Poor California. It is a mess. Currently there are ten large fires burning up and down the state with approximately 400,000 acres are involved. It is horrible. Smoke fills the air and ash rains down everywhere. (If you want to see more details, here is a good source of information.) Yesterday and today have been horrible as far as air quality goes. It was a stay-inside-kind-of-weekend. The photo above shows the pasture next door to us and was taken by Julia this afternoon.
Doesn’t take much to guess what I did. Played with fabric, sewed, cooked, and read. It was only logical. What else is there?
Let’s take things in order, shall we? Saturday morning Julia had to be at a meeting at the library for an hour so I had a time to check out a few books. Here is the reading list for the next little while.
I am already half way through The Distinguished Guest, by Sue Miller. It is an excellent book. Sometimes Sue Miller’s books are a little dark for me but I am really enjoying this one. The two Kaffe Fassett books are solely to drool over. I have finished drooling over his Quilts in the Sun book and yet to begin salivating over Country Garden Quilts. The book by Lee Cleland, Quilting Makes the Quilt, is amazing. The quilting shown in this book is far beyond my skill level but the process she used in creating this (older) book is amazing. In order to show how much the quilting defines the quilt, Cleland, an Australian quilter, decided she would make five sets of twelve traditional quilts, each exactly the same. So, twelve quilts – five of each of them! Sixty quilts in a two year period. It exhausts me to even write about it. She took each of the quilts and quilted them, one different from the next. It is really helpful in seeing how the different choices of quilting motifs would set off the piecing and secondary patterns on each quilt. She is brilliant. While this book is a great one to thumb through, it is beyond me at this point. She does include the patterns for each of the twelve quilts in the book. The two cookbooks are at opposite ends of the spectrum. The French Laundry Cookbook, by Thomas Keller, is just for grins. I don’t cook like that and as a result, we don’t eat like that. But it makes a person hungry to thumb through it! However the Light & Healthy Cookbook (from America’s Test Kitchen) is how I cook and eat. Last night I made the Turkey, Lime and Tequila Chili and it was excellent. Finally, I grabbed the biography of Mary Cassatt because she is one of my favorite impressionist artists. I have seen a number of her paintings at different exhibits and there is a tiny print of one that hangs in my sewing space, making me happy each time I see it. I’m looking forward to reading more about her.
Ok, moving forward. Playing with fabric took some of my time yesterday. I recently ordered some Michael Miller solids to use in the Michael Miller Challenge, sponsored by Modern Quilt Guild. I have a few ideas brewing but luckily this project isn’t due until November so I have some time. At least I have the fabrics ready to go.
I ordered the solids from Hawthorne Threads and while I was on their site, I also ordered a scrap bag. I love these. It is an inexpensive way to add a few pieces to the scrap bin (because I really, really don’t have enough scrap.) Most of the pieces I received are wonderful. Here is a sampling of them (a few have already been cut into so aren’t included here.)
See that pretty piece of Amy Butler’s, second from the left? To the right of that is one of Jeni Baker’s prints. They are all lovely and will be used here and there.
I did receive one piece that I know I will not use. I haven’t ever watched Downton Abbey so I have no affinity for this fabric.
Does it speak to any of you? It has a little Christmas holly on it. The piece measures out at 16″ wide, so just under 1/2 yard. If anyone thinks they would like to use it, leave me a comment and I will happily send it to you. If more than one person asks for it, I will just choose a name randomly. Hope someone can use this so it doesn’t just live sadly on my shelf. Claim it as yours!
Finally, I did accomplish some sewing. Check out these orange Dutchman’s Puzzle blocks. They will be the orange row for September on my Classic Stitches BOM project. These blocks are so bright – they will add a good splash of color to the quilt. Hoping to finish these up this week.
That is my weekend in a nutshell. A lot of nutshells actually. This post just got longer and longer! 🙂 Hoping for the air to clear and feeling eternally grateful for the nearly 10,000 firefighters that are battling active fires in California right now.
Linking to Molli Sparkles’ Sunday Stash which is hosted by Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts this week and to Freemotion by the River.
