Author Archives: Melanie

Just checking in…

Soon after my last post I got Covid. It sucked. I had it worse than a lot of people I know but not bad enough to go to the hospital. I guess it’s a mild case but it sure did not feel mild. It’s been several weeks and I still feel very tired and I have to take things slow. Some moments my energy levels are at my old self and I want to do everything. Other moments I just am so tired all I can do is lie in bed.

Anyway it’s put a dent on all my crafting. My goal of finishing something every month could not be completed. I’m behind on my BOM – plum fusion. But I’ve done a bit of knitting, some cross stitch and some hand work.

I’ve never been really sick before. I’m a pretty healthy person. I’ve never had the flu and I thought I’d be fine when I finally got the Vid. I was very surprised at how it hit me and I’m grateful it wasn’t worse.

I think we will all get it at some point. For now I’m masking up and trying to avoid getting it twice.

Stay safe,

Melanie

Stitch Club

Sample project from the instructor

I love my LQS. I’m lucky to have several near me. At least 4. My favorite, the one I refer to when I saw MY LQS is Quilt Emporium in Woodland Hills. It’s not the one closest to me now but that’s because I moved. When I lived in the west side of the San Fernando Valley, Quilt Emporium was the closest one to me. I took my first quilt class there (with the previous owner) and I’ve watched them change hands, expand their fabric selection, etc. etc. They are wonderful, welcoming people.

In May, they sent an email with upcoming classes and one of them was for “Stitch Club”. Stitch Club is a hand embroidery class and the first sessions were in June and on a weekday. I emailed them and explained that me (and several of my quilt buddies) would love to take the class. But, at least 2 of us still work and would not be able to do weekday classes. Not to mention that we were fully, overwhelmingly booked in June. So Lisa, the proprietor, worked with our calendars to find a Saturday in July that worked. That was today. We had so much fun.

more samples from the instructor

The club is not like how most classes are with a project that we learn and work on in class. We each emailed the instructor our ideas of what we wanted to do and she went from there. Today was mostly an introduction of her talking about thread, needles, hoops, etc. And there were new to embroidery people and more experienced people who knew what to do and just love being with other hand embroidery people. I fall somewhere in between. I’m not new but I am not an expert.

I brought an ornament project that I bought last December during the shops holiday event and my goal is to work on hand embroidery WIPs and once they are done, work on the kits I have.

Here’s my list of projects so I have it somewhere:

  • Ornaments (WIP)
  • Rainbow Garden (WIP)
  • Prairie Days (WIP)
  • Simple Days (WIP)
  • Rusty Crow Mat (kit)
  • Crazy Christmas Quilt (Kit)

And one day, I want to work on something from Sue Spargo and Laura Wasilowski.

I’m excited and I had a great time at today’s class.

How do you bring your stuff to class? I don’t want to forget anything so I usually have all the stuff for a thing in a bag and when I want to work or bring that project, I just grab that bag. Because I do not embroider as often as I want to outside of my house, I just took the project bag, my hand quilting bag, 2 plastic bins which carry my hand applique supplies. I just didn’t know what I needed exactly and didn’t want to be without. Well, as always, I did forget something – a small embroidery scissors. Luckily my applique bins had a whole bunch of scissors to use.

So, here’s my list as it stands now of what I need for The Stitch Club –

  • the project
  • thread, floss, etc.
  • #24 chenille needles
  • magnetic pin cup – to hold my needles while I’m working as well as a cup to catch all the ORTs. I found a great definition of what an ORT is here.
  • embroidery scissors
  • finger cot
  • thimble

Happy Crafting!

~Melanie

Rippity Doo Dah

Another small finish! This was pretty much done. It was quilted in 2020 or 2021. This was started at a guild workshop in 2016 or 2017. It’s an Amy Bradley Design and I finished the top pretty quickly. I set it in my to be quilted bag and I think quilted a bunch of the small stuff in 2020 or 2021. Then it sat without a binding or a label until now.

I’m thrilled to be knocking off some finishes, even small ones. But the next one is a big one and I need to get going on it if I want it finished in time for my guild’s August meeting. Wish me luck.

