Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekend Workings while Wallowing in the Wasteland

We had our second - well, officially, second - quilt-in of the year.  (remember we snuck one in during spring  break so that one doesn't officially count) I had a lot to work on this time.  Not that I got everything done, but there was quite a bit that got finished on Thursday night.  I made the peach color challenge bits and pieces to go toward putting that quilt together.  I may have changed my mind once again on how I want that quilt to go - I am thinking about putting the blocks on point with some sashing of made fabric.  That would be really beautiful, but let me get a few more weeks behind me before I make that final decision.  That is why I am just making the parts and not putting them together yet. 

Since the 25th was during this week, I also got the new Blogger's Block of the Month pattern and made my two blocks for that quilt.  I am really enjoying my process for making these blocks and can't wait until the 25th of May for the next installment.  I think we are up to block 8 in that series. 

The next thing I worked on was mentioned in one of my recent postings - the Modern 8 Create challenge for April - at least I think it's for April, it could be for May. Taking a picture of something normal around your house and then distorting it or zeroing in on something to make it not what it was. I first took a picture of my modern picture frame.

 I focused in on the dots and tried to make them elongate and the more I played with it, the more I didn't really like that idea.  So, I took a picture of my hot pink wire shelving.

While that is a fun piece in my office, it would be totally boring for me to replicate as a quilt.  Doable, but boring!  So, the next item that caught my eye, was the cool flowers on my Puff's tissue box.  Hmm, that might be fun.  Click.

Interesting.  I especially like the laughing pig in the pyramid shelving caught in the edge of that picture, but that is not what I want to work on right now.  Okay, let's put this in paint and AHHHGGG - totally frustrating!  I can't make it do anything I want it to do.  What if I put it in a word document?  Yes, that is the trick.  Now I can stretch it and squish it and totally distort the picture.  Just what I wanted.  OOPS.  The picture below isn't the finished saved version.  It is a blown up version, but not a stretched and distorted one.  Let me go on a hunt and find that one.  Just a second.

Okay, it won't let me pull it over to here without a major headache so just pretend that I did and below is the quilt I am making based on that picture.  I haven't decided on the borders yet, but this is a start.  It has been a lot of fun and everyone at Bee was interested in what I was making.  Maybe we will have a few more making an art quilt based on an everyday picture.  We will just have to wait and see. 

I also found this pear pincushion pattern out in blogger land and as soon as I find the place, I will link up so you can make one, also.  I thought the pattern was a bit on the slender/small side so I fattened it up some and now, I am not sure - even though this is totally cute, I am not sure if the slender one might have been better.  I do know that it would have been harder to sew together on my machine - not impossible - just a little tougher.  I might have to make the apple pin cushion (from the same person) using that small 1 1/4" X 3" pattern just to see if I like it.  By the way, the original pear was only 1 1/8" X 3 1/2" with dips and curves down to 1/8" at the smallest width.  (that is without the seam allowance - not to scare anyone)  I might have to sew another one by hand.  Oh, one other thing, actually two other things.  The stem is a piece of brown strip - about 1" wide and 10" long rolled tightly and then the end tucked back on itself and hand stitched down.  Then I took two pieces of fabric and fused them wrong sides together and cut out a leaf shape.  I stitched all that to the top by hand.  The stem is a little tricky, but I got it to stay on there really well.  If you try it and can't figure out how to attach the stem, e-mail me and I will give you my technique. 

My friend Kathy made these adorable owl pin cushions - one is for her Stocking swap box!!  I may have to swipe her pattern and make me a few, also.  They are adorable and I don't know if you can see the middle one or not.  According to our friend, Gerrie, he has a massive headache. 

Thank goodness his headache was all gone by the time he left for home! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Stocking Swap for April

The April Stocking swap is a pin cushion and a package of your favorite pins.  Have you started on your pin cushion yet?  I made one the other day, but didn't get a picture downloaded of it, so here is one I made earlier this year.  It is from a pattern on Bari J's blog.  It's a bit tricky, but turns out beautifully.  The pins that I have in there are to hold the seam shut so I can sew it up by hand, which I have already done, but don't have a picture of that either.  What a slacker I am. 

