Lloyd is my customer Jody's husband and he also works at the observatory. It's like we are all connected.

We had a nice visit and decided to drive up to the observatory. My husband was there years ago with our son and a troop of Boy Scouts. It was all new and exciting to me.

The mirror used by the Hale telescope is 200 inches in diameter. We had the place to ourselves, no other tourists. I loved the history about building the South Grade road to get the huge telescope parts up the top of the mountain.

We were standing in the observation area and heard some motor running. It turned out to be the dome of the telescope was being rotated. See the movie below. You can see in the first photo that the doors on the dome are on the right side; then the photo later shows the doors have rotated around and are on the left side.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Circles and Lines

I love reading blogs. I have been so busy with medical stuff and trying to keep up with my quilting that I have fallen behind on my normal blog reading. So I had some spare time (huh?) yesterday and checked out some decorating blogs like Jenny Komenda's Little Green Notebook, Shannon Darby's The Designer's Attic and The Nester's Place and some others. It is both addicting and inspirational to read these wonderful ideas from people who have way more savvy about decorating than I do.

I have to admit that my living room looks a bit dated, even haggard and needs some updating. Constrained by my budget, I took one of these "thrifting" ideas to heart and starting window shopping Craigslist. I figured that I would start on something small and easy. Lamps seemed like a good place to start. This is what I found. Aren't those circles cool? Both lamps for $45 was the deal. When I got there to pick up the lamps, the seller apologized that one of the lamp shades was damaged. So he discounted the price to $40 for the 2 lamps. Still a good deal. But now I have to think about buying a replacement shade; Well, shades really. These lamps are so striking that it would look odd to have different shades on them

I went to Lamps Plus looking for the replacement shades. As soon as I spotted it, I knew it was perfect. There were only 2 so I grabbed them up. I love lines with circles, it is such a good-looking contrast. As I headed for checkout, I glanced at the price tag. $40 per shade. Hmm, that took the thrifty wind out of my sails. Then I added it all up and decided that $60 a lamp was still a darn good deal.

Now, I'm going to see what other bargains I can find on craigslist. I need some extra storage for my quilting thread. Maybe I can find an old dresser that needs some funky paint. Wish me luck. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I have hope...finally

I have flat feet and my feet have always been a hassle. I hate shoe shopping. "Hey, do you have this pump in a 13 AAAA?" Yeah, right.

I know that some of you have followed the course of my problems with my feet since September 2009. I have lost 2 toes due to osteomylitis or bone infections. They were my middle then the second toe on my right foot. It was a bump in the road, so I thought and I went back to quilting.

Then in November 2010, both big toes were diagnosed with the same problem. Since then I have done daily wound dressings, gone to wound care appointments every 2 weeks, 42 days with a PICC line of IV antibiotics, and 40 2-hr sessions of hyperbaric oxygen chamber treatments. I knew that if I lost those 2 toes that I would lose my walk. I would still be able to hobble but that is what I have been doing since November.

One podiatrist told me that if I lost my big toes that it would just be a matter of time before one by one all the other toes would also have to be amputated. He told me that me that a fore foot amputation might be the best solution for my situation. Many of you encouraged me and prayed for me. It has been so many months and I was just about ready to give up and let the toes go. I knew that my quilting work would be finished if I lost my toes. I would have to cut back on my church activities. And I would have to rely on others for things that I have always done for myself. I did not want to lose my independence.

So at the suggestion of the wound care clinic, I went to see another podiatrist, one who specializes in diabetics. No, I am not diabetic. But this guy has seen and done several procedures for diabetics who have similar problems.

So today, Dr Vallone told me that he could save my toes. He will do the surgery on the left foot first since it is worse and then in 6 weeks, he'll do the other foot. I asked him if I would be able to walk. Yes. I asked him if I would be able to wear shoes again. Yes. And then he told me that I would be able to continue quilting. I wanted to hug him but instead I just cried. I am so excited. I wanted to tell everybody as soon as I got outside the office. I must have looked like a loon pedalling my wheel chair down the hall and trying to talk to my husband on my cell phone at the same time. Yippppppeeeeeee!

