Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Red shoes

Today is the 70th anniversary of the Wizard of Oz movie. I’ve been thinking about shoes lately. The two shoes I put up on my blog – cleats, and the walking shoe – have led readers to suggest I do a series of shoes. So, without further ado, here is my block-of-the-day for today:
I have some ideas for variations on this theme. I’ll be working on them in the next few days. Have you read Manolo’s Shoe Blog? I learned about it on Terry Grant’s blog and I pop in every so often to see the shoes. I am a sneaker kind of gal and don’t even own a pair of high heels anymore. I do have a pair of Finn Comfort black suede wedge shoes for “good.”
In the meantime, you can increase your shoe wardrobe by making a 4-inch paper pieced high heel shoe (perhaps a pair). Click on the small graphic below and it will take you to some foundations to print out for your own personal use. This is a kind of tricky pattern. I didn’t find it very easy to do, but I will improve with practice.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, September 25, 2009

A football great

… grandson, that is. Joey is on the Phantoms team in Sonoma County. He is a running back. In his second game this season he ran a 60 yard touchdown. Way to go!

To celebrate this achievement I made a 4-inch football cleats block.

I was going to put a Swoosh on the side of the shoe, but I learned a bit about trademark restrictions by visiting this informative site: Duets Blog. If you make this little block for your football player you can add the Swoosh, but I dare not put it on my pattern (project).

I can show you a close-up of Joey’s cleats.

You can make this 4-inch paper pieced football cleats block. If you have football fans in your family this would make a splendid cornerstone block for a quilt. Click on the small graphic below to find a three-part foundation to print out for your own personal use.

If this block looks somewhat familiar, it is because I did a walking shoe block (no cleats) for my block-a-day July calendar.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Autumnal Equinox at 2:18 pm today

It is Fall. Or if you want to be technical, today is the day when the ecliptic intersects the celestial equator, the sun having a southerly motion in the northern hemisphere.

I made two 4-inch blocks celebrating this special day.

There isn’t a sign of fall around here. The trees are still green and the temperature is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Traditional (9-patch) maple leaf blocks always make me feel fall has arrived. I modified the traditional block for paper piecing.
Click on the small graphic below to find three foundations for constructing a 4-inch paper pieced leaf block. You can print out copies for your own personal use.

If you want to learn how to foundation piece, you can go to my free Paper Piecing Primer on the web by clicking on the little yellow arrow below.

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Reading material

Books, books, books – we have too many, but this weekend I made three more. We have books piled up in corners. I love books. We even owned a bookstore a long time ago.

These are small 4-inch fabric blocks so they don’t take up much room.

This project started when Joan Samuelson sent me a little sketch for a possible paper pieced block for my ongoing block-a-day series.

Her sketch looked easy enough, but it wasn’t. I tried all sorts of maneuvers to make a single foundation for piecing a little book. Finally, I came up with a two-foundation block that calls for some gluing.

If you have some fabric with words printed on it you can use it for the spines of your books. I printed some words on fabric to use for my blocks.

Here is the two part foundation for a paper pieced small book. Click on the graphic to print it out for your own personal use.

Here is a picture of the gluing:

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Joseph

This handsome lad was born in 1980 and that makes him twenty-something today. I’m his grandmother and so I don’t want to figure out his exact age. (I was a very young grandmother!)

Joe and April got married in May of this year and here are the wedding pictures.

He has been a delightful grandson. He has never been shy about saying, “I love you, Grandma,” right in front of his buddies and the whole world.

I love you, Joe.

I’m not much of a cook, but I did whip up a piece of birthday cake for him this morning.

The 4-inch foundation pattern is the same one I used for Jackie and Davis, but I changed the “ingredients” for each honoree. If you need a paper pieced cake for a quick birthday greeting, click on the small graphic below to go to a full size foundation that you can print out for your own personal use.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It was a dark and stormy night

We rarely get rain around here in the summer so it was strange to have thunder and lightning a couple of days ago.