Wait, hold the phone, I found the other picture!!  NOT A SLACKER after all.  LOL!    The one below is from a pattern my friend Molly taught me one day at a quilt in.  I have made four of these and they are fun and easy - really - but I think I like them better with a patchwork of fabric instead of just one fabric on top an bottom.  I am going to make a few more of these because they are so much fun and a little bit addictive. 
Now that I have some time on my hands, I will scour the internet for other pin cushion patterns.  What have you come up with?  Have you even made your pin cushion yet?  Not much time left in April and we are 1/3 the way through the swap challenge.  (still not too late for others to join in if you want)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

No Agenda Saturday

This weekend has been wonderful.  It's the first Saturday in a long, long time that I didn't have anything particular to do.  I didn't have a deadline or somewhere I had to be or anything specific on my agenda.  I had no agenda!!  It has been a wonderfully relaxing weekend.  Yesterday, I got up (okay, couldn't sleep in much - got up at 7:30) Decided I wanted a coke (don't have any soft drinks in the house) so I went to my favorite Stripes and got me my favorite mixed drink - coke and diet coke mixed in one cup.  Their breakfast platter was calling to me so I purchased one along with a newspaper.  I can't tell you how long it has been since I have purchased a newspaper because I don't even remember when it was, it was that long ago.  (okay, maybe a month ago)  I quickly looked through - not much in our paper - and looked to see if there were any estate sales that day.  Sure enough there was one.  So, taking my breakfast and my coke, I set off to go to the estate sale.  Got there in plenty of time to sit and enjoy my breakfast in the car, with the windows down and the cool morning breeze!  It was delightful. 

The last estate sale I attended, I purchased three metal file boxes that I plan on re-painting (have finished one) and when I was going through the big one I found $80.  That's right, eighty dollars!!  I think I paid one dollar for that box.  I also found some really old postcards that I need to put on e-bay.  They were all wrapped up in plastic so they are in really excellent condition and they have the one cent postage marking on them.  It will be cool to find out if they are worth anything.  So, my $79 profit from that box may grow a bit.  However, I usually go to estate sales to see if there is anything to add to my collection of cut and pressed glass serving pieces.  I picked up three bowls for a total of $5.41.  Not a bad haul! 

I finally went by Hobby Lobby and got me a new cutting mat along with some Kona Espresso fabric and a few remnant fabrics on clearance.  My intention was to work on some new projects.  Instead, I got on the computer and played a few games and answered some e-mail and tired myself out!  Just in time for a long, long nap!!  that is what these Saturday's are for, aren't they?  Napping??  I needed it and really deserved it.  Needless to say, since most of you know me, I didn't get into the studio (sewing room) until later that night.  Here are some things I worked on last night. 

My quilt group is doing a round robin and I added my border to Gerrie's quilt top.  I don't have picture of how the top looked before I got it. Wait, I will be back.  I am going to try to crop it and see if I can show you what it looked like before I added my border.  Be right back . . . . . .

Here is what it looked like when I got it.  The center star was made by Gerrie.  Liz put it on point by adding the strips around the star along with the orange, turquoise and black/brown fabric.  The next border is to be triangles.  I drew out some flying geese on the sides and thought that would work to continue the black/brown fabric making it look like a box.  Then I couldn't decide what else to do, so I used the orange again along with a similar background batik - there wasn't enough of the original fabric in her box to use the same background batik and here is what it looks like now . . . . . .oops, it replaced the original picture with this cropped one, just a second, while I download the original off the camera again .  . . . . . . .

I really like how the orange looks like boxes on point with turquoise squares inside.  This is looking really great!  I can't wait until Saturday to see what everyone else did with their triangles.  And, to see how my little quilt is progressing! 

