Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year Eve!!!!!

Hard to imagine but it's almost 2011!!!!!
To begin the year off with a new goal I have signed up for another online challenge:-)
Notice the button on my blog listed sketchbook challenge.....
Well to prepare for the start date of 1/1/2011 I gathered up some of my sketchbooks a few old, a few partly used...and lol a couple completely empty books I discovered in my MI home's basement packed away in boxes unknown a drawback of living in limbo for the last 7 years.... (notice the cute cute funny face pad in my photo.)
So now let the fun soon begin.....happy new year to all!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wonderful Christmas

So we made it to MI and the holiday so far has been very blessed! I can finally post some photos of some of the quilting I completed during the month of December....thankfully though my back was probably the worst it has ever been I managed to create 4 different quilts and a few 10 minute holiday runners ...I love that quilting worked as my ART THERAPY! Thankfully it made me feel better to be creating ;-)
So one quilt I had a lot of fun making was for our family gag gift exchange....3 years ago my daughter had drawn my name and gave me a group of photos printed on fabric to as she put it to "show me support in my desire to focus in art quilting"... ;-) It was a very cute gag gift at the time and the photos are atrocious... my kids had posed in silly close up facial poses. To add to my idea for the gag quilt if you recall I attended some classes last summer w/ Nancy Crow and anyone that has taken classes with Nancy knows that you spend time creating FABRIC lots of fabric!!!! ;-) So I had a stack of fabric that I had sitting around my studio crying out to be used in some kind of creation! Next enter the fact that I drew my lovely college niece's name and having drawn her a few times in the past I was struggling for something new to surprise her with????? I decided she would be the perfect recipient for this special creation I had in mind. ;-) So I gathered the fabric photos and the Nancy Crow fabrics and began to design....My niece attends college in Upper MI where it is quite cold so a quilt could/would be a handy item to keep in her car in case of break downs ;-) or in a cold apartment and to make sure she understood my reasoning I had a lot of fun in my free motion quilting including the lesson I wanted her to take to heart ;-)

Thankfully she appreciates her God-mother's sense of humor.
and the other 3 quilts I completed during the month of December were:

Quilt on left is a large 9 square block scrap quilt, the quilt on right is brown lap quilt Christmas 2010 present

Christmas present to my daughter-in-law's mother

Surprise/specially designed lap quilt for husband Christmas 2010 present
The large middle square fabric are cut from his deceased mother's house coat (a treasured memory)
He was pleasently surprised.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Okay so placed it right at top for the time being!

We are headed up north to celebrate the holidays with my folks and most of the family. Will be a quick visit with many time demands if we're to get to visit with as many relatives and friends as possible..some reflective time, possible some a sad farewell to someone special to my husband that the Angels might be calling home far too soon. We hope to get in some kisses and hugs from a couple of the grandkids and if we're lucky Santa will find us and leave plenty of surprises. whoops and we get to celebrate my parents 65th wedding anniversary!! just that alone shows how blessed we are!
I'd like to take this time to wish all a very blessed Christmas and Happy New year!

which before I sign off it brings me back to my title :-) I have been meaning to commit to participating in the sketchbook challenge! Thus my new added button on the blog. funny it seems I have a stack of many sketchbooks all scattered about,always told my students how important sketching is, so I am hoping this challenge will help me become a little more organized. I must admit that though I felt I had not completed my other two challenges I hooked up with this summer I did complete two Christmas quilts as presents thank to the nine patch square challenge this summer and I sadly need to look up the name of the other sew along. Sadly thanks to my injection yesterday my brain is feeling like mush today on recall...something about that twilight they give you...leaves me loopy for days :-)
Leaving on a good note...I have high hopes RE: my injection....time will tell.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sorry for being absent for a while....