I’m so sorry about your reason for having to stay inside this weekend. (I just watched the news about the Middletown fire. Heartbreaking. ) But you sure made fun use of your time. I hope my library system has that book comparing the quilting on the quilts. It sounds fascinating. I love your orange blocks. Good color choice for a block called Dutchman’s puzzle (Dutch royalty=House of Orange). I hope the air clears soon. Stay safe.
Janine, I thought of you several times as I looked through that book. I kept thinking this would really be interesting for you. Hope you can find it. There are used copies on Amazon because it is an older book, published in 1994.
Take care and have a great week.
Bernie, this is the first time I have been to your blog (through Sunday Stash from Molli Sparkles) and enjoyed reading about your sewing and reading. I love Downton Abbey and would love to have the piece of fabric…..
Thanks for coming by! I would love to send you the Downton Abbey fabric! I’m so glad you can use it. Why don’t you email your address to me privately. My email is [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you!
Your ORANGE fabrics made into Dutchman’s Puzzle blocks are sure to add zest to your quilt!
Thank you. That is what I am hoping. 🙂
There are so many fires now it doesn’t matter which way the wind is blowing, we’re going to get smoke from a fire in CA here in NV. It’s terrible what is happening to all the communities to our west. On a more positive note, it looks like you are well prepared to hunker down inside!
Hi Heather, it is amazing how far reaching the problem is. Smoke is reaching huge distances because of these massive fires. It is crazy. This morning it is clear and cooler which should help. We might even get a bit of rain. Crossing fingers for that! So glad you stopped by.
Take care and come again!
I was worried about you when I saw the fires so prominent in the news so I jumped on your blog last night and saw the you were safe – yay! But it was heart-breaking to read about the fires. 🙁
I haven’t been to the library since 2013, and I miss the smell and feel of the books. – glad you are enjoying yours. That quilting book sounds amazing. Thanks for the info on the Sue Miller book.
Love the orange!
Oh, I love the library! It is a favorite spot for me.
The fires are awful but the only thing that I have to deal with is the smokey air. We are slated for a bit of rain tomorrow which may clear the air a bit. Hope so anyway. Enjoy your week Linda.
I’ve been reading about the wildfires all summer on the news, and then it was getting very scary for another quilter; Audrey, who lives in Washington State and has the blog “Quitly Folk.” They were surrounded by fires and ready to evacuate for awhile there. Their town burned last year.
But in the last few days these California fires have grown so immensely and fiercely..every time I see the news on the Net it is worse and worse 🙁
Pretty fabrics and blocks and I had to laugh….you would probably like Downton Abbey if you watched it…maybe try an episode and hold on to that fabric! 🙂 Well, you might not but if you like BBC series and drama series, you might.
Glad you are safe although having to stay indoors. The California fires made it to the main news programmes here in the UK yesterday. Shame we can’t send over some of our downpours to you – the Atlantic has been providing us with plenty of rain recently!
Love your orange blocks – very seasonal!
The news sure does travel, right Allison? I wish you could share your weather with us too. Today we had a little sprinkle of rain and it smelled so good! Thanks for your concern!
Your Dutchman’s Puzzle blocks are gorgeous! Stay safe and inside as much as possible.
Thank you for your concern Cathy. I appreciate it. Today the air was a bit clearer which was a welcome relief!
Take care and so glad you stopped by!
Oh, Bernie, I hope the fires don’t come anywhere near you and that you all stay safe. I keep looking at the map just to be sure. Your Dutchman’s Puzzle blocks look fabulous. Such pretty fabrics!
Thank you Mari, for your concern. It is pretty crazy out here. Yesterday was much better – cooler temps and less wind. Today we might even get a bit of rain. So excited for that!!
I love the orange blocks. Hoping to get that row done this week. Etsy sewing took priority the past two days so I had to set the others aside – and I only need to make two more. 🙂 It is nuts how fast this year has gone by and that nine rows are nearly complete. I am already thinking about how to sash the rows (they definitely need sashing since the squares aren’t quite “exact” in sizing.)
Hope all is well with you and the new job.
Love your blocks. Beautiful orange prints. Please be safe, dear.
Orange does add a great splash of happy to quilts. Your blocks turned out lovely.