~Melanie

Hawaiian mini quilt

24” x 24” square

This was a UFO. I started this at a class at PIQF in 2013. It is needle turned, machine quilted. I picked it up at the beginning of the pandemic and finished applique’ing it. Then set it aside. One of my goals this year is to finish something to share at my guild meeting each month. This was what I finished and shared this month.

I have several tops that are done and just need to be quilted, bound, and labeled. And they take up so much room. I do not know if I have enough for the rest of the year (I haven’t counted them). But if I get these all quilted and the year is not yet done, I’m ok with that.

I have a strong desire right now to clear my craft room and finish things.

A finish

Southern CA quilt run used to have 40 shops participate in the annual shop hop. It would take the full 2 weeks quickly hopping from shop to shop to finish. Now not so much. In 2012 or 2014, the theme was mysteries or something like that. Each area (there are 4) had a mystery quilt. Each shop gave a clue and when you completed an area you got the final instructions. You could also buy a kit to complete the clue. I think this was Area 2 and I didn’t get the final clue. I bought a kit at each shop and finally over the last several years worked through each kit until I had all the blocks made. At one retreat, my fellow retreaters helped me put it together as best as possible without the final clue or instructions. This is what we came up with. and finally this year I quilted and finished this up.

I’m working my way through my finished tops this year and hope to clear out that spot in my craft room!

Stay crafting friends!

Melanie

Taking a break

My life has been a whirlwind recently and I’m finally forced to shut down. We got back from Florida last week and I’ve been on catch up mode for work and all my self-imposed tasks. In addition, I’ve been preparing for upcoming commitments. My mental and emotional state finally said enough with this and I’ve decided to back off those things that won’t matter too much. Like a guild workshop I’m supposed to attend today.

A Pomegranate!

I can’t back off my garden! I’ve been spending evenings watering, picking, watching and it’s given me such solace over these hectic times of mine. There’s so much to do right now for it. As our temperatures rise I won’t be able to do much but there’s always planning for fall.

Above is my first pomegranate baby. One of my mom’s friends gave me this. From what I understand, she had this in a pot for 10 years and it hadn’t given fruit. She finally decided to let it go. I got it earlier this year and transplanted it to this planter. And now I have a baby fruit! I think it needed space to stretch its roots.

Strawberries!

I’m using strawberries as my ground cover now and it’s a contest between me, pillbugs and whatever bugs right now. I’m able to pick 1-3 strawberries a day! I have a strawberry tower that I started last year and it’s doing fine. The patch I started earlier this year and I’ve slowly added strawberries to increase it’s space. It’s really slow because I’m busy with other stuff and can only do so much at a time. I’m hoping as it gets established I’ll be able to supply myself with as much strawberries I want! I’ll get a bunch of bare roots in the fall and plant more for next year.

I’ve also signed up for a permaculture course in the fall and I’m excited about that. There is stuff on YouTube but not a lot of urban permaculture which is what I want to focus on. I’ve also been taking classes at Theodore Payne which focuses on CA Natives so I’d like to incorporate that as well. I can see my life getting busier once that starts and my crafting time is what will suffer. Unfortunately, I still need to work and pay the bills. So I can’t spend less time on that front.

Stay crafty!

Melanie

Southwest Florida

We went to visit one of my brother-in-laws in Naples, FL. Here are some pictures we took while exploring.

Barefoot Beach
Gopher Tortoise
Marco Island

This week has been great visiting and having some time off. I realize that I’ve filled my life again with a lot of commitments and I have to learn to say no again.

Glam Clam – Finished!

ignore the toes

This quilt is finally finished. It’s been under several machines as for some reason I had it in my head to use different quilting motifs on each clam. That got old real fast and after several started repeating them.

I took a ruler work class at a local sewing machine shop in town and started quilting with the techniques I learned in that class. I also took a Mel Beach class and did some quilting on my domestic with some painters tape and creative placement. But in the end, it was taking way too long that I finally threw in the towel and repeated a few motifs in order to get this done.

close up of the backing fabric

I love choosing interesting backs with interesting designs. I couldn’t cut into this fabric for piecing unless I did some fussy cutting.

the label

I used to do my labels on my embroidery machine and if I still did that, this quilt would still be waiting for a label and wouldn’t be done done done. I skip that and simply use fabric pens to write up my label. It’s simple and not as pretty as what I could do on the embroidery machine but I’m okay with it. I love the added detail of the crosses I hand embroidered.

