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Filming for The Quilt Show

One thing I never expected to happen in my life:

  • film an episode of The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.

But that’s exactly what I did on Saturday afternoon.

The craziness began at Quilt Market in the spring when Alex came by the Shannon Fabrics booth, excited to share the Wyatt Wolf quilt with her audience. I’d made it with a bunch of Luxe Cuddle, Cuddle Suede and Kona Cotton –which is kinda crazy in and of itself– and used a paper piecing pattern from Violet Craft to do it.  She invited me to come on the show and I did.

We talked about the Wolf Abstractions quilt, as well as the Ascension quilt I’d made with Hawke, a denim quilt I’ve been working on as a commission and the Freewheelin’ Single Girl quilt I made for myself.  All include fabrics/materials that are atypical in quilting: plush fabrics, denim, knits, used clothing, silver lame and more.

I have watched a dozen or so episodes of the show and have always enjoyed it, but I wasn’t expecting the level of production or kindness that I got.  Ricky is incredibly talented and his quilts left my mouth gaping. Alex is a pro at making people comfortable. Everyone behind the scenes was happy to answer questions, fetch waters, help carry samples and be there when I needed them.

The best part, though, was that my daughter was able to join me and play personal assistant/cheerleader. It made the entire weekend so much better to have her there, supporting my work and calming my nerves.

The show will air sometime later this year or early 2019.

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Christmas in SoCal

This was a weird Christmas for us: the first when our trio wasn’t together and our first as a duo in Southern California. So we did something new and different.

I’m lucky enough to have my sister live just down the street, so on Christmas Eve, we went to her (bigger and nicer) home and made goodies together. I used my trusty old Good Housekeeping cookbook for the ginger snaps and the recipe Grandma Coates used every Christmas to make butterhorns. 20131227-194426.jpg

Both batches of Butterhorns turned out just beautifully and everyone who tasted them agreed that they tasted delicious. I don’t know, personally, because they are full of all sorts of gluten. I’d like to think that Grandma would be proud to have her Christmas tradition continue. 20131227-194441.jpg

But then there were the gingersnaps. The recipe called for shortening and unfortunately we only had butter. No one really wanted to try going to the store at 8pm on Christmas Eve, so we stuck with the butter. Probably not the best decision I’ve ever made. 20131227-194500.jpgI hear they tasted fine, but with no snap at all and almost the entire sheet made up one massive cookie. Sorry, folks, no gingersnaps this year.

Meanwhile my sister made truffles from my own recipe I’d given her years ago and while the ganache cooled, we watched A Christmas Story. Again. Yet I still haven’t read the book like I swear I will each time we watch it. Maybe I’ll get to it this year? Doubtful, but you never know!

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Traditionally onChristmas Eve we go out to my parents’ house and sleep over, but considering they’re in Oregon, the daughter and I just went home after the movie and wrapped a few last minute presents before heading to bed. Strange, yet not too bad.

We’d agreed to let my sister sleep in, but by 8:30 a.m.she was texting me to say her kids were more than ready to go, so we scrambled over there, opened gifts and saved the best for last.

A few weeks ago, I came up with what I thought would be the perfect gift for my daughter who likes to complain how we have no pictures or videos of her (in truth, she’s the second kid and I was newly divorced…). In fact, we have lots of photos of her, but not with me here in CA. I wasn’t even sure where they were when I called my son to see if he could help out. I wanted to put together a photo book of her life so far, but was swamped–could he do it for me? He didn’t even pause before giving me a resounding Yes! and he even had the big ol’ box of photos at his house. It was like a little Christmas miracle.

Over the next two weeks, he got more than a hundred photos scanned and designed the photo book for her, getting input from me via chat, text messages and phone calls during my commute. It was all very secretive and it totally worked.

Christmas morning came and I called my son via FaceTime so he could see as she opened the present, a thousand miles away from him. And he took photos to record the moment (while I took a screenshot).

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Seriously, it was the best Christmas I’ve had in a while thanks to her being happy with the gift and the joy of technology bring us together in new and different ways. I miss that kid, but it was really fabulous getting to see him (even if it was on a little screen!).

We finished up the morning by making yet another mess in the kitchen (which my BIL was so kind to just keep cleaning up after us) and made homemade marshmallows using  the delicious Martha Stewart recipe. I’ve made this a few times, but don’t attempt it unless you have a KitchenAid mixer. A hand mixer will never go fast enough and 15 minutes on high would kill the motor anyway. Believe me, I’ve tried. But luckily my sister has a KitchenAid, so we put it to work.

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After finishing the marshmallows and divvying up the goodies, we grabbed one pic of all of us and parted ways, with the daughter and I heading out to the desert to visit a friend, and my sister’s family heading to the in-laws. And no, I have no idea why the little one has to look so stone-faced in every single photo I ever take of him. He really is a pretty happy kid, I swear! 20131227-194617.jpg

One of my best buddies from Portland grew up in this neck of the woods and while she’s always headed down “to the desert” for Christmas with her family, it wasn’t until we got out there to visit her this time that I realized quite what she was talking about.

