Sunday, August 31, 2014

As for fabric stores along the way...

I was like a little quilter bee, pollinating fabric stores along the way on our trip. Another little guilty secret? We make sure we leave enough time to visit Pennington Quilt Works near Princeton on the first day.It's a large store with  the latest in everything. A big sale section too, although this time it was full of modern designer's lines that don't excite me. I have bought many a $5 book there on sale and deeply discounted kits but not this time. Still I got this:
I couldn't resist the orange and black stripe to bind this year's skeleton halloween quilt. The winter prints are fat quarters and so so so cute. I like cute. 
Remember you can click on pictures to see details, I recommend it!
At Old City Quilts in Burlington NJ, another candy store of everything you will want I confined myself to the sale on Christmas fabric at 5 dollars a yard. Oh, yes, and the reg price stonehenge...
 The next day we had to stop in Selkirk NY for my other favorite store, Log Cabin Quilts. The owner is so dog loving she lets Cole come in and recline while watching over my choices... I got these fabrics, all but one on sale and the Adirondak pattern. I think I will be able to make all these quilts this life... wonder if you can hide a stash, and commit the location to memory so you can find it next life???
Here's a close up of one of those fabrics but the camera didn't capture the awesome gold sparkliness of the circles. It's heart poundingly wonderful

 At Ballston Spa near Saratoga, there is a really fun little shop, always full to bursting with stuff I want. There are shelves and shelves of sale fabric, which I looked through and decided on this stonehenge with gold metallic. This time getting a whopping 2 yards as it was such a great price. The halloween fabrics were too cute, and the blue will go in the final hexies of my enormous kind sized hexie quilt. See I "needed" it.
I finally remembered to get a row by row pattern, missed that at several shops.
 The Joyful Quilter was a must see on our way home. I used to go to this shop in Woodstock NY and kept missing it after they moved. It is so cool now, all big and light and airy. Lots of bargains here, the whole store was 20% off that day! Even the scrap bag, (I know, I know, don't I have enough scraps?) which held 6 fat quarters as well as lots of batiks in 4 inch or larger strips all for 4 bucks! I gathered a couple more halloween prints because they were too cute to leave.
We went to Adirondak Quilts in Glens Falls and I can't find my purchase, it could be mixed in with these other pictures. That's a great store, lots of sales, lots of patterns not to be found anywhere else. The owners have two little doggie greeters who stole my heart.
 I might have gotten these there... What a fun trip squeezing in fabric stores along the way. I love a fabric store and know you do too!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My little Quilting secrets

 13Spools is having a link party of secrets.This is the link to everyone's little quilty secrets :
                                                                              click here for the page
13 Spools
Be sure there are more quirks, but here are the ones I can think of at the moment... don't judge me...

1. I want to sneak into my sister's house and steal a quilt. Our grandmother left her a hand pieced scrappy double wedding ring top that I hand quilted for her right after I learned to make quilts. It had a thick batting and was backed with a sheet granny left to be used. It was hard hard hard to do. It lives in a plastic bag in sister's closet.

2. I can't sew  on a machine if I'm wearing shoes

3.Sometimes I cut across the fabric kind of under my ruler-holding arm, because I am too lazy to move and reset the fabric. It's a terrible practice and I suspect many of us do it.

4. I keep things I know I will likely never use ever. I won't give them up. Like patterns I've bought or been given, I know it's highly doubtful that I'll make that pieced watermelon table runner from a pattern but I keep it, "just in case"  You want to be here for the big sale when I go to the big studio in the sky, may it be after I'm a hundred as I have a lot of quilts to make.

5. I think about quilting almost all the time. I have thousands of ideas to make. I see an object and wonder how I can make it in fabric. I see a colored sky and think of how I can paint it. I fear I might look like I'm listening sometimes and be thinking about my art.

6. I buy books on quilting but usually don't read them. But I keep them. All.

7. I can't turn down a challenge. I love to enter challenges as they are stimulating and fun.

8. I prewash everything even scraps of fabric people give me. I put those in little mesh bags, wash on hot, dry, and then sort. into color boxes. I don't find it time consuming, I'm handling fabric. I am so sensitive to the chemicals used in production that I have trouble teaching classes now when students bring unwashed fabric, then press it the chemicals are released and I get a sinus headache. This developed over the years folks.