Hugs to you all,

Melanie

Back from the framers

I heard from my framer yesterday that my pieces were done so I ran over and picked them up.

Here is Mama’s Bukid – finished in March, 2020 right at the start of Covid. Thank goodness for this blog because if I relied on memory I would have thought I finished this a long time ago. And while it has been 2 years and for some that is a long time ago, my thoughts were more like 2018 not 2020. Anyway, I gave this to my mom that fall for her birthday unframed. My thought was that she would have it framed. But I know my mom would cheap out on a frame so I took it back in 2021 with the intention of framing it. I didn’t get to that task until last month. I chose a really good quality plexiglass because with real glass it would be really heavy. We didn’t want it to be heavy. And by really good, it is supposed to prevent 80% of UV rays from getting to the piece. There is museum quality glass (plexi?) that would prevent 100% but that would cause the price to skyrocket and while I think my piece is awesome, I don’t think it’s that awesome. 🙂

Mama’s Bukid – Framed

I’m sorry for the picture quality but the reflection of the light cannot be helped at this point. You’ll find better pictures on it’s personal page when it was not framed. Anyway, this is a finish and for that I’m thrilled. Can I count it as a finish for 2022 even though I counted it in 2020 as well? I will because I’m the boss of my blog. 🙂

I do plan to put a label on the back. While I’ve been very good at putting labels on my quilts, I’ve not labeled any of my cross stitch pieces and I’m planning to be better on that end going forward.

Inherited Piece – Save the stitches 2022

The picture really is bad here and I apologize. I was gifted on 2 occasions a number of UFOs from recently deceased crafters needlepoint projects. This one, while not complete, was practically finished. And without the pattern I could not do more unless I did more research. And with my own projects who has the time for that? I decided it was good enough and had it framed. I plan to give this to my mom who is bemoaning all her empty wall spaces that I am happy to fill. I will also put a label on the back with the stitcher’s name.

Happy stitching!

Melanie

My garden update

I always loved gardening but prior to 2020 we rented and moved often -every 1-4 years. So after several attempts early on I gave up on gardening. But since moving into our forever home I felt confident to try again. While I love the tomatoes and seasonal veggies, I want to have long term, semi permanent plants. So over the last year and a half I planted fruit trees and berries. Not pictured are some CA natives that I’m trying to add into the mix. The backyard will house my edible plants while the front yard will have non edibles but also hopefully pollinator attracting plants.

blueberries ready to be planted. These are not all mine. I happened to be a my fave local nursery – Sego in NoHo – and they had a lot of varieties. So I bought some for friends as well. Only 2 pictured will stay with me.
red roger grapes (going off memory so might be wrong)
Oregon Grapes – ca native (i believe despite the name)
blue elderberry- Ca Native
Garlic
My strawberry tower! I just added 6 new plants to replace dead ones that didn’t make it over winter.
Strawberries in grow bags from last year. These are doing really well but I want to transplant them to my strawberry patch.
strawberry patch. This is located below my fruit tree containers and I want them to take over the yard. Or at least that side of it.
more strawberries!
new blackberry plant… it’s not dead, it was a bare root.
I have 4 fruit trees planted in these containers. The one at the end is a mango tree, then a calamansi tree, not pictured is atis tree (which is not English and I have no idea what the English word is. I googled and it is Sugar Apple) and a pomegranate.
Here’s the pomegranate and a sneak at the atis on the left.

Behind each fruit tree are 30 gallon grow bags with blueberries. 3 are a year old while the 4th is new this year. In SoCal we have to be careful and get varieties that have low chill hours so that we can have a successful harvest. Mine are still new but I have high hopes!

Don’t mind the mess but these are pineapples and I need to transplant them into bigger pots. Last summer the family and I got into buying a pineapple every week for several weeks. After eating them we planted the tops. This picture shows 4. We have one more elsewhere. We started with 6 so only lost 1 in all. I hope we can get pineapples next year and this summer we will again buy, eat, and plant!
Here’s the sad state of my veggie garden right now and Tomatomania starts this weekend. I will be getting double the tomato plants from last year as well as jalapeño, cucumbers and zucchini’s.

Happy gardening.

Melanie