One of my favorite quilt patterns is Streak of Lightning. I have an old family quilt top from 1885 in this design. If you click on the picture below it will take you to a closer view of some individual blocks and a bit of information.

I made one single lightning streak block to celebrate the storm and the freshness after the rain.

You can click on the small graphic below to go to full size foundations and instructions for making a 4-inch paper pieced Lightning Streak block. You can print the page out for your own personal use.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Take it easy

Sometimes it’s best to just sit back and read and take it easy. This weekend was stormy with thunder and lightning so it was good to be indoors curled up in a comfortable chair.

I finished reading Silks by Dick Francis and really enjoyed it. I’ve been reading Dick Francis novels ever since my mother-in-law, Madeline, introduced me to the writer sometime back in the 1970s. I have absolutely no interest in horse racing and have only been to one race in 1966 at Golden Gate Fields. However, I feel I am practically a racing expert because I’ve read so many Francis books.

If you would like to make a 4-inch paper pieced Easy Chair block, click on the small graphic below and you will find a three part foundation pattern for constructing the block. You can print it out for your own personal use.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Chocolate Mousse

Oh, yum. Robert made some chocolate mousse and I am still full after savoring a little serving. It is rich in taste and calories. We don’t have this treat around the house very often so I made a Chocolate Mousse (or parfait) block to enjoy in the meantime.

Here is Robert’s recipe for six servings:

6 ounces (1 cup) semi sweet chocolate chips
4 ounces (½ stick) sweet butter
2 eggs separated
1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla OR 1 tablespoon espresso coffee

You will need four separate bowls to stir and beat the different ingredients in. You can click on the pictures for better details.

Melt the chocolate chips and butter, then stir in the vanilla or the coffee. Stir until the mixture is smooth.
Beat the egg yokes until light and then add 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat in.
Beat the egg whites until they start to stiffen, then add 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue to beat until stiff.
Whip the cream until it starts to thicken, then add 4 tablespoons of sugar and continue to beat until stiff.
Now for the folding – keep it all light and fluffy. Only fold each step until the mixes are evenly streaked, just lift and turn – do not stir.

Use a rubber spatula or folding tool.
Fold the beaten yolks into cooled but still liquid chocolate mix.
Fold egg whites into the chocolate-egg yoke mixture.
Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate-egg mixture.
Put the mousse into six serving dishes. Serving size 450 calories.
Refrigerate until firm.

I usually assist Robert in the kitchen by cleaning out the bowls, but on this one he is perfectly willing to scrape them out with the spatula or spoon himself before rinsing.

If you would like to make a 4-inch paper pieced Chocolate Mousse Block (or parfait glass), click on the small graphic below. It will take you to a two-part foundation which you can print out for your own personal use.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, September 11, 2009

Flashback Friday -- scary memory

I am a bit uncomfortable about posting this, but it has been preying on my mind recently. The revelation of the kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard has been big news. It made me remember my fortunate escape from an incident when I was ten years old.

I was walking along Orinda Way (then called San Pablo Dam Road) on my way to Lila Murphy’s dance class rehearsal at Orinda Union Grammar School. I was carrying my leotard and ballet slippers. A black car pulled up along side of me and the man in the car leaned across the passenger seat and hailed me. “Do you want to play with my big rubber thumb?” he asked. I had no idea what he was talking about. I leaned toward the car and he showed me a flesh colored object. It did not look very interesting to me. I said, “No” and moved back away from his car. He kept talking.

I began to get scared. I told him that I was going to the school. I said, “I will scream and cry.” He said, “All right Girley,” and drove quickly away. I hurried on to the school.

When I came though the main door I saw the school principal, Mr. Sheaf, in the lobby. He was talking to a big tall sheriff in uniform. I rushed up to them and tried to get their attention. Mr. Sheaf did not look at me. I finally got up the courage to tell them that a man in a black car had stopped me. Both the principal and the sheriff looked down at me with disdain. Mr. Sheaf said, “You are making things up just to get attention.” He seemed very mad. I was mortified. I rushed to my dance rehearsal in the auditorium. I did not say a word to anyone because I was sure I had done something terribly wrong.