9. I once sliced off the edge of my pointer finger with a rotary cutter (I was cutting straight that time!!) because I was in a hurry and the blade jumped the ruler. It bled for days. A Mennonite woman at a fabric store said she did the same thing a month earlier, and just put some bleach on it. !!! I only sewed over the edge of a finger once on the machine, and I've been sewing on a machine since I was about 7. It hurt.

10. I use the tv or cd's to keep part of my brain, the part I think of as a sensor, busy while I work. The noise plays in the background while I happily make decisions and sew. Sometimes a whole movie plays out and I don't remember any of it. Does that mean I'm going downhill? Lately I don't need the distraction, just silence.
Actually I can be sewing along happily and when DH comes home and into the studio with the dog, I start making stupid mistakes instantly.
That's 10, that's me, LeeAnna obsessed with quilt making 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Craft Festival in the Adirondaks

As we were leaving to return home, we stopped at the High Peaks Fine art and Craft festival, and farmer's market in Keene, NY. What a beautiful day and place!

Nestled in the high mountain peaks of the Adirondaks in a grassy field, were artisans, gorgeous food, antiques, live music, and lots of dogs!

I interviewed three artisans, and will post that next week but for now, lets talk about the treats we found!

The little house here, caught my eye immediately. The artist had about 25 of them, and usually I dither and shop and compare every last morsel of something before choosing. Nope. Went to this one first, and bought it. She burnt the words dream, breathe, imagine,believe,and love along the roof, hung a tile at the top with always believe on it, there are lots of little polished gemstones and, oh! Twigs glued to the turquoise and coral house. It sits on little crystal feet.
click on the photo to see details of the goodies

Drew got the coolest t-shirt with a topography map on the front, I found the pottery sponge holder and the beaded woven tree made of metal wire twisted into a circle, with branches threaded with amethyst and crystal beads. Awesome!! I think I might add it to my Georgia O'Keefe quilt. We had already found these terrific Feetures running socks in brilliant colors that do NOT get eaten by sneakers.

They were all bargains too except the socks. The sponge holder, with robins egg blue glaze on an embossed heart was ten, the shirt five, the beaded ornament 10 and the birdhouse only 25.

We were traveling so we didn't buy any of the gorgeous produce and meat for sale but if we were local you betcha we would have. The winery we liked from last year didn't have a booth this year, so we couldn't leave with their yummy wine.

In one of the produce trucks was the cutest Sheltie, waiting patiently for her people to sell their wares. She was one of LOTS of dogs there.

It looked like a dog show with so many varieties including some doodles.  All well behaved and only one grumble as a ridgeback didn't want his butt sniffed. Cole was exhausted from his lake experiences and not eating, so he stayed right out of the mix and watched from a distance.

As I said, I interviewed several artists as well as admiring many of their wares. I think I showed great restraint in only buying what I did. Drew also was taken with a photographer, and bought his calendar to remember our lovely mountains all year long.

Upon leaving Keene Valley we stopped in my fave store, The Birch Store, and I found two awesome dresses on sale. Their season was ending but I knew MD would be hot for weeks to come and I can always use them into the Fall. Gotta get great clothes when you see them as you'll never find them later. Just like fabrics... which is a whole 'nother blog post to come on the weekend! Oy vey! The quilting stores!!


Thursday, August 28, 2014

What I made on my summer vacation

 What the flock did I make on summer vacation you ask??
A "parliament" of owls for one thing.
You know crafts people must have a project at the ready especially for long car trips and vacations. I took along the makings for these owl pin cushions and each one came out with a different personality. The one with not so level eyes looks kooky, the one with an outstretched wing looks like he's saying hi!, the one with the flower eyes looks like she's ready to party!
I also took along some scrap muslin ironed to stabilizer stamped with Christmas images so I could play with my zentangle sketching. I plan to make these into some Friendship exchange squares that are due in December.

