Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The working title is Batik Starburst

The working title is Batik Starburst. This is the quilt made with the binding tool pattern, the one discussed HERE click to read about it later if you like.

I sewed the whole center section before I found out the black fabric was rotten. Since then I have heard many horror stories about black fabric gone bad.
I took the blocks apart, then ripped out the black from the batiks, leaving as much together as possible. When I found stable black fabric and recut each piece (insert curse words here) I began the process of resewing,  like partial seams. It worked but was a bit tedious. I learned something then...

I sewed that part on my Janome Gem travel machine. I finished on my beloved aging Bernina 1630.

The two blocks did not match. I am a stickler for cutting correctly. I am almost a stickler for sewing a good quarter inch seam. But... the two machines were just off by a bit, enough to make a difference. It explains why your friend's blocks aren't always the same as yours. The Bernina's seam is better, so I went back and tried to unpick the poor joins and match better.

This particular one was not having it.

I tried every trick in the book, and after 7 un-sewings of this particular join, I gave in and said, apparently this one, will. not. be. right.

I am not new, I am not without skills, but I ran out of patience! Quilt police, have at it!

Some seams just do not want to match, not with pinning, not with pressing opposite, not with anything.

Anyway I pressed the the blocks well, and trimmed the blocks down to 16 and 3/8 before the final construction began. They are sewn together in three sections at the moment ready to be quilted.
After all the hassle I decided not to border it to make it King sized. It's fine, just the way it is.
Now I want you to do something... Look at the top picture, see the top and bottom center blocks? The blue and green ones? On the first picture the two blue ones are together and the green ones together.

On this picture I mixed them up.
This is the final layout... it just felt better, know what I mean?

All pictures are pre-ironing and pre-trimming of blocks, it looks nice and regular and flat and square on the wall now, but I haven't taken more pics.

What I love...
1.the shading of my scraps from light to dark.
2.The fact that I used scraps not yardage (and the bin is still too full)
3.Color! Brilliant color, glowing color, not organized by rainbow order.
4.I salvaged the quilt when there were times I considered tossing the whole mess away
5.It's a pattern I never would have made but for wanting to do a project with my bee

What I learned
1. Scraps chosen carefully can do a great job in a quilt
2. Black fabric is often more unstable because of the chemicals used to make it
3. Use the same machine to piece the whole quilt if possible
4. It's okay to use a pattern even if one is an art quilter and works originally, ahem.
5. Sometimes good enough is good enough and one moves on

I am now busy figuring out how to best quilt it. I want to try black batting this time, and will quilt the whole center top to bottom sewn together into one 8-block section, the side four blocks as separate sections then join as usual.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The unexpected gift

What a surprise!
My good friend Nancy pugmom sent this cutest flamingo wallet to me. She said she is making something for my May birthday but this will take it's place. I can hardly wait to see the treasure she's making as she is just a party on two legs! How did she know I like a flamingo (smirk)
Look how it came wrapped too. Her special card, and that's a great idea in and of itself, right?

That sparkly pink folded box, pink tissue paper, and this inside...

Well, it's just perfect. A perfect gift and a perfect surprise! I feel loved!
Then out of the blue yesterday my bee mate Diana surprised me with this...
It's a leather flamingo wristlet purse!!! In purple! Perfect! Perfect surprise!
She said she wanted to thank me for all I do for her, which is just being her friend, which is easy.

Look at it dangling from my fingers... note the pink plastic flamingos guarding the yard behind.

Check out the little leather legs!
The zipper, handle and it came with a lucky penny inside. Diana and I are Southerners. I think that's a Southern custom of including a penny. Another beemate said her Japanese roots dictate a 5 yen piece to go in any purse.

About two months ago another bee mate came in with this...
She found this funky beaded poodle at a yard sale and said she knew she had to get it for me. HA!
How'd she know I love poodles (double smirk)       Surprise! A gift for no reason, just because.
Because she's thoughtful.
So to keep this surprise gift thing going I made something for my friend recently seen again in Ohio, Maria
(see post HERE)  It will be winging it's way to her soon. She loves blue, so a blueberry pie pin cushion is her surprise gift.
my friend QuiltSwissy is doing a project giving away quilted items at random. Given or gotten any surprise gifts lately?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Cole manages to find mischief even in Ohio

On our next to last day in Ohio, we three headed to Cincinnati to see what we could see.