So I wanted to say "thank you, Lord" for putting all these wonderful people in my path to help me and encourage me. I see light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you, thank you!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Look what I found...

As background, a couple of weeks ago I noticed some dirt/rock hauling tractor trailers going up and down the grade to Ramona where I live. I wondered about it but dismissed it at first. But as I saw more of these big trucks I got curious why they would be making trips from the quarry in Lakeside to my town 20 miles away. I was hopeful that it meant that construction was re-starting here in San Diego County. My son, a journeyman construction plumber, has been looking for work for almost a year since construction halted here in San Diego. I had to know.

So late this afternoon, I followed the winding road I had seen them travel. I saw a Dead End sign but I kept driving. There were a few houses, some small ranches and the road kept going. Then no more houses, no side streets, no sign of construction anywhere.

I kept driving and came around a bend 2 miles past the Dead End sign and spotted this unknown valley. Beautiful, and it went for at least 2 or 3 more miles. No telephone poles, no houses, fences, just rolling hills with trees. It was like a paradise. As I continued on, I noticed barb wire fencing started on one side of the road. There was a sign telling me that this paradise lost was Pamo Valley Ranch owned by the city of San Diego. I snapped this photo as I was driving back.

I never figured out where the trucks were going but I got to see a beautiful view.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dear Jane - you designed a beautiful quilt

I finished quilting a client's Dear Jane quilt about a week ago and posted some photos of the back over on Facebook. But I waited until I got permission from the client to post photos of the front.

This is a partial Dear Jane as the original has 225 patterns and 5,602 pieces. There were 169 4.5 inch blocks, 52 triangle border (sometimes called Christmas tree border) blocks, and the 4 kite-shaped corner blocks.

Jane made the quilt in 1863 and it was passed down through her family. A relative found it during the depression and because it was signed by "Jane A. Blakely Stickle", the relative sent the Dear Jane to Bennington Museum in Vermont. Magazine articles and books have been written about the quilt but I had never seen on in person until this one came into my studio.

I was a bit nervous to quilt this beauty. I have no advice for other quilters who may get a Dear Jane to quilt except to go slow and ditch the whole thing. It took me 32 hours to finish it. The object was to hide my quilting. I wanted Jane to be the star of the show.

I have posted several photos of the quilt from various angles so you can see how different the blocks are. It was an honor and a chore to quilt it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Looking for my marbles....

Today was my grand-daughter's 4th birthday. It was a tea party. I already had her gift, a dozen of the sweetest ribboned barretts in a cute little lunchbox with a gift card. I gathered up my camera, an extra battery, the gift - oh, better put that in a gift bag. Maybe you are from the era when little girls raided their mother's closet for treasures such as hats, scarves and necklaces and dressed up for tea parties. At the end of a bad week, I was so looking forward to this fun with the girls.

I was ready to go but could not find the camera or the extra battery. I knew that I was facing a freeway closure 10 miles down the road so flailing around looking for the camera was stressing me out. Oh well, I grabbed my husband's camera and I jumped in the car and took off...late. The highway closure sent me down 67 to Scripps-Poway Parkway, then Interstate 15 to State 52 then 125 and finally 94. I arrived 30 minutes late.

My DIL had pretty sashes (ala Miss America) for each little girl with labels like "Diva", "Princess", "Cutey", etc. There were little finger sandwiches on a fancy platter, pink frosted cupcakes and lemonade in china cups. It was such a fun party. I wanted to take photos but could not figure out my husband's camera. Then serendipity struck and I figured out how to take a movie using my husbands camera. Madison started to open her gifts. There were lots of Barbie items, clothes, and then she opened the little lunchbox I brought. Voila, lots of barretts,a gift card, my camera and battery....wait a minute. Yeah, I remembered putting the camera in the lunchbox so I could carry everything out to my purse. Doh!

It was hard to explain my thought processes to my DIL and her entire family. What is the camera doing in there? I must have looked like a moron. I certainly felt like one at the time. OK, it's time to put on your big girl panties, say your goodbyes and leave before you look totally dumb. But first, I grabbed some Ruffle potato chips on a paper plate to munch on for the 40 mile return home.