The next thing I worked on was the color challenge from 15 Minutes Play.  Victoria is posting a new color each week for you to play with.  I was behind, since I haven't read many blogs lately and didn't know about this until Friday.  I chose to use my own favorite pattern for each of my blocks and use the Kona Espresso that I got at Hobby Lobby for my background.  Here is the Mauve block:

It is the only one all put together.  I may off set the rest of the blocks and have them share some of the squares so there isn't sooo much solid brown squares.  I may change my mind later and decide to finish each block and then put them on point with some sashing, but at this time I am leaving my options open.  Which totally explains why the next two blocks look so wonky.  They aren't totally sewn together, but you can get an idea about the colors.  Here is the Ochre:

And the Avocado:

I can't wait until Wednesday to get the next color to use in my blocks.  In the meantime, I will work on the April Challenge from the Modern 8 Create blog.  I am not one of the 8 members, but it is fun to see what they are doing and try my own version of their challenges at home.  (not that I have been able to do much before now, but I always enjoy seeing what they do)  Here are their rules from their website for the challenge.  Go by there and see what everyone is making.  It is a lot of fun.  I have only gotten to rule number one and am going to work on rule number two right now.

April Challenge “Rules”

1) Take a photograph. Take a picture of something around your house (inside or out makes no difference).
2) Crop it to pull out a section that is nearly unrecognizable as a “thing”.
3) Interpret this portion of your picture into a quilt.
4) Size is totally up to you. Make it a size you’ll love and want and use.
You can use any colors and fabrics you desire. You can embellish or not as you see fit. Use any technique that’s fun for you (or try a new one you’ve been wanting to play with).

This is a picture of a metal picture frame with magnetic dots that hold the picture to the metal.  I hardly ever have a picture on it since I love the art of it just the way it is.  So, let me go play with the cropping and I will be back. . . Once again, I am leaving you.  This is a great time to get yourself that cup of coffee or take a bathroom break.  We will meet back here in just a couple of minutes.  See you . . .

I don't know what I pushed, I played with all kinds of editing buttons, but the background looks really yellow now.  It's a wonderful medium gray in the original form.  Even though I like this, I am not sure that this is what I want to do.  I may have to play with this some more or possibly take another picture of something more normal.  That may be the trick to the entire thing. Using something so normal and then closing in on it to make it look different.  I am off to play with this some more.  No, I am not coming right back this time, so finish that cup of coffee and go check out the two blogs I linked to and try your hand at these two challenges. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Major Melt Down

I finally began taking things out of my car on Tuesday and this is what I found . . .

Yep, my new - purchased in September - cutting mat had melted and curled.  It's all my fault for being lazy and not getting it out when I got home Sunday.  Then leaving it in the car for two more days!  This mat is just the right size for my little table that sits between the ironing board and the sewing machine.  Now, I am going to have to use some birthday money and get me another one.  I downloaded a coupon from Hobby Lobby today so it won't cost as much as this one cost.  It was the first cutting board I have purchased in over 15 years.  The only reason I bought it was that I had totally worn out both sides of a similar size cutting board, just before leaving for quilt retreat at Ceta Canyon.  I purchased it at a quilt store on the way up there and paid a little extra, but it has been perfect the past 7 months.  until now. . . I tried straightening it out and it is a bit on the hard side like it has baked into this position.  Oh, well.   I guess I will go ahead and replace my other cutting board this week also.  It stays in my garage and is my traveling board.  I don't have a picture, but it has some major cracks on the sides where I roll it a bit to go into my rolling cart.  It also has some chunks out of it where those cracks have dried out and cracked some more.  It is also a little bit warped from traveling in the car so much.  Needless to say, I am hard on my cutting boards, but I usually put up with a little warping and cracks since I know it is all my fault they are the way they are. 

By the way, the reason I replaced my old small board?  The plastic/board was coming off onto my fabric.   I had cut so many times in the same place that I had little bitty grooves in the self-healing board.  I apparently was cutting the walls of the grooves off and creating ditches.  I turned it over and the same thing happened on the other side.  So, good bye to board number one and now, board number two.  : (

Festival 2012 - first posting

whew!!  Ogallala quilt festival is over and I am back to school life.  One of the reasons I have been absent from the blog world is due to the fact that I was teaching two classes and giving a lecture at the festival and I really needed to get some things finished or at least partly finished for those three things.  Here I am getting ready for the lecture portion of the weekend.  The quilt top folded up right in front of me is one of those things I needed to finish for this weekend.  I have a full picture of it, but not on this camera.  I will have to find my other camera and download it to the blog.  It is a basket quilt that I started in a Gwen Marston class. 