Along the way we stopped at a few quilt stores (ahem) as it's a good way to see areas of the country.
(that's my story and I'm sickin' to it)

We stopped in lovely Glendale Ohio, a planned village from 1900's. It was awesome. Gorgeous little homes, great town square with lovely little shops, a train station, gas lights, park, oh my. Of course I went into the quilt store (Stitches) where there are great supplies. Then we decided we three needed refreshment.

Cole first, " Will you look at that!

Why they knew I was coming and built this antique watering bowl, top for humans, middle for little humans, and one just right for me! So very perfect and boy did that water taste good"

You know how towns do  statue projects? DC had donkeys and elephants... 
well Glendale had squirrels. This beauty is outside our lunch shoppe called the...

 Bluebird Cafe.
That's right... and the bluebird of happiness flew into our lives with curried chicken sandwiches and salads to share. Shade, breeze, low humidity, good food, and I swear I saw Barney Fife drive by. Well it was a policeman probably looking for lunch since the town was so stinkin' cute I felt like I was at Disney World.

The mischief comes in with Cole. We were so very happy and content. He on the other hand complained about the service. Here he is to tell you all about it...

Cole: "Well it all started when I wanted to lay down in the park, not watch momma shop for more quilting supplies. Then they expected me to pose like an actor with that circus freak of a squirrel. Momman knows how I feel about squirrels. Well I wasn't cooperative. hmph. grrrr.

Then they start eating that good food, and, can you believe it??! They plop down a bowl of, wait for it...
dog food for me. What an insult! Just because I am allergic to chicken. And wheat.

Oh they eventually shared their chips but I have my figure to consider even if they don't.
I acted like I was having none of that dog food, until they obviously finished their whole meal and I realized that was it.

There is taking a stand..... and there is going hungry, and a poodle has to know what's what.
As we were walking back to the car (OMG not the car again!!!) I spied a cutie in the window of this establishment. Wowie Zowie! Cute right?? Just the kinda girl I could play ball with. She was so content there I didn't want to disturb her.
Don't tell the folks, but I had a right good time on this trip. Even more pics to come.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Red Dishes

Just to round out the month at superscrappy  a few dishes to go with my growing mismatched scrappy set.
Pretty much like the dishes we use.
We just replaced our worn out set of cobalt blue stoneware, pitted, chipped, scratched... with a few items from Crate and Barrel....
These are china instead of stoneware, lighter weight and hopefully stronger. We have four china plates white with a modern black line swoop that I got at the outlet and now blue sandwich plates and celadon green bowls. I like the mix of color! For china these were a bargain which is important to me.
It matters that my everyday plates make me happy. I seem to need replacements about every two years.
Well, they chip almost immediately, but we use them for another two years! lol! 

Friday, July 24, 2015

My how time flies!

My gosh!
Time flies when you're having fun!
Feels like just yesterday my boyfriend Drew asked me to marry him. Three months after we met. Standing in the doorway while my labradaughter Chelsea was in the back yard taking a break.
We met at a contra dance.
The first card I ever gave him said, Love is like dancing, when you find the right partner it's easy.
We married after one year almost to the day of meeting and went to a contra dance after the reception.

Here we are 21 years later, through all the ups and downs of life, we are each other's best friend. 
We still like each other, and as one of my valentine quilts says, he's the one I want to tell my stories to at the end of the day. 
We make each other laugh. 
We support each other. 
 We fit together. 

We are thankful. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

handwork on a trip

When we take a really long car trip, I set up shop!!
Welcome to my nest in the van. My good husband drives while I work in the sweatshop.
The front seat moves just enough in the van to irritate my spinal nerve problem so I sit bolt upright in the second row and put the front seat in closed position. It give me a wee table.
We remove the other seat so Cole can jump in and out. His nest is in the third row bench seat where he stretches out.
The cd player went out, the van is old so we just got a boombox to play our book on tape. The third in the trilogy Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Oh boy! 10 hours on the road both ways and we didn't finish the last book! But It's good....

I have a hexie project I have been doing for 10 years on car rides and at bee. It was to be a small piece...

