Category Archives: learning

Scrap Quilts

My first quilt class was with Ann Albertson. I saw her work in the San Diego magazine and thought it was beautiful.  She rarely taught. Ten years after I started making quilts as baby gifts at Christmas I signed up for a class at the local quilt shop with Ann. It was a scrap quilt class. I walked in with an armload of fabrics. She took one look at me and said, “this is a scrap quilt class.” I set my fabric down on the table and said — “these will be scraps soon.”

The first class was explaining what a quilt was and what a scrap quilt was. She also gave many ideas for a scrappy quilt: Friendship Stars, Nine Patches, Puss in the Corner. I wanted to make a quilt with the pattern I had seen in the magazine. Challenging for someone who had never used templates.

The next class would be in two weeks. So I had time to make blocks. I fell in love with the picture of the quilt in the magazine. It was a Star within a Star block. I could only manage to make one quilt block a day. I had a toddler at home. I was very used to making freeform quilts and using templates was beyond me. Getting those points pointy was a struggle. I decided not to rush it because for the most part it was all new to me.

I decided to go back to the beginning and remember what beginning quilting was like. One major problem was lack of cotton fabrics for the longest time. Diana Leone wrote a Sampler Quilt book and I used polyester fabrics. Polyester fabrics were not stable and would shift when you sewed them.

The quilt above quilt is one I took it to a conference I took with Nancy Crow. It was machine pieced. And I machine and hand-quilted it.

To be continued



Garden: Stephanotis floribunda

This is a stephanotis Floribunda. It is an evergreen vine originally from Madagascar. It’s vines will twine 15 – 30 feet with good support. Right now it has the support of a naked, dead tree that didn’t survive our last drought and water rationing.  It blooms from Spring until late summer in Southern California. It thrives in a relatively rich soil, that is well-drained. This one grows in a five gallon pot and occasionally I will flood the pot with water. A large round container with an obelisk and a stand on wheels would work best and in the near future that might happen.  It also likes to be misted regularly.

stephanotis 003Stephanotis 001

This is an open bud. This is a stephanotis cluster not yet open. The flowers are used in bridal bouquets and in flower leis in Hawaii.

The fragrance is strong and intoxicating. Plants can also be grown indoors with the proper lighting. Southern California provides a good growing environment with ample sunshine and warmth.

stephanotis seed pod 002stephanotis seed pod - covered 004This is a Stephanotis seed pod. When I first saw it, over a year ago, I thought it might be a fruit. So I looked it up. I discovered it was a seed, a very large seed. The size of a kiwi. If your plant is agreeable enough to give you a seed pod be for-warned a seed pod takes a full year or more to develop and ripen. First it is a nice fresh green and it does look like a fruit. Toward the beginning of this summer it started turning yellow. Since I knew nothing about this and there didn’t seem to be any information I only hoped it was part of the process.

I’ve kept an eye on this one. I noticed recently it was cracking, but I left it alone hoping nothing was wrong. Then today I saw that it was brown and about 1/3 open.  Look closely. Notice what look like feathers. When it bursts open which it looks like it is ready to do — it will send these soft feather-like seeds to the four winds and there will be thousands of them. The brown bag will insulate it and contain the seeds. Only question I have is what will I do with a thousand stephanotis plants?

Garden: Pumpkins and Apple volunteers

Do you remember a few days ago I posted thisGarden pumpkins 001Well four days later I pulled back th black plastic and this is what I found.pumpkin starts 003 The Jack-o-Lanterns and the Big Max have sprouted. I admit I have not had a lot of luck in the past with pumpkins. I have had some very nice ones in the compost pile but not that I have intentionally grown.

A few feet away I found thisvolunteer apple 005 at first I thought it was a weed, albeit a very healthy weed. But on the other side of the fence is thisapple tree 006which leads me to believe what I have is an Apple Tree start, maybe a volunteer, of course it is a volunteer because I didn’t plant it there. This will not remain it’s home either because there is no room for a tree there unless I espalier it to the fence — which is a thought.

Garden: Transplants

garden expanded 003I expanded the garden a gain — little by little it grows. I want it to be bigger yet I want it to be manageable.  I had a little section of about 18″ x 36″ next to the existing strawberries. I had approximately 36 plants to begin with. They send runners and spread quickly. They haven’t done that this year. I think I have a rabbit, I know I have skunks and raccoons.

So I filled the area with approximately 2 Cu. feet of soil, the equivalent of one bag of soil. I transplanted three two year old strawberry plants into the space. They seem quite happy.

I moved a tomato plant that wasn’t doing very well, to a different location which left an open spot. I had a pot of yellow zinnias that were doing well in the pot but were getting crowded so I moved them to the vacancy left from the tomato.

garden zinnias 001That left what I think is a pumpkin. I think it is a pumpkin — it is a volunteer. I threw a bunch of seeds into a pot last year and this year after it rained something started growing. I went to the gardening center and bought a metal supportgarden pumpkins 005to stake it up. I wanted something simple like bamboo sticks. I found bamboo in 5 foot long, and 8 foot long for $45+. I was thinking of something considerably strawberries 002the strawberries look a little chewed and there is a half eaten strawberry hanging from one of the little stems. The little critters have to eat too. I am surprised they have left the Blackberries alone. Maybe they don’t like those aggressive thorns.

Garden Color

Garden pansy 010Butterfly bush 009Pansies have such bright open faces. I wanted Johnny Jump-up because I have such fond memories of them. One of my first memories of working in the garden was planting Johnny Jump-ups with my mother when I was about 4 or 5.  There is always work to be done and plants to be planted.

I discovered that something is eating my pansies and only certain tomatoes. Not the tomato but the leaves of the tomato on the new grown plants. We found a rabbit the other day. If the dog finds it he will not be visiting long. I found little padded places in the strawberries again. I moved and transplanted one of the tomatoes that looked like it was being chewed on, not by bugs though, it is something bigger.

I may be off to the nursery tomorrow to buy some marigolds to plant around the perimeter of the garden. It may help.