My first class of the festival was a lot of fun, but really, really small.  It only had one student!  Actually it had three, but two of them didn't show up.  They missed out!!  I went to my car and got my machine and my friend Liz and my mother - who came all the way from Arkansas to be my helper - thank Mom - were my students in this "Liberate Yourself" class based on two Gwen Marston classes I took last year.  It really felt like a normal quilt-in weekend.  Sitting around sewing up a storm.  It was great and here is what they finished.  Liz actually finished three blocks and I thought I got a picture of all three of them together, but I don't know what happened, I can't find it. 

Mom got a completed top finished, but she had a little help with me cutting and handing her pieces to sew together.  If I had been doing that for Liz, also, she would have completed her top, as well.  Now, it will be a great surprise to see the entire top or quilt finished. 

Day two - actually it's day three of the festival - brought my "Come Play with Me" quilt class and my mother played photographer while I show some of my projects.  Below is the first quadrant of my intuition quilt. 

After showing some of my work, I sat down at the sewing machine - with the camera pointed at the throat plate and shining it up on the wall so all could see - I started our first project.  My students followed along wonderfully!  Of course, I forgot to ask them if they would mind being a star on the blog, so I have had to crop some pictures to show you what they accomplished. 

They made snaggle toothed star blocks using "made" fabric the 15 minute play way.  This was all done within the first 45 minutes of class!!  They caught on fast and I think enjoyed pushing their box out just a little bit. 

The second thing we made in class was free form houses.  I didn't get pictures of those, but they were really cute.  Then I challenged them to use their houses and create and add to it.  Below, you can see what the lady with the yellow background star made.  I absolutely love her tree.  She also took an old block, cut it up and added it to two borders.  She was having a great time playing with her fabric and loved the liberation of being able to cut up old blocks. 

I thought I took a picture of the blue background star block and house.  I know that didn't make any sense, but just read my mind and it will be okay.  She really didn't like her finished star block so she cut it up and used it in the border around her house and it was wonderful.  She liked it better that way I think.  They all did a great job and I really had fun teaching my classes this year.  My students were wonderful and even though it was a stretch for a couple of them, they did an excellent job.  I can't wait to see what these ladies come up with next. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

just a little bit

I know, I really need to be posting more, but here it is already 11:30 and I neeeed to get into bed, but for you, (and me) I am posting.  Just a little bit.  Of course, once I start typing, I might just ramble and ramble.  Even though I haven't been on here posting, I have been busy.  Well, just a little bit.  The Ogallala Festival is coming up and I am teaching two classes and giving a lecture.  Plus, my friend Kathy and I promised ourselves that if we purchased the challenge fabric packets this year (we were definitely NOT going to do that - but you know, the fabric spoke to me and so I force Kathy to purchase a packet) anyway, if we purchased the packet, we would for sure, for sure enter a quilt into the show.  So, since I made her purchase a packet, she has made me finish my quilt.  That is one of the things that has kept me busy the last couple of weeks.  (not that I worked on it everyday)  Now, I am glad to say, it is finished.  Well, almost, I still need to put the label on it and maybe embellish it a bit more - maybe not and then kind of try to block it out.  It doesn't hang as straight as I would like it to hang.  I would show you a picture, but I don't want anyone seeing it until it hangs in the show.  I took a picture of the edge, but I haven't downloaded it yet onto the computer.  Haven't done anything on the home computer much the last week.  I just came up here to play a little of my games - they got stuck, again - and to post this little message letting you all know that I am here, but tired and going to sleep soon. 

The next couple of weeks, I thought were going to be smooth and easy, but today, I got a phone call booking us for a brunch and a cater out.  Now my smooth and easy, just got a little bit busy.  Which is good for us.  Tomorrow we start cooking for a bake sale we are having on Thursday.  (just another thing I threw in today for the fun of it)  Signs, announcements and lots of baking of the goods.  It all begins bright and early with a trip to the grocery store for me.  Got to get in bed now! Have a good night and a great day tomorrow.