Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Just wanted to pop in to wish everyone a Happy Halloween :- )

This is a wonderful ceramic tray I treated myself to this year. It was made by Sharon Bloom.

And here's a little trick I pulled off a couple of years ago:

Some detail shots in case the picture above doesn't get bigger when you click on it...

The skull and worm were a preprinted patch. I sequined the worm and beaded his hat. I beaded over the scroll print too...

I used tulle over the ghost images to give them a more ethereal appearance... added some tombstone charms, more sequins, star and spider beads...

It was a fun little quilt to make. I hope your Halloween is just as much fun for you!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Like My New Hat?

Look what my son made for me!

I provided the fabrics, of course, but he did the sewing. This is more 'me' than the ones available in the stores ;- )

I'm seriously thinking of dressing up the brim with feathers or adding a beaded hatband or something. Considering the lateness of the hour I may end up wearing it as-is this year. That gives me 365 days to come up with just the right embellishments for next year.

Once again I'm surprised that it's been so long since my last post. What have I been doing? Hmm... I finished the second Gizzy Quilt I was working on. Guess I forgot to photograph it in its finished state. Oops. When I realized that the auction was this weekend, not next, I sort of panicked. I delivered the quilts and then had to spend the rest of the day recovering. Then there was the whole day auditioning hat fabrics, and here we are!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Let the Haunting Begin...

Now I have a quilt I can hide under! Woohoo! The Halloween quilt is finished and it's not even Halloween yet. Hurray for me!

Between applying the binding to the Halloween quilt and hand sewing it down I pulled fabrics for a second Gizzy Quilt to donate to the upcoming fundraising auction for our local humane society. Once again I focused on some of my older prints that need to be moved out of here. This top is cohesive and balanced, but I find it singularly uninspiring. I think that may have to do with the colors as well as the prints themselves.

I prefer bright, pure hues and wild prints. These are darker colors, and the prints are very traditional, conservative. People in this part of the country wear darker colors - all year round - so I'm hoping the quilt will appeal to most of the audience even if it isn't something that rocks my boat. What I'd really like to make next is something wild and colorful. I just haven't figured out what that's going to be. I still have to get this little job quilted and bound, and the Sumptuous Surfaces class with Sharon Boggon begins on Tuesday. I expect that will absorb a lot of my time and energy for a while. It's not going to be very colorful either, at least not in the beginning. She has us working in a monochromatic color scheme for our first project. I may have to make some more liberated stars, in newer prints and brighter colors, whether I have a quilt in mind for them or not!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Shoo Fly Lap Quilt

I received the registration number for my little quilt for the Priority Hope challenge. It's now packed up, waiting to go to the post office :- )

While I was waiting for the registration number I sewed up those extra Shoo Fly blocks to make the Shoo Fly UFO big enough to be used as a lap quilt by a small woman. I had an idea about how I would incorporate them into a border for the quilt... unfortunately, the border fabrics I had chosen didn't work out the way I thought they would. So what else is new?! I dug around in my stash and came up with other options. This is what I ended up with:

I'm not thrilled with the fact that the new outer border sort of fades away but I figure the part that MIL originally saw and enjoyed will be the part that shows up on her lap anyhow. I found a beautiful dark red print to use for the binding, and I think that pulls everything back together into a cohesive whole.
(You may be able to click on the picture above to see it in greater detail.
The one below probably won't work.)

This stripe that I used in the outer border turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I found I had a co-ordinating print in a large enough piece to use for the back!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Priority Hope Challenge Quilt

I finished up my little quilt for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative yesterday. Now I'm just waiting for its' registration number before I ship it off - woohoo!

Once I had that done I pulled out a UFO from a decade or more ago:

My intention is to turn it into a lap quilt for my mother-in-law. I think it became a UFO because I didn't know what to do with it back in the day. The wide border makes it look done but it didn't seem big enough to be useful (this was before I knew about quilts for premature babies) and it wasn't anything I wanted to hang on a wall at the time. But when I showed it to my MIL back then she really liked it. I remembered it while I was hand quilting the Priority Hope quiltlet. So I got it out, trimmed the border down a bit, and considered my options. I decided to add one more giant border, using some more Shoo Fly blocks. I've cut patches for nine blocks and plan to sew them up today. We'll see what happens after that :- )

Now let's see if I can move the text around, leaving the pictures where they are, so you can click on them to make them bigger...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative

A few posts ago I showed you the focal patch I was planning to use for my contribution to Tonya's Priority Hope Challenge. Yesterday I was finally able to take up needle and thread (or sewing machine in this case) and get some work done. Hurray!

In case you hadn't noticed, I don't enjoy not being productive in one way or another. If I'm not working on something, somehow, I am not a happy camper. And when my body or the changing seasons or other factors out of my control interfere with my ability to make things... well, it's not pretty, as evidenced by the last week.

