Row By Row Experience

My buddies and I had a quilting day scheduled, but today was just too hot to sit around my non-air-conditioned house. 
Panel from Candy's Quiltworks; feather batik from Homestead Treasures; dark blue and two fabric rolls - pillowcase material - from Patches; orange fabric and zippered pouch from Quilt Emporium; patriotic charm pack, below, from Cotton and Chocolate.

Instead, we headed for some almost-local quilt shops that are participating in the Row By Row Experience. And, just by chance, some of these same shops are also doing the So. Calif. Quilter's Run. Whoohoo, double presents for us!
Our main goal was to pick up the free Row By Row patterns and (not free) license plate fabrics each shop is offering until September. The Quilt Run shops were also giving away free block patterns and a Robert Kaufman fat quarter. Score!
 I bought Row kits from Candy's and Quilty Pleasures. I'm also planning to get a kit for Quilt Ventura's Row.

Our first stop, Homespun Treasures in Camarillo, was the most expensive for me, as always. Love Susan's taste in fabric!
I fell hard for the Nemo fabric and picked up complimentary fabric at the rest of our stops to make a dull, boring super colorful quilt, probably for one of the little girls.
I found the mermaid panel and coordinating fabric at Quilty Pleasures in Simi. I'm hoping it will make a quick baby gift for one of Marie's oldest friends.  
In Chatsworth, at Patches, I spotted this zoo fabric from the same line as the Martian fabric (Greetings, Earthlings!) I bought in Orcutt on our Gold Coast quilt run in May. Love this stuff!!
Rainbow snails and zebras for the win!


More Round Things

A few more bowls . . .
This one went home with Breanne today.
I was regretting the orange center, thinking it didn't match well enough.
First thing Bre said when she saw the bowl? "I love the orange!"
A birthday present for a friend - 
Sandy likes Fall colors - something we have in common - so I'm hopeful she'll like this.
I may have to make another for me. . . .

Remember yesterday's lost cause? Turns out my finishing problems were operator error.
It's still a weird shape, but I love it!

And I solved a problem I was having on the bottom of each bowl. The zig-zag stitch for the ribs was a mess,
so I pulled the bobbin thread up before I started sewing, like you do (or are supposed to do) for quilting. 
Much nicer.


Bowling Along

This week was dedicated to making more fabric bowls. I wanted to practice what I learned in class, but I also wanted to experiment with size and shape.

Hubby, bless him, copied the template I made in class onto clear plastic, cleaning up my "almost" even edges and centering things properly.  This is going to make things soooo much easier!
First up was batiks, made with the class template on one side and longer, slightly wider cuts on the other. 
What I learned: Use an open-toed foot on the sewing machine so I can better see what I'm doing and the center circle comes out a bit less wonky. I'm calling this one "artistic expression" and pretending it doesn't bother me.
The original darts - approx 1" across and 1.25" deep - make the sides curve more (left side above).
Deeper darts - approx 1.25" across and 2" deep - make for smoother, less upright sides(left side above). This bowl is mine; it makes me smile every time I see it.

What grandma has, Leanne wants, so a Minnie Mouse/My Little Pony mash-up was next.
I used a bowl and glass* from my cupboard - 

and I like the size/shape of this one. 
The center stitching is better too, which makes me happy. (Note: darts started 1/2" across, 1" deep; final size 3/4" across; approx 1.25" deep.)

Then I went a little crazy. 
This is using the original template, but I cut the three darts on the left 2+" wide (note: added .5" to each side of template dart) and 1.25" deep. Waaaaaay too steep a curve. 
I relaxed the darts, going back to the original pattern width and slightly longer depth for the remaining cuts. 
I kinda like the shape - baseball cap bowl?? - but my sewing machine hates it.
There's not enough room to get it under the needle, to do the finish edge stitching, without bending and smashing the bowl out of shape. And if I do manage to get it in position, the machine flat refuses to cooperate. Going to give it another try tonight - never say die! - but this one may be a lost cause.

*Breanne made the glass for me, from a wine bottle. Isn't it pretty? And isn't she talented??     


Cheap Fun

Bought some bowls at the dollar store (2 for a buck! Such a deal!)
Added in the colorful bean bags I made awhile back.
Ended up with an afternoon of hilarious, giggly fun and games with Leanne*.
She laughed so hard she got the hiccups. Success!

*I didn't tell her it was educational too - Counting . . . Colors . . . Sharing . . . Hand/eye coordination . . . Motor skills . . . Shapes . . . Rule following (ok, rule making - the little girl loves changing up the ways and the means of any game we play.)


Season Passes

A nice thing about having season passes to the zoo is you can pack up and go, on the spur of the moment, whenever you want.
Leia and Leanne were both here on Tuesday, so we did just that, 
stopping behind a local craft store to grab some cardboard for the girls' favorite hill slide.
Normally we bring some from home, but forgot this time in the whole, spur-of-the-moment thing. 
They would both, happily, spend all day here,
as long as we kept them supplied with apple juice and snacks.
Other things they love doing - the wind tunnel, where Leia held tight to a scared Leanne the first time through. The second time though, Leanne had just as much fun as her big cousin -
feeding the goats and trying to feed the sheep; 
the goats are very pushy, so it becomes a game of distract and toss to get pellets to the sheepies -
and Leia putting on a singing, dancing stage show to her audience of one.
And of course we can't forget feeding the giraffes. Michael is the main attraction,
maintaining his star status
and keeping the ladies (Audrey, in this case) from sharing the bounty. 
We were told he would head-butt Audrey if she got in the way or if we attempted to feed her. 
Made me want to sneak her some lettuce, but I refrained. Next time though . . . .


Quilt Run Traditions

In the three years we've been making the quilt run, Reyna and I have developed a few traditions. I always drive; she always plans our itinerary and navigates our 12 hour, 390 mile, 8 shop odyssey.
My Orcutt purchases. Love, love, LOVE the Martian print - "Greetings, Earthlings!"

Our first stop is always Old Town Quilts in Orcutt, one of our favorite non-local shops, where we usually always blow our budget. I knew I was in trouble this year when I spent 2/3's of my "budget" in this one shop. 
 My Run fabric purchases.

We always Run on Friday, the first day of the 3-day extravaganza. Except this year I had an non-negotiable obligation on Friday, so we headed north on Saturday instead, hopscotching our way from Orcutt to Santa Maria and Paso Robles before starting south again with the two shops in Atascadero. Traffic wasn't nearly as bad as I expected on the weekend - a pleasant surprise!
We always collect and display the colorful ribbons each shop hands out in the goody bags. After the run, my ribbons go to the little girls for hair ties or to play with.
 My non-fabric purchases.

We always save the three local shops for the day following our day-long trip. This year I persuaded hubby to go with me to Roxanne's in Carpinteria, my last stop, by promising him lunch on  the beach in Mussel Shoals.
Such a hardship for both of us!
And my favorite tradition of all - we always purchase something in each shop for our buddy who is forced (forced!) to work at our favorite local quilt shop during the Run. Debbie tells us what she'd like, gives us $$ to spend and a bag to bring home her treasures.
This year, she wanted colorful batiks, "like a stained glass window", with no blacks or browns.
Judging from her reaction, I think we nailed it.