Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mid-Century Modern in Print

The theme for Stitch Tease Bee this month is Mid-Century Modern blocks. Dianne {@Quiltova on Instagram} asked for blocks with a mid century modern theme in colors ranging from orange, coral and pinks to mustard and gold, aquas, teals and lime green. She said if we used any light colors could they please be low volume prints. She also gave us free range on size and the amount of blocks we wanted to make. I went a little overboard because I was having fun with the challenge. The large block is 12"x24". The others are 4"x10" and 6" square. 
This is my second time working with a  mid-century modern theme challenge. Last year in the Bee-Sewcial group Debbie asked for mid century modern blocks in solid colors. You can see Debbie's finished quilt here.  Working in that bee gave me the confidence to design some blocks of my own, for Dianne, based on her Pinterest board
This was a really fun challenge for me and one I hope my Stitch Tease bee mates will embrace as well.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Road Trip to the Central Coast

I hope you will enjoy a few of our favorite photos from our short getaway last week. The drive going up to Paso Robles is always so pretty. Once you get out of the Los Angeles area you can feel the change in the landscape as well as your mood. There is a peaceful vibe to the central coast. Our first stop was to visit the butterflies at Monarch Butterfly Grove at Pismo Beach.

Those clumps of what look like brown leaves are actually thousands of Monarch butterflies. Here is a close up of the cluster of Monarchs.

We stayed at a beautiful B&B in Paso Robles. It has a real European vibe to it. Hotel Cheval has a beautiful courtyard with two fireplaces. S’mores are served every night by their own S’more chef.

On the second day we took a drive up Highway 1 to Monterey. The ocean was magnificent. We even got to see some redwood trees, although not one of the California giants, but still glorious. Can you tell I’m kind of goofy about nature?

We ate lunch overlooking the ocean in Monterey.

We walked on the boardwalk in Cambria and ate lunch by the ocean. It was a pre-storm kind of day and the mist was thick. 

Then on to visit the elephant seals, who mate and give birth further up the coast. I could spend hours watching these animals, dueling and nursing their young and listen to them howl and growl at each other. This alpha male was especially entertaining.

We never got to the wine tasting part of our trip but hope to return again soon.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

My First Knit Hat

Mr. Romance and I planned a road trip to Paso Robles. We chose a lovely B&B called Hotel Cheval. It was a gorgeous european style hotel which included all the amenities needed to spoil us. Sadly, our trip was cut short due to my mother’s advanced age and failing health.
We did have two pretty good days and we even managed to have a mini photo shoot so that I can share the hat I knit last month. This is my first knitting finish for 2016.
I’m not usually a person who wears hats but I am glad I brought this hat along because we had some windy and cold weather on the day we went to the beach at Cambria.
Paul did his best to encourage me to “work it” as I modeled the hat on my little pea head.
This hat was knit with a beautiful Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn. I really like all the texture it adds to this simple hat design. I was a little worried about running out of yarn before I could finish the hat, so it is slightly smaller and not as slouchy as the pattern suggests. Overall I am happy with the outcome and I think there might be another knit hat in my future.
Later in the week I will share some photos of our road trip. 

Hat Stats:
Pattern:Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure free on Ravelry
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn 40% wool, 25% Silk, 25% Polyamide, 10% Mohair 100 grams/300 meters
Needles: Addi Turbo 40 inch Circular needle US Size 3 (3.25 mm)

***At the time of publishing this post, my mom's health has improved and she is doing much better.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

National Pie Day

Yesterday I heard it was National Pie Day so I decided to make a Chocolate Cream Pie. 
I used a tried and true recipe. It's a recipe I have been making for decades. 
But sometimes something goes wrong and you just have to admit defeat.
The pie crust was perfect. Light, tender and flaky. It didn't get soggy at all.
The filling was thick and creamy when I put it into the crust.
Although I browned the meringue {a little too much}, the pie seemed perfect.
After letting it cool and then putting it in the fridge for several hours we were looking forward to a slice after dinner.
As soon as I made the first cut I knew it was runny.
Oh well...we had perfect Pie Crust a Chocolate Cream Soup!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Bag for Jenny

My daughter-in-law asked me to make her a cross-body bag. I decided to make her the Gatherer Bag by Anna of Noodle-head . It's a free pattern on the Robert Kaufman website. Anna's patterns are always so good and easy to follow. 
I had fun using an old leather jacket that I found in our closet. My son had bought it from a thrift store years ago, but was no longer wearing it, so I asked if I could cut it up. It was fun to re-use the leather for the accent pieces on this bag. I actually removed the pockets and re-used them, pleats and all, to make the front flap and the inside pocket.

I even made tassels and sewed them to the ends of the strap.

I used the leather for the fun little details of Anna's pattern, like the piping on the front pocket edge.Sometimes I impress myself...look at the perfect matching of the pattern on the fabric!

I added crosshatch quilting to the front pocket and the back of the bag.

The biggest change I made to the pattern was to make the strap from the upcycled leather. I used the technique I learned from Lindsey a few years ago when I made this bag. I cut two strips of leather 2"x30" and sewed them together to make one long strip of fabric. Then I folded the leather in half over a piece of clothesline weight rope and stitched two rows of stitching as close to the rope as I could get. Then I trimmed away the excess leather. FYI: When sewing with leather you must use a size 18 leather needle and upholstery thread when threading the top thread. In the bobbin you need to use polyester thread. Natural leather will disintegrate cotton thread.