It's now in 5 sections and fits the king bed! I am doing borders at the moment, and have lots of batiks basted around plastic templates (cut from yogurt lids) ready to choose from. Right here they are in a cleaned cheese tray just their size. I love a re-use of a container!!
Of course when the car starts up fast, the stuff slides onto my feet!
While at the hotel, Cole and I sat under the patio umbrella and I beaded.
I am ready to work for the day. Aren't they pretty?
I am designing something very exciting for me. I tried to learn a particular beading technique on youtube but it's just easier to do my own thing. I've done 7 pieces so far and each one is exciting. I drew out some designs on graph paper and am doing even count flat peyote. I have learned so much about color, line and texture by experimentation. It has become the best way to learn for me.
And it's fun.
Each piece is different, and I swear I could make 50 more and still learn with each piece.
I have plans for them....

While my husband was toiling away at work, I was either going from quilt store to quilt store or in the room re-sewing my batik-on-black blocks. I ripped the rotten black away and left the batiks sewn together if possible. When I add back in good black fabric, I then go back and resew the partial seams. It's working well.
I took my Janome Gem along. The white bag holds the sewing tray and extra bits and pieces.
I made that bag  l o n g ago with a Mary Englebriet transfer and it's still strong. I drew around the transfer with paint.

 It says
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes
M. Proust

Well, I saw new landscapes and also looked at things with new eyes. We are trying to decide where to move.

The trip was a way to experience new landscapes and try them on for size. We loved the open fields in Ohio, the friendly down to earth people who had time to chat with a person, the parks, the calm, and at least I liked the quilt shops!

 We found out our values still match as we both want more peace in our every day lives.

Do you take art projects along on trips?? 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

While in Ohio I visited the Dairy Barn

On our way home my loving husband took me by the Dairy Barn in Athens Ohio.
This houses an art quilt exhibit of great prestige, Quilt National. It's one of my goals to be accepted into the exhibit one day.
There are a series of videos available but photography is not allowed... click here for one video
I might look a little car weary here, but happy.
I don't often bother to brush my fine limp hair so this is what you get. As a comedian once said, what's so great about parallel hair anyway?

Look at the cute little wooden cow.

You know I love a cow...or four...

Looking at the artwork, full of texture, meaning, unusual materials I felt inspired.
I can do this.
I am original and inventive. I have skills.

but it was also intimidating. I think trouble follows anytime you compare yourself or your work to others. It's a natural thing to do but not very productive. We must all do out own thing then share it with the world in some way.

I am enjoying sharing it with you here!
"Reflecting" on my visit... pun intended....I am glad I went and saw some of the cream of art quilting. I wish I could have seen it with all of you.

 DH and darling poodle waited patiently for me in front of the herb garden, poodle listening to my husband practicing his guitar...
I was all jazzed, they were all peaceful, but none of us were looking forward to the long ride home

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

While in Ohio I visited with a friend...

Do you enjoy a little COLOR in your life?? ME TOO! 
The picture is of a fabric collection of solids belonging to my friend Maria Elkins (
Aren't they scrumptious? Inspiring?
Or like me, would you be reluctant to actually use them because they look so good like this?
I'm inserting this info : Maria organized her fat quarters by color, and by value, lightest to darkest on 8th row down! It's amazingly useful when you know you need a particular shade.
Maria and I met through the online QuiltArt group when she asked the group if anyone in Annapolis wanted to meet up while she was in town to tour universities with her daughter. I said yes!
We had a great visit then, kept in touch via emails, even chose the same focus word (JOY) last year!
When I decided to go to Ohio with my husband on his business trip, I contacted her and went by for another great visit. Allow me to brag about my friend for a moment...
She is an internationally known quilter, and you may remember this

one of her many fabulous portrait quilts
She has written articles for magazines won numerous awards, and is comfortable to be with. We shared stories and laughs, ideas and goals.
She invited Cole in as well, and he took to her right away.

She shared with me her quilt storage system
wardrobes on their sides just the right size to hold rolled quilts...

open sesame
We looked at a few quilts, and the current series she is working on.
Now is a good time to mention that one is never too experienced to grow and learn. She studied with Nancy Crow, ( I admit I am too intimidated to do that at the moment) and has incorporated the lessons learned into her own style.
We should all approach a class like that, in my opinion. Learn a skill or technique but don't copy a teacher's style of work. Make it original! That's my life's motto, or one of them.
Maria has written an article for Studio magazine also, because she designed a thread caddy and shared the plans to make one in that magazine. She set up her studio for work.

Another important point here... set up your workspace according to how you work, not according to a designer's suggestion or how it looked in a magazine. Figure out what you need, and where you need it, by working in there, then set it up for your personal usage.