I took along 6 projects but spent a good amount of car time sewing my pre-planned hexies as my goal is to finish this king sized hexie quilt this year. Well within a year. It's been going on a long time, but not every project is a quilt in a day. Sometimes you want to take your time to savor them.
(I'll show you how I organize the bits and pieces in another post)

I have lots of fun pictures and stories about our vacation but for today, I wanted to share the hand work I did. I also looked through some brand new in the plastic wrap magazines I found hoarded from 2009! I learned a lot and was highly entertained while sitting in the sun by the lake. I learned what to eat and what exercises to do, what clothes go with what shoes and make up. I learned how to set a holiday table, make some crafts, and improve my sleep habits. I love a new magazine, even an old one. I was able to freely recycle them so the car was lighter on the ride home!
While looking through the magazines, I got ideas for quilts, are you surprised?? I sketched out those ideas in my sketchbook while sitting in the sun too.

Some of my hand work was done on the balcony in the evenings, while DH read our latest shared book, and while enjoying a glass of the local wine called Snowgoose. There were annoyances on the trip, but I don't want to share those. Y'all know life is not always rosy. I just share the rosy bits, heh heh.

I saw a card on the trip that said "Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful" and I'm learning to put that into practice along with my word of the year, enjoy.
Next time, some shopping trips and skating pictures.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

the perfect vacation day for a poodle

At the end of another great vacation day in Lake Placid

We have been on vacation in Lake Placid NY. We go every year, stay at the Golden Arrow on Mirror Lake, and try to unwind from living in the whir of the greater DC area. I have lots of pictures to share, of nature, of fabric shopping trips, of lake fun, of other dogs met, of our adventures driving up and back. For today, as I am having re-entry problems coming home, I will share some poodle view points. If the technology goddess is with me, I'll  share a couple videos too. After all I was able to take the videos...
Cole likes his space, so we made him a poodle sized pallet and although he has a wine bottle he really isn't old enough to drink so that's ours. There is a winery tasting room downstairs, and we made use of it. He did eat a bit, and play with his nearly destroyed fox toy, but a day of being admired, playing in the lake and shopping makes for a good night's sleep.

Our hotel is dog friendly as is the town, so we met lots of doggies.
First thing Cole did after walking right to our room door, was check out the real estate, as he would love us to move up there. We would too.

 On a walk thru town, he was excited to see the hill at the church was still there, so he can remind everyone passing by, he is King of the Hill. Again.

Dogs are welcome all over town but always on a leash, so you notice Cole is always connected to us. He feels it's the best way to keep us close.
After all when Mommy isn't connected to the leash she wanders off into stores and around the lake. Cole worries she won't find her way back, knowing her notoriously bad sense of direction.

Best to keep her on the leash.

While Dad takes a swim, Mommy reads a magazine, and Cole lies in the shade watching the constantly changing show of people, swimmers, ducks, and pups.

He is careful to avoid the towel, preferring to lie on duck poop instead. It must add to the complete experience for him.

One day a pointer puppy took some sailing lessons with his boy. There were lots of these sail boards  with people on them, and then these two took off, it was beautiful.
Cole was not interested in this.

I can't make the videos download to the blog today... I feel like tweedle-dumber
I'll leave you with this sign.
Easier to accept it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

why is he doing this?

Why does he love to lick my knees? And mostly the right knee. Does he know something I don't know? Is he trying to heal my PCL tear?

Then he laughs! Gotcha mama!

Monday, August 18, 2014

two coasters too funny to use

 Does this need more commentary?
This is how I feel right now...
Two coasters bought in Frederick on our last visit, thought they might give you a giggle...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"Windswept Poodle"

"Windswept Poodle" 12"X12"  by  LeeAnnaPaylor 
This is my STAT quilt for our challenge to interpret the artist Edward Hopper.
I had two working designs based on his diner piece and his apt building piece. Edward Hopper loved to paint shadows on houses. When I consider common characteristics of his artwork, I think of strong shadow and light, of grayish skies, of isolation. I decided to do another poodle piece, this time reflecting a house.

I want the viewer to see how alike the house and poodle are, repeating colors and mood.

I decided on these fabrics with a couple batik scraps for rocks and foreground. The black and white fabric grades from light to darker and I've had it for years. Waiting for the right project.

I rooted through probably 50 or more sky fabrics til I found just the right shade of gray-blue with the right clouds. In person it is perfect, but my new studio lights still mess with my colors on camera.
The post (HERE) discusses my cutting disorder.