We drove into Lancaster area just as the sun was setting behind us creating an ombre effect in the sky that I really couldn’t catch on camera, but it was mind-blowing. Part of me wanted to stop the car and just stare at all that sky, but the part that wanted to get out to her parents’ house before it was pitch-black won out and we kept on driving.

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We wasted away the night chatting, playing games, having some dinner and basically just interrupting their family time, but the next morning (after a breakfast of donuts they bought special for my daughter–so nice!) we headed out for some desert tourism. 20131227-195506.jpgPretty much, it all looks the same. Mile after desolate mile.

But I found the Joshua Trees enchanting. When we’d driven in at nigh, we thought they were cactus and were super excited to see them. Turns out they are a tree instead and a rare one at that. There are all sorts of laws and permit-getting that surround the trees growing and being cut down (a huge no-no) because they survive in only a couple places and take pretty much forever to grow that big.

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This is actually in Jaymee’s cousin’s front yard. I was cruel and joked about the lovely landscaping, but seriously, you actually can’t really grow stuff here. You could lay out sod (and she says they’re considering it) but the cost of water to keep it would be ridiculous and besides, grass wasn’t made to grow in the desert. (Frankly, I’m not sure people were either!)

We learned in the backyard that tumbleweed is a real thing and sharp. I only saw one actually tumbling down the road, but there were stories tossed around of tumbleweeds as tall as a man, blocking traffic and frequently causing trouble in the area. After seeing the odd plants, I tend to believe the stories. 20131227-194758.jpg

We visited a couple of movie sets, including this one (Club Ed). It was made for a Dennis Hopper movie, but continues to be used for all sorts of things including something to do with Kim Kardashian. Supposedly she was there just last week, but since it was Boxing Day, the place was empty except for the security guy who just stared menacingly at us as we tromped around taking photos.

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The whole place looked like something right out of the first season of Breaking Bad with meth lab trailers and abandoned houses. (But really, can you believe how blue that sky is?!)20131227-194841.jpg

We drove a little further to take a look around the 4 Aces movie set which was featured in the odd little movie, Rubber, and numerous music videos, commercials and films. We grabbed a quick selfie before the security guard there made us leave and took aim for the small town of Little Rock and the infamous Charlie Brown’s Farm.

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There we found all sorts of new creations, including deep-fried Twinkies, Mounds bars, Snickers, and pickles. And they clearly need some lessons on being couth because that ad for the rice bowls makes me more than a tad uncomfortable. Yikes. 20131227-194928.jpg

They did have the most delicious Mango smoothie ever though, so that made me like them a little bit. And someone knew what her hat meant which made us both happy after the fellow at the counter asked her if she liked playing golf. 20131227-194940.jpg

Honestly, Charlie Brown’s Farm was one of the stranger places I’ve been to stateside with room upon room of oddities. We bought little matte marbles and a Native America-style painted wolf, alongside chili-cheese fries and the mango smoothie. They offered plenty more, but I think the doll rooms took the cake as the oddest part of the place. 20131227-194956.jpg

And this little guy one as the creepiest doll I have ever seen or ever hope to see. I just keep wondering Why? Who? WTF?20131227-195005.jpg

We didn’t stick around long, eating our lunch outside under the watchful eye of these concrete dinosaurs and flirting tigers. If you look closely to the left of the dino, you’ll see a pterodactyl swooping in, as well. Yeah, it was a weird place.20131227-195025.jpg

But weird is often memorable and I’m pretty sure this trip out to the desert is gonna stick with us for a while. In fact, we’re already planning to head back out to see Vasquez Rocks.

 

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Getting to Cali Day #1

With three days to make it from Portland, Oregon to Los Angeles, California, I decided to take the long route. All the guys, friend and family alike, thought I should take I-5 all the way to L.A., but the girls all agreed: take the pretty route.

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The daughter and I headed west from my parents’ house, driving along until we hit Lincoln City. We had to stock up on some sweets for the ride, including  a bit of taffy (but not the butter flavor–ew!) and sea foam, my very favorite.

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The clouds rolled in even more once we headed south toward Newport and stayed with us for the rest of the day. 20130630-121410.jpg

 

I love road trips and always want to stop and take pictures, but usually I’m not the one in control. This time I was in the driver’s seat, literally, and stopped whenever it suited me. See a funky old building? Pull over. 20130630-121430.jpg

 

Amazed at the heavy fog? Take a picture. Catch s20130630-121442.jpg

 

Catch sight of a dinosaur peeking out from the fog?! Stop and take a slew of pics! (This was seriously the coolest thing we saw along the way and you, too, can visit if you head down U.S. 101: Oregon Prehistoric Gardens near Gold Beach, Oregon.)20130630-121457.jpg

 

We didn’t make it much further that night. The fog was heavy, the windows were making it hard to see and my contacts were bugging my eyes. With a quick search through Yelp, we found a hotel in Brookings and crashed for the night…just the two of us on an adventure.