And a working studio is often messy. It. Just. Is. 
We visited for several wonderful hours that flew by. It's like that when two friends meet again, doesn't matter if you haven't seen them in a long time. Your spirits meet and conversation flows.

It wouldn't have happened this time if I hadn't let her know I was coming, or if she wasn't open to taking the time away from work, or if she was out of town teaching (which she does, check out her website)

But it did happen and I am all the richer for it!

Cole... well that poodle fell in love with Maria's husband. After he nearly licked Maria's hands off, he moved on to her husband. When it was time to tear ourselves away Cole clearly wasn't ready yet...
I treated him like a toddler,. and said "Okay Cole, momma's leaving now, come on!" and I walked to the car. I opened the doors. He remained where he was
Until he walked right back to the front door with a shrugging look back at me.
 "well, I liked them.
 I liked how they smelled, how they tasted and their energy was good. I was willing to stay longer.
 No one ever asks me if I'm ready to go yet. Sheesh! "
All good times eventually come to an end darlin' so you'll have to make-do with me and your dad/.

Monday, July 20, 2015

travel is exhausting for a poodle-in-charge

Travel is exhausting for a Poodle-in-charge.
Here I am at the Homewood Suites in Beavercreek Ohio.
First of all, no one asked me if I wanted the family to go on a business trip across the world.
I do like to be with my people, but whew! A long ride-in-the-car.

There are a lot of new smells to take in on that kind of trip
all the stops along the way, usually quilt shops for momma. The hotel itself took a lot of sniffing.
On a trip I MUST smell every grate. I am on a mission to smell grates across the USA.

You never know what's been there.

This was a particularly wonderful park with geese, lakes, bridges, paths, big trees.
I love this picture of me with my people, our shadows are very artistic, no? My momma loves art.

(Miss Mary, notice the sign? Kayak crossing? )
My peeps and I walked here at least three days out of 5 in Ohio. We all like a little peace at the end of a busy day of sniffing.
I assume they're sniffing, where else would Dad go all day?
I know momma sniffed at least 20 quilt shops on this trip!The first day on our own, while Daddy went "dog"knowswhere, was to this craft shop.

They loved me!!
They petted me and let me come in to watch over momma as she shopped and shopped. Beads, yarn, fabric, every craft was represented in one shop. I took a moment to see this little fairy world in a dish
I was happy to be there, always love to smell new smells and meet more people but this trip was tiring. First of all, I did NOT like that Daddy didn't stay with us all the time. Apparently he went "to work" or so momma said.

While he was gone, I got a chance to run the hotel.
The little girls behind the pool fence were especially cute, adoring me as they were. The outside table with umbrella was nice, feeling the dry air blowing around my hair while momma beaded. The housekeeping manager took a real liking to me, and sat on the floor petting me while telling mommy about her dogs.

I don't know why I was so worried, somehow Dad found his way back in the evenings, somehow momma with her poor sense of direction found her way back to the hotel to meet him.

Still, I couldn't rest for a few days. On the third day I just put myself to bed early and trusted they wouldn't leave me. It's exhausting to have to sleep with one eye open.

I have a lot of memories to share with y'all and will write all about them over the next week.
Love, Cole

Friday, July 17, 2015

Her name is Cherry Pie!

Ain't she sweet?   Her name is Cherry Pie.
This is "cow" she started...
Choosing floral fabric from the red scrap bin.

I went through several choices, trying to vary the tone of red, the scale of print and keep it in florals.
All the cow girls are in florals. It's that kind of herd.

As you can see I changed my mind about the ears and used the really super sparkly one for lips and ears.

 I have been hoarding this fan print scrap, which was about 5" X 10" waiting for the perfect moment.

This is it! The print is all red lines on white but looks very pink from a distance.
Color is so cool, the human eye just mixes the different frequencies in it's own way!
Anyway, there are some prints you just like lots and I used all my fave red scraps on this girl. The shoulder fabric is dynamic, the strip down her nose both make me happy to see.

All that red seemed to call out for a little straw hat with ribbon and flowers. The ribbon was two colors of pigma pen, red and green. The flowers are motifs from one of the discarded fabric choices.The gold is a mosaic piece I had out to do some flamingos in yellow.  It's not fused down yet.
Even the ironing board cover is red this month! I made several in cotton duck fabric and just pin in place over my table top board. I use the little travel iron for seams, because it doesn't seem to dim the lights.
So here is my weekly project using red scraps. Visit superscrappy to see what other people are making.