Isn't it interesting to see a finished quilt and think of course it looks like that!
When designing them however there are hundreds of little choices like how wide to cut the word fabric, what shape to cut the rocks and how large, where shall I put them, how small should the house be to give distance, how far down shall I put the poodle in relation to sky and grass, and what part of the picture should he be in? Just what angle should the ears be cut to appear to be whispery in the wind? Just a few of my choices.

I seamed two extremes of one fabric with two rectangles together, then seamed a piece of gray across those two on an angle. I then free cut the poodle from this created new fabric, to imply hard shadows and angles. It worked! I love how it came out. I went over it when done with pencil, to further shade the back and beyond the poodle into the sky.
I went in with rayon thread, and created free motion seagrass over some un-raveled wool. I ended up pulling some wool out of the stitching as it was too solid but now I like it. I took this pic in the dark, and it gives you a better sense of the mood of the sky color.
I liked several Hopper quotes, and you know I like words, so I printed out this one, "More of me comes out when I improvise" then traced it onto fabric with a pen. That is so true for me. I do much better work when I improvise, don't second guess, just keep moving. This whole piece was made in 3 hours. After 2 months of thought.

I free motion quilted the whole and then created a new binding technique. I didn't want any kind of frame around the piece to contain it. I only wish the photos were as striking as the real piece looks, as it makes me smile in a very satisfied way. It worked this time. This photo taken in the dark conveys more of the real color.
Edward Hopper painted pictures that made one wonder what his people were thinking. I wonder what this poodle thinks? Thanks for looking, please tell me your impressions. LeeAnna

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

going to the beach? or Camping?

in case the video won't open,  here is the link to it on youtube    click

For your summer vacation, will it be Beach or Camping?? 

and here is the link for this one click here

It's neither for us. It's a hotel on the lake with a balcony and mountain view. Picture Cole reclining on his lakeside towel...
 A nice bowl of fresh water, your people, and a few magazines to eat.

 Or say a nice dip in the lake, not enough to mess up your naturally curly hair, just to cool down your legs...
and chase a ball. Hope you are planning a trip with your people this summer, and better get right on that, not much summer left!  Love, Cole

a few fabrics used

Celebrate with me on the cutting of precious fabric!
Yep, I'm LeeAnna and I have a problem cutting into and using my own fabric.

I do not lack raw materials of any kind, I have been collecting fabric since about high school which was when the Earth's crust was cooling. I have beautiful fabric. I often take it out and consider using it in a project and for some reason I often put it back in the drawer, lovingly, protectively, for a "better" quilt.

Oh. My. Word.

Here's my notice, I am going to use my fabric in a project, even if it's not a magnum opus, even if it doesn't end up a winner at Houston, just because it makes me happy to see it used.

I'll let you know how that goes... I just wanted to start a discussion on why we do this? I think it comes from expense and availability. A fabric is seldom reprinted. Hand dyes are unique.

For instance the above fabric was triple dyed from a wonderful print I never saw in black and white, and I paid about 10 dollars for that half yard. It's worth it, as it's one of a kind and right up my alley. Words, color, unique?? Love, love, love. Another wonderful fabric in my stash waiting for the right project.

See the bit cut out? I found the right project and will post the finished quilt later this week. I don't know why I had to use it but I did, and guess what?? It looks great and I love it. The quilt I mean. It would not have been right without the little bit of this fabric.

As Cole had to face his fears of bath and nail clipping, I must face my discomfort at using the gorgeous fabrics in my stash. After all Enjoy is my word of the year! (look at this post!)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Face your fears?

As if bath time, and water in your face, people touching your feet, brushing, shaving, scissors, cursing, and all that icky soap smell weren't enough. There's this...
If you think plucking hair out of your ears is awful, face these bad-boys. With a father on the other end.

The first picture is a cute little fridge magnet found on our recent foray into Frederick MD. Cole was collapsed on the store floor like an island in the shopping store, so I placed the magnet on his inert side.
NO ONE around here enjoys bath time but Cole fears it. Until this year, age 12, he tried to get in my lap when DH said, it's time... he knew what time it was. And when mommy starts with that look in her eye, acting like Edward Scissorhands, well, it's almost too much!