My parents had taught me, “The policeman is your friend,” and they had warned me about taking candy from strangers, but this incident did not seem to fit into those categories. I was puzzled. I can still describe the car (a 1940s Ford or Chevy coupe) and the man in the car (about 25 years old with dark hair) because it is such a vivid memory.

Later that day, I did not tell my parents anything about the episode. It was probably a month later that I finally told them and they were horrified. They went to the school and talked with someone, but I never heard another word about it, ever.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A basket of apples

Our friend Russell brought us a big basket of apples he picked from his tree. There were a lot of apples for two people so we gave a few away to Mary Mac down the lane. Robert has been making all sorts of apple treats – applesauce, baked apples, and best of all: apple muffins.

I loved them hot out of the oven with scrambled eggs for breakfast. They were good later in the day, too.

I persuaded Robert to give me his recipe for 1 dozen Apple-Raisin-Cornmeal-Maple muffins.

1 cup flour
½ cup cornmeal
¾ cup milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup raisins
1 medium apple, peeled and cored. Chop into small pieces.
¾ cup of sugar
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Grease muffin tins
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Put flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon in a bowl. Whisk together until even in color.
Warm milk and butter to a moderate temp.
Stir egg into milk butter and add syrup
Stir apples and raisins into flour mix.
Make a well in center and pour liquid in well.
Gently mix ingredients together until moistened -- do not beat.
Fill baking cups evenly.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes until nicely browned.

In honor of the occasion I made a block using the same foundation I used in July.

If you would like to make some 4-inch paper pieced muffin blocks, click on the small graphic below to find a full size template for you to print out for your personal use.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Reading glasses

This is my block-a-day for September 4. I’ve had a wonderful time reading, but a frustrating time trying to design this block. The first block pattern had thirty six (36) different patches – in a 4-inch block. It didn’t work. The second foundation pattern had only twenty (20) patches. It didn’t work either. The patterns would have been suitable for wall hangings, but not for such a small format.

I scanned page 149 in the book My Life in France by Julia Child (what a splendid book). I printed the page on fabric using Epson DuraBrite ink. I wanted the text to appear in the reading eyeglass lenses. It worked

This is not a paper pieced block. It uses a machine satin stitch to outline the eyeglass frame. The lenses are cut away and novelty fabric is placed behind the openings. You could use the 4-inch glasses block for different things, for instance: “rose colored glasses,” or driving glasses with scenic fabric in the lenses.You can click on the small graphic below and print out a full size template for the glass frame embroidery to use for your own personal creation.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, September 07, 2009


This darn block is not working. I have a concept in my mind but I can’t get it to go together. I’d better go back to reading.

I finished Julie & Julia, and last night I read the last page in My Life in France. I have Silks by Dick Francis to read next. Or maybe I’d better work on my block for the 4th again. I am getting behind – it is the 7th of September.

Labels: ,

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Don’t bother me, I’m reading

These three books arrived here on September 4 and I’ve been reading almost non-stop. I am working on a block-a-day for the 4th, but you will have to wait for it. The block isn’t going together as easily as I thought it would, so I give up for a while and go back to reading. I am a fast reader.

Labels: ,

Friday, September 04, 2009

Ah, a lovely breeze

At last, the Delta Breeze came up the river and cooled things down last evening. An Ocean Waves block seemed the right motif for the day. The patterns I found all seemed too complicated so I created my own version.

When the Pacific Ocean on the coast sends its cooling air through the Golden Gate it creates our Delta Breeze. The cool air goes across the Bay and wends its way up the Sacramento River. Our island is marked with a big red star on this map.

The map is from Davis Wiki and was posted by Brent Laabs. The Delta Breeze enters the Central Valley through the gap in the Coast Range created by the Delta of the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Mokelumne rivers. Creative Commons Attribution License.

You can paper piece this 4-inch Waves block. Click on the small graphic below and you will find a full size foundation to print out for your own personal use.

Labels: , , , ,