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Free to Be

Sometimes you just need a day where you are free to be and do whatever makes you happy.

With the daughter out of town (in Hawai’i, to be specific), I had a child-free weekend, a rarity indeed, and I wanted to make the most of it. I’d planned to spend Friday night and all day Sunday sewing, then a day-trip with my friend on Saturday. Well, as usual, plans went awry and both sewing days had to be cancelled (thank you, crappy little car o’ mine).

Despite me giving him the freedom to bail on poor little me, plans with my buddy Prado were kept and not only was he willing to take me out of the city, he also made sure the day was spent without the slightest worry about food, gas or entertainment. He is pretty stellar like that.

With an early start, he asked which way I wanted to go and, like my pioneer ancestors, I said “Westward, please.”

After a slight diversion onto I-5, we headed out on Hwy. 26 toward the Oregon coast, stopping near the top of the Coast range to admire the amazing view.  And the snow!
Snow on the Cascade Range
I stomped around in the snow for a bit and smiled for the first time in days. Blue skies, snow, podcasts and a good friend made everything seem alright again.
Teresa Coates_happy and cold
We drove onward and he gave me the choice: Tillamook or Cannon Beach. As much as I love pretty much anything the company Tillamook makes (cheese! yogurt! ice cream!), I’ve been to their hometown plenty of times. And somehow, despite having lived in Oregon for 36 years now, I don’t remember ever having been to Cannon Beach.

Now I understand why people ooh and ahh over the place. The beach is flat; the rock formations are awesome and, though I’m sure it’s not the norm, the skies were blue and the wind wasn’t gusting. It was astonishingly beautiful and I lost it briefly as I stood taking it all in. {wipes happy tears away}
Cannon Beach in Oregon

We walked around and I admired the beach debris. I have no idea why I like it because honestly it always stinks. But I do.
beach debris at Oregon coast
After basking in the sun and Prado taking lots of sand/water/rocks/logs pics, we headed north  along 101 toward Astoria.

Along the way, I noticed a sign for Fort Stevens and was adamant that we go. It had been Ft. Stevens that I’d spent a week camping with my best friend in middle school, biking the trails for hours. I have fond memories of the place and I really (really) wanted Prado to see the crazy bunkers and the shipwreck. It’s the Peter Iredale, stuck into the sand there more than a hundred years ago. It really is beautiful in its destruction.
Peter Iredale shipwreck at Fort Stevens
We drove on to Battery Russell, built to fight off the Japanese attacks during WWII. It’s incredibly creepy and well worth the visit, but one of these times I will have to go with a guidebook. With no signage it’s just an austere cement shell. Even so, he got some pretty awesome shots of the place and I took pics of him taking pics.
Prado taking photos at Battery Russell

It was mid-afternoon by the time we started heading back toward Portland and dinner time when we arrived. I didn’t want to cook. He didn’t want to cook. So what are we to do? Try out that new restaurant.

So Tabor Tavern isn’t really new, but it’s new to us (and it hasn’t been there that long).  Portlanders, if you haven’t been here yet, it’s high time you gave it a try. Everything was delicious, but the smoked/grilled tofu was out of this world.

Afterward we caught a showing of Skyfall, the newish Bond flick. Despite my aversion to ridiculous displays of testosterone, I actually quite enjoyed it. It kept my mind off my troubles and that was the whole point of the day.

Sometimes that’s all we really need–a good friend and just one day free from worry.

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Mother-Daughter Time in Sisters

The quilt show in Sisters, Oregon is one of those events I have long planned on attending, yet never managed to make happen. This year would have likely been another missed opportunity if it hadn’t fallen on my mom’s birthday. I’d promised we would go, but the month’s spending money was already gone. My dad was kind enough to fork over the cost of gas and we were able to carpool with another first-timer in her car. (I’m continually grateful for the generosity of others.)

We had a spontaneous sleepover at my folks’ house, then the three of us headed out at a quarter to seven. Nearly three hours later, we rolled into Sisters and saw this:

The 1300 quilts that had been submitted to the show hung everywhere. Inside. Outside. Off second story railings and from the catwalks below.

I realized how much I love white and bright quilts, yet I never make them. I think it’s time to remedy that. Maybe with a version of this string quilt with scraps?

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The Portland Modern Quilt Guild had a special exhibit area where we got to meet up with fellow area quilters. I ran into Monica and Elizabeth, then Scott from Gen Q and finally met Emily of Carolina Patchworks.

I saw a version of one of the few quilts that I absolutely must make: Denyse Schmidt’s Single Girl quilt.

All in all, we had a marvelous time, strolling among the quilts for more than five hours. We left just after the thunder and rain started, a first in the show’s history.

If you haven’t had the chance to go, try to make it. I’ll be there next year. Maybe with a quilt to submit.

This year, though, was special. It was all in celebration of my mom’s 63rd birthday.