It's a big fat relief when he's done for a month. He gets to bask in all the ooohs and aaaaahs of people who say how handsome he is.

 We are relived the smell is gone. A mix of  that boy smell when he's had a month of frolic in the yard and food caught in a moustache.

He is a nervous eater, so doesn't want a treat for getting in the tub. After the grooming is over though...
We caught this sight, Cole in the kitchen, a rare visit as the floor is slippery, staring at the fridge. I've never seen him do that, so obviously a normal biscuit will not do this time!
Do you face your fears? I have a plenty of them, and he's a reminder to try to face them down!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

green tumbling blocks

 Slow stitching, tumbling blocks made with scraps.
These came from my scrap bin at the left, as I keep scraps by color.

I used templates made from yogurt lids to baste around, and wanted the feel of a forest floor.

My scraps are anything odd shaped or less than an eighth of fabric. Of course some of them came from this bin...
 my bin of batik scraps.
I separate them from color bins because of two reasons.
one is I have some trouble with batiks and allergy.
two is they sometimes defy color placement!

I love them, and use them often however as I've washed even the little pieces three times making them slightly less offensive to sinuses. I might in a pinch pull from these bins...
My real stash of quarter yard to three yard pieces arranged by color in pull out shelves. I usually only resort to these when I need a large piece to work from.
I have already chosen a background for the above piece. It's a batik, and so very organic and exciting and I will show you the finished piece later.... gators....

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Happy Owl

Remember my shopping spree last weekend (shopping pictures) with the pink felt? This is what came of it!
I fell in love with this (free pattern) for an owl pin cushion and here she is. Obviously a she.
I changed it up a bit, surprised??
Starting with the decision to make it from felt. The color seems blue but it's vivid turquoise, yellow and pink.

I had a feeling I'd want to make more than one, so I made hard plastic templates. I held a template over the felt and cut, no tracing. After all the whole thing was made in less than an hour complete with cutting out.

 I keep my perle cotton embroidery thread in this wee little zipper bag that has elastic loops inside to hold thread cones. The green thing hanging on the zip pull is an embroidery needle threader which works like a charm. The owl is stuffed it with plastic beans and poly stuffing. Instead of the felt heart I put the wings on with heart buttons. I used the pink fabric to cut eyes instead of buttons too. So it's not perfectly made but it's cute as a, well, a button! And happy!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pink Quartz Rocks

 I am a writer. I say that because I like to write, I love words, and I am writing so I define myself that way.
My writing assignment today was to describe something normal, or ordinary in your yard. This is what I wrote:                           Pink Quartz Rocks
 The object is to really see an object.    I choose to see my pink quartz rocks.
We bought these from a quarry years ago. Back so long ago when  our house and yard were new to us.
We had dreams... and felt it was worth effort to make it our dream home. We only lacked money.

So we improved our yard with our hands, until it felt like an outside home.
We had sections of beauty, lighting, vistas, focal points.
The pink quartz stones were special. Different. They represented individuality, comfort, beauty. NEST.
Every year they are the focal point between two tall oaks, mostly trunks in view as they are old. They frame the pink rocks.
Ferns were planted, and have surrounded the rocks. Graceful, dancing in the shade. Lovely and filling the empty space with a sense of fairies and magic.
Plaster angels... white then gray as they aged. Wings broken by playful dogs and storms, they still watch the rocks.
An ordinary stone wall was added, surrounding the area lending an air of safety.
An old lotus shaped fountain no longer working was moved between the trees beyond the rocks. So lovely the shape, it also grows gray with the years. A metal heron sculpture stands rusting nearby. Four solar light globes on stands come on at night after the rocks cannot be seen. The globes change color sometimes in unison, sometimes it varies. They lend another sense of magic into the evening. These sentinels glow through winter when barren is the adjective and we are nestled inside viewing from a back door. Still they glow, right on time.
The pink quartz rocks started it all. A white metal sculpture of a word stands just to the side now, but one's eyes are drawn to it... Hope.
Pink quartz rocks size of bowling balls. More emanating pink than actual pink. Faceted like engagement rings of the Earth.