I got out to the car and could not find my phone. I looked thru the car, my purse and went back inside to look for it. There were 30 or 40 people there by then, lots of kids and here comes that crazy grand-mother. My DIL's mother tried calling my cell phone, everybody stopped and looked for my phone. I felt like such a loser. I gave up on the phone and left again.

When I got to the car, I put my plate of chips on the car, and decided to search for the phone again. Not in the back seat; not in the front seat; but when I looked at my purse one more time, there it was. How did I miss it the first time? So sitting in front of the house, I called my DIL and told her that I found my phone. I was so glad that I didn't have to go back inside. "Suck it up and move on". I started the car and headed down gthe street....leaving a vapor trail of Ruffles behind me. sigh.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Lost Socks Quilt is Done

Have you ever lost a sock in the dryer? How does that happen? I think there is another dimension in my laundry room and that is where all those missing socks are hanging out together.

When I saw the Sunflower Patch book by Teri Christopherson, I noticed the applique quilt called Lost Socks. I am still new to applique and this quilt did not have any hard angles. I had fun making it using Pearl Periera's freezer paper method. I finally got it quilted during my Christmas break; simple stipple. I love the way it turned out. It is nice and long so it will be used while I am stretched out in the recliner.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Dear Jane....

Jane A. Blakely Stickle made the original Dear Jane quilt in 1863 during the Civil war. It has 225 patterns or blocks, with triangles, and four unique corner pieces for the border. There are over 5,000 individual pieces in Jane's original quilt. The blocks are about 4.5 inches square.
You can read more about her at the Dear Jane web-site

Just before Christmas I had an appointment with a new quilting client. She brought me a Dear Jane quilt done by a friend who had passed away. The quilt has 10 rows of 14 blocks each. There is no border. The workmanship is excellent. This was the first time that I had ever seen a Dear Jane except in books. The blocks are so small and the piecing is so intricate, I couldn't take my eyes off it. My client wanted stitch-in-the-ditch (SID) throughout. Wow, that was going to be a lot of work. I was excited and scared to death all at the same time.

I started work on the quilt on New Year's Eve. I wanted to document my progress with this special quilt. I have a few photos of blocks that I quilted and photos of blocked that I quilted, ripped out and quilted again.

The little red things are plastic to hold the quilt in place. That is how the quilt came to me. I decided that I would leave those pieces in unitl I get to that block and then snip them off. They fly all over the room when clipped. And the litter the floor of my studio. Here is my progress so far.

December 31st - 9 blocks
January 1st - 18 blocks
January 2nd - 14 blcoks
January 3rd - 22 blocks
January 4th - 21 blocks
January 5th - 10 blocks
January 6th - 7 blocks
January 7th - 0 (slacker)
January 8th - 10 blocks

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Last of the lemons

I love having a Dwarf Meyers Lemon tree in the yard. I can grab a lemon for chicken or shrimp and it is nothing but fresh.

On Christmas day, my grandkids came to visit. I needed a lemon and asked the Gavin, age 5 and Madison, age 3 to go out and get a couple lemons off the tree. Well, that was so new and so exciting to them that they brought in about a dozen lemons. They had fun and we might as well get them off the tree before the next rain or before the gophers get the tree.

Since Christmas, we have had another storm and very cold temperatures, in the 20's and 30's. I'm fixing chicken tonight so I needed a lemon. This is what my husband brought in from the tree. Yeah, that is way more lemons than I need. But now I know where the grandkids get their ideas of portion control. We are supposed to get freezing temps again tonight so I'll just squeeze those lemons into ice cube trays and save the cubes in zip-loc bags.

My life has changed in the last couple of years - some bumps, I retired from quilting, and then I moved to Texas. I'm anxious to see what new adventures await me in the next phase of my life.

About Me

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Ramona, California, United States
I started quilting when a quilt shop opened in our little town in January 2004. I have been hooked ever since.

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Books I"ve read lately

  • The Help (Kindle)
  • The Appeal by John Grisham
  • Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (again) by Harper Lee
  • Bleachers by John Grisham

This is called Fruit Cocktail

This is called Fruit Cocktail
It is all batiks