Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sleepy Nickel Puppy

Nickel does sleep occasionally:
 Droopy Eyes

... and he does have a rather sweet face ... especially when he isn't into some form of mischief!

Maggie Maggio's Smashing Color Workshop

Last Saturday, I was so fortunate to attend Maggie Maggio's Smashing Color workshop at the Pine Needle in Lake Oswego. Maggie looks at color in a unique way. I understand more about color than I ever have before and can hardly wait to take her next class. I am also eager to mix an entire color triangle using polymer clay so I better understand neutrals and their undertones.

Here's a collage I made in class from magazine clippings everyone shared. I don't know that I've ever made a collage before. It was an interesting experience and definitely yielded a color palette that I'm eager to use in a quilt.

 And on the way home, I was rewarded with a beautiful sunset:

Nickel Loves to Wrestle

Wrestling with Benny and Frankie is one of the highlights of Nickel's day. Benny is typically gentle ... unless Nickel bits a lip or an ear too hard with those razor sharp puppy teeth.

 Huh oh! Benny's got me!

He's a LOT bigger than me!

 Bite his ear ... that'll get his attention

 Benny is my pal

 Catch me if you can!

After all that wrestling and running around, Nickel heads for the kiddie pool full of cold water. He leaps in, runs around a few times, leaps out, and runs like a madman to warm up.

 Brrr ...  that water is COLD

Digging as fast as possible in the sand pile is another good way to warm up.

 LOVE to dig

 Dig dig dig as fast as I can

Wrestle ... chase Benny ... quick dip in pool ... run around to warm up ... dig dig dig ... roll roll roll in the grass. Life is grand!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Are you a "fabric nerd" too?

In Luana Rubin's June 22 "Creative Nudge", she defines fabric nerds and I loved it! Here is an excerpt from her newsletter:

If you look up Nerd in the dictionary, it says:
1. a stupid, irritating, ineffectual, or unattractive person.
2. an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit: a computer nerd.
However I think we need to come up with a third description of the word:
3. a brilliant but socially quirky person, totally obsessed with an eccentric or obscure hobby, who delights in gathering with like-minded individuals. Often has an offbeat sense of style and could care less what anyone else thinks.
I mean - really - we make our own tiaras and then get together to parade our creations through the aisles of quilt shows. We make matching patchwork outfits and go on quilting bus tours together. We see a quilt made out of a certain group of fabrics, and can't sleep until we have every single exact fabric in our sweaty little hands. Click here to read Luana's article.
I have yet to make a tiara, but I love quilt shows and have been known to rather fanatically go after a collection of fabrics. Do you? I'm curious ... how do you go about searching for a particular fabric? Any tips you'd like to share?

First Day of Summer

Nickel's first day of summer was perfect! Sunny, warm and not too hot. Activities included lots of wrestling with both Benny and Frankie ... Frankie is extremely tolerant except for sharing raw beef bones. Frankie has a definite, clearly articulated "absolutely do not touch" policy. Otherwise, he's up for wrestling any time and is doing a fine job teaching Nickel his "limitations".

Nickel is easily wrestled to the ground

Momentary standoff ... catching our breath

Let's play ball!

Happy Benny

I'm an angel ... truly, I am!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Border Woes With a Happy Ending

Have you ever gotten carried away with an idea or experienced a "feeding frenzy" at the cutting table of a quilt shop? After picking a group of creamy neutrals, dark sage green and a beautiful burgundy batik for the sample quilt for the Pine Needle retreat quilt, at 2am I remembered this pretty pink, gray and green floral ... thought it would be great for the border ... stitched all the blocks ... put it on the design wall and as you can see, it was way beyond bad ... it was HORRID:

Why so bad? Well, the colors don't work at all, the texture/scale of the print doesn't relate to any of the blocks or sashing, nor does the mood of the print. So ... senior moment? brain freeze? Honestly, it didn't look this bad on the cutting table.

All is not lost since it's a lovely print that I'll use in another quilt. Let's try a near-white lacey print ... maybe that will work:

It's an improvement but is too flat texture-wise as well as too light in value. This border choice simply doesn't do anything for the quilt. Third time's the charm?

Much better! The photo, however, shows too much of this creamy Stonehenge fabric. It's essential to get the proportions right when adding borders. I love the marble texture of this print with the blocks and sashing and envision a large, contemporary feather in the border. Stay tuned for the final choices!