Anywhoo, I got out some additional prints and free-pieced a 3 inch heart that I subsequently turned into a flower head. Two sizes of rick rack became the stem for the flower, and sequin hearts became leaves.

I embellished the centers of the flowers in the focal print with some tee-tiny ribbon yo-yos and added a few button flowers as well. Used up a skein of black embroidery floss quilting the background (which you may or may not be able to see in the picture). I think I may have one more embellishment to put on before I back and bind it.

Nearly all of the other quilts that have been made as part of this challenge have featured Tonya's free-pieced word 'Hope.' What can I say? I just had to do my own thing. I hope someone out there appreciates my folk art style and will bid on and buy the quilt. It does have the bird image Tonya asked for, even if you don't notice it at first. (Although it shows up really well in these pictures!) I'm playing with titles that incorporate the word hope too.

This quilt will be dedicated to my mother-in-law. She loved music and gardening along with a host of other activities. Alzheimer's has taken away nearly everything except her love of music at this point. I'm told she sits in her chair and directs music only she can hear. The irony of her condition is that she and my father-in-law nursed two of their parents through Alzheimer's as well. {sigh}

On a technical note: Sharon of Indigo Threads discovered that there's a bug in Blogger that eliminates your ability to enlarge the pictures once the photo has been moved on the page. Apparently you can move text without affecting the photos, but not the pictures themselves. If that is the case, you guys are probably out of luck here. I tend to upload my photos first because they are the inspiration for my posts. Once I have the words written I rearrange the pictures as seems appropriate. I will, however, try to be more mindful when I have big quilts that you might want to get a closer look at.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Black Cover's Contest

I was checking out what some of the other TIF participants have been doing for this month's challenge when I came across Marie's blog. She has apparently been heavily involved in journaling lately and mentioned a contest she is hoping to win. Black Cover is a blog dedicated to finding the "perfect journal," a moleskine alternative. They had some Picadilly journals donated for their review that they will be giving away at the end of the month. Well, now Marie has some additional competition for those journals! If I win maybe I'll share ;- )

Thursday, October 16, 2008

October Take It Further Challenge

I still haven't picked up a needle and thread or fabric. Well, I did finally wash and press the new fabric for the binding of my Halloween quilt. I know from past experience that not sewing isn't healthy for me. On the up side, I feel better and less grouchy today than I have for the last several days. So maybe I'm on my way back to normal. I suspect there have been several factors at work this time around, not simply chemical exposure. We human beings are a complex lot!

In the spirit of getting back to normal let me share with you this month's Take It Further challenge: "... think about your textile work space. How do you feel about this space? What role does it play in your life?"

I live in my textile work space!

I usually only go out into the rest of the house to retrieve something or take care of some chore. Mostly because this room is one of the few that gets good natural light during the course of a day. The kitchen gets pretty good light too, but that's the last place I want to spend my time...

My blessed husband understands and supports my need to create. He readily agreed to let me have the master bedroom of this house for my studio. So I have a fair amount of space (or had, before I filled it up with books and fabric and work surfaces!) with the bathroom and laundry facilities just a few steps away. The only thing I might change, given the opportunity, would be to add even more square footage. However, I know what it's like to have only a corner of a room for your textile pursuits, and to have to put everything away between work sessions. I've had to do that too. Not Fun.

My studio space is my refuge, my sanctuary. Even when I don't sew a stitch I spend my time surrounded by the tools and materials of my trade. It comforts me, inspires me, makes me feel secure. This room keeps me alive. Not quite sure yet how I'm going to portray this but at least now I'm thinking about it :- )

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Home Again, Home Again

Here's the 'after' shot of my new flower bed:

Once I had the whole corner churned up and my plants set out in their prospective places I decided to also move one of the salvias to balance the whole composition. We've had cooler temperatures and rain since the plants went in. Today is sunny again and they look like they've overcome their transplant shock nicely. I can't tell you how happy it made me to complete this little project! Of course the last day I worked on it was Saturday, and neighbors were out mowing their yards, etc. In the end I had to pay a price for being outside without my mask on but it was worth it. And I've been other places since then where I've suffered minor exposures as well so no sewing has happened yet.

I picked up the newest issue of Quilter's Home yesterday. I buy it at a store rather than subscribing so I can get a copy that has been off-gassing in a public space rather than shipped straight from the printer to my home in a plastic bag. I only looked through it, reading just a few pages before going to bed last night, but I woke up in the middle of the night with quilts on my mind. I had to turn on my bedside flashlight to make some notes in my travel journal before I could even try to get back to sleep. It wasn't the direct result of anything I'd seen in the magazine but something must have clicked. All I need now is the energy to act on one or more of those ideas...

One of the reasons I like Quilter's Home so much is expressed perfectly by one of the letters to the editor in this issue. The writer is responding to comments by other readers who complained that there wasn't more "quilting" content in the magazine. Chris Clark of Muscatine, Iowa says, "This is not a quilting magazine; it is a quilter's magazine. It is not a magazine about quilting; it is a magazine for quilters and things that interest them, whatever that may be." This magazine provides for me the sort of contact or interaction with other quilters that I don't get anymore because I can't (won't) attend quilt guild meetings. I find quilt lists or message boards on the internet overwhelming. Blog hopping is how I get my fix for "Show and Tell." Quilter's Home fills in other gaps. I have to say I was relieved that this November/December issue was not filled with Christmas/winter holiday quilt projects. And I am looking forward to learning a little about text messages ;- )

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Different Kind of Creativity

I didn't think to take a before picture, and I'm not ready to give you an after shot, but this is what I've been working on for the last few days:

This whole corner was filled with a heather. Which was pretty, in its own way, but the house is surrounded by shrubs and evergreens that provide green; I want color! On the left in the picture are two salvias I put in before I attacked the heather. Now that the heather is gone I have a couple of Black-Eyed Susans and some Cranesbill to put in the empty space. I also have ranunculus tubers to put in. It's not going to look full and pretty until next summer but I may be able to find some other little plants to fluff it up, herbs or something. Whatever it is, it needs to be sturdy and perennial. No fussy plants for me!

I did manage to do a little sewing inbetween gardening sessions. I was gifted this pieced panel featuring Miss M's current favorite, Dora the Explorer.

Miss M does not need another quilt so I took off a couple rows of squares, added some fabric to get the necessary width, and turned it into a pillowcase. The patches I took off were resewn to create the cuff for the pillowcase. Kind of a fun challenge.

Speaking of challenges, I want to participate in Tonya's Priority Hope Challenge for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. So far this is all I have, a patch roughly 4" x 6" on an 8.5" x 11" piece of batting. Ideas are percolating however!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What To Do Next?

Today I finished tying my Halloween quilt. I'm waiting for binding fabric to arrive from Paducah, Kentucky. Couldn't find any black Moda marble around here anywhere! Of course I didn't just buy black... If I remember correctly there's also some blue, purple, maybe a red or pink... and a couple of pieces that are not marble prints at all. (Don't tell me you're surprised by this revelation.)

I also gave away the crazy baby quilt today. I'll hold onto the Gizzy Quilt for a while longer; I may make a second one to donate. They're so fast! It's really very gratifying.

So with three quilts essentially done I'm left with this months' Take It Further Challenge to contemplate (that will be another post another day), two journal quilts I could embellish... the wonky heart quilt to hand stitch (why can I not think of that as hand quilting?!)... and any number of other old UFO's I could tackle. I seem to be in a machine piecing mood rather than an embellishing mood at the moment. At the end of the month I'll be starting another of Sharon Boggon's online classes through The class is Sumptuous Surfaces. That will force me back into the handwork! But it also provides a sort of deadline for any machine-made quilts I want to get done. So, what will I tackle next?


Maybe I'll make a chart of all the potential projects, pin it up, and throw a dart.

Friday, October 3, 2008

That Crazy Baby Quilt

So here it is, all done! There are things I would do differently if I were to make it over again but it's a happy quilt and that's the most important thing in my book.

I just love these frogs in the corners of the border:

Okay, now I'm confused about why the sizes of these photos have turned out the way they did. And the Gizzy Quilt picture didn't enlarge when I clicked on it. Guess I'm still not doing something right...

Looks like we're in for a busy weekend here in the Nest. Lots of family coming home to roost. It will be fun but I expect it will also be exhausting!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What A Day!

I can hardly believe it - I finished two quilts today!

I should back up a bit and let you know that I started feeling better yesterday. Yee haw! I got out the baby crazy quilt (about half way down in this post) and finally quilted it. I also went out and bought binding fabric for it; nothing in my stash would work. (That's pretty amazing when you see the extent of my stash.) I washed the fabric and made the binding before I went to bed and then I applied it to the quilt this morning. That was enough to get me in the mood, so I quilted the Gizzy quilt for the Humane Society auction in November, made a binding for it and put that binding on as well. Still had time and energy left to spare (and the Vice Presidential debate to listen to) so I started sewing the bindings down. Before I knew it I had both quilts DONE!!! I can show you the Gizzy quilt but it was too dark to get a picture of the crazy quilt in its' finished state. Rest assured that I will!

I downloaded Picasa and have run this picture of the Gizzy quilt through it. We'll see if it enlarges the way it's supposed to. (I'm still not confident in my use of the program. There's always an adjustment period.) I've also used the 'large' setting when uploading the photo onto my blog. Just following in my mentor's footsteps ;- )