The Pine Needle's 2011 Retreat at St. Andrews

I have just returned from The Pine Needle's annual retreat at St. Andrews House in Union, Washington. The setting was amazing! This was my first experience teaching at a retreat and I loved every minute! I sewed, laughed, cried, ate very well and enjoyed meeting a wonderful group of women who are now my friends ... and of course the view of Hood Canal with an occasional glimpse of the Olympics was soothing perfection:

Evening view:

Getting situated in the sewing room:

The living room:

The living room has a great ceiling:

In addition to "sewing sewing sewing", throughout the weekend there were surprise "Secret Pal" gifts. Saturday evening included a bonfire and white elephant gift exchange that proved hysterical! Most sought after gifts were a 9-in-1 emergency light, a ceramic chicken lamp and a chef's apron printed with the statue of David. Oh my!

St. Andrews House website

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

He Who Has Not Yet Been Named Gets a Name

Big news! Pup Pup gets his name ... but first, here is a picture of a very tired Pup Pup. This can't possibly be comfortable.
 Zzzzzzzz ...

Later, Pup Pup worked his way underneath our bed to snuggle in close with Benny.

Night night ... sleep tight.

Oh! I almost forgot ... his name. We've decided to call him Nickel. He is our fifth golden retriever and we can play with his name as we love to do. I am imagining Nicholas, Nick, Nik Nik etc. We love that his name will remind us of golden retriever #3, Niki, who truly was a golden angel. Those are large shoes to fill and our hearts are full of hope for Nickel.

And perhaps best of all, when he is incorrigible, we can say he isn't worth a plug nickel.

Thanks to my sister Karen for the correct expression!

Pup Pup Worms His Way Into Benny's Heart

It's such a pleasure watching their relationship develop. Benny is a wonderful teacher and is doing his best to make sure Pup Pup understands what he must do to be a proper golden retriever. Last night, Pup Pup worked his way closer and closer until he was sleeping beside Benny.

Close ...

Doesn't it just melt your heart?

 Really, I just want to sleep in the big boy bed.

It so touches my heart.

Exhaustion Is Our Strategy

Our strategy is to make sure Pup Pup is exhausted by bedtime. Frankie and Pup Pup loved sweet potato chews.
 Frankie says ... this one is *MINE* !!!

Okay ... if you won't share ...

We also give him a ball that's too big to fit in his mouth to encourage lots of running around.
I'm gonna get it!

And of course, lots of chewing.
Sticks are good

... but so is the Kong toy ... 

Here's the other side of that muddy puppy 

I can't decide which is better!

Well, at least Frankie is tired ...
Night night!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Auntie Jane's Visit

Yippee! Auntie Jane came to visit Saturday. Pup Pup showed her his new red kong toy that Harry got for him ...

A green toy you can put treats in ... hey, where are the treats?

How to dry off in the grass ...

And my sweet "Pup Pup" face!

Finished an Art Quilt Top!

With a rambunctious 3-month old puppy, there are precious few moments in the day for quilting.  Luckily, there were only a few seams remaining to complete this quilt top:

I started this quilt in Jean Wells' Intuitive Quilting II retreat in April. I have been so excited to get the top finished so I can quilt it. The week-long class was fantastic and gave me long sought insight about a way I can approach art quilts that feels authentic, inspiring and genuinely me. Jean says her goal is to help quilters "find their voice" and that's the way this quilt is feeling. I think I'll call it "Windows of Illumination" or maybe "Windows of Insight". What do you think?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Days 1 and 3 with "Pup Pup"

Day 1
We are still getting to know "he who has not yet been named". He answers to "Pup Pup" until we discover the perfect name for him. He is a very sweet, calm, confident little boy puppy who is eager to please his new family. His first day included a long drive, meeting his new family and exploring his new house. He's a little tired after all that!

Day 3
As you can see, Pup Pup loves water ... but it's a little tricky getting that puppy tummy in and out of the kiddie pool!

Pup Pup found a great stick to chew ...

Learned how to blow bubbles to get sunken water-logged fir cones ...

... munched and rolled in the tall grass ...

... back in the pool ...

Sweet Benny shares a stick ... I think Benny realized today that Pup Pup is staying (as opposed to visiting) so he begins training him to be a proper Golden Retriever ...