Wow, I just noticed that I have not been keeping up with my blog. It's amazing how quickly I seem to let my habit of posting slip away? Please tell me some of you are feeling the same?
Possibly I can blame the holiday season or could it be some of the demands I've been putting on myself regarding trying to get some last minute lap quilts completed in time to give as holiday gifts this year? lol..... Add to this some minor yet very frustrating health issues I'm dealing with and boom!  Posting somehow got put on a back burner.  I have been having some back issues once again which is sadly putting a kink in my day to day living. I am trying to deal with it, have a scheduled injection and some testing scheduled so hoping this too will pass.
I have made a pact with myself to try to get back to my norm which includes posting regularly to my blog. Please wish me luck ;-)


detail of Christmas surprise
On a good note I am finding out that art therapy is good for my soul. I have been able to keep sewing throughout the back issues as long as I don't have to stand up and down a lot. ;-) I managed to complete one of my quilted holiday surprises, wish I could post a photo of the piece but just in case some of my relatives actually read my blog I will resist rather then ruin a surprise. But here's a hint, if you've ever taken classes with Nancy Crow you know students spend a lot of time making new fabrics. Well rather then waste some of my left over fabrics I managed to create the perfect family Christmas exchange gift.
Here are a few detail shots. I promise to post a photo of the gift after Christmas day.....What fun I had making this! I'm pleased with the end result and it's going to be a fun surprise.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It was a semi productive week ;-)))) YAY!

I've had some fun this week reconnecting with my sewing machines. I managed to quilt two lap quilts on the HQ16 just have to add their binding ;-) and hmmm remember those 9 square blocks someone on facebook convinced me to try this summer?? Well I got that top pieced today and it's ready to put on the HQ16 hopefully Monday morning. ;-) It was total scrap fabrics, wild colors for sure yet think it's going to be cute once I quilt and bind it. "Cheery"
Next up..... I hope to complete a baby quilt I owe a special baby. ;-)
So here's some peeks at this past week's projects...
9 block for fun

lap quilt in browns

UFO strips on muslin to be continued...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Busy busy time of the year....the holidays

Whoa..........where has this year gone? Can you believe it is December already?
Sadly if you've noticed I have been lax on my postings again too.
Last week I tried to refocus and complete some good ole fashioned functional quilting. "Functional" meaning more utility type items, such as lap quilts which I owe a few of my buddies and then one particular special Christmas present which is to be a surprise. Thus don't look for too many photos presently posted of my various projects.

But let's see...I did complete a scrap nine square block design lap quilt top that I hope to get quilted this week. I also completed a brown lap quilt top. So I have 3 various quilts to try to get on my HQ16 and quilted ASAP.
And thus this posting will have to be short...I NEED to stay focused ;-))) lol and get busy!

Last week besides quilting it was the Thanksgiving holiday and we headed to PA and NJ to celebrate with the kids and grandchildren. After a lovely dinner in West Chester Thurs. we got to explore Intercourse PA on Friday and hmmmmm what else? I purchased some fabric to back the projects I have needing to be quilted. Intercourse was a quaint little tourist city (Amish settlement) not too far from my daughter's house. On Sat. my husband Bill,  Keli (my daughter) and I drove over to Cranford, NJ to park in my son's JB's driveway and then we took the train into NY city to see the musical Memphis. What a grand time! Then it was back to VA and home sweet home.

Intercourse PA Quilt Store
Quilt Museum/Country Store, Intercourse PA

Shubert Theater, NY city

Keli and I loved Memphis.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I finally got some sewing done ;-)

I have no idea why I was letting stuff get in my way of quilting? Thankfully though something finally clicked? (Possibly the knowledge that Christmas is around the bend and slipping up on me much too quickly???)  Well no matter what finally gave me the push I needed I have spent the past two days sewing All day!  It felt so good!!!! One trick that helped me was to shut down my computer ;-) lol or at least walk away from it. 
I am completing some 9 patch squares that I signed up to complete this past summer. lol better late then never. They ended up very glow in the dark ;-) color! It's a complete scrap piece design and  I am having fun with them.
In fact they are almost all sewn together and in the end will make someone a nice lap quilt. Secondly I have started on a quilt I've owed someone for about a year? ;-( but  I intend to have the quilt completed to present during the Christmas holidays. I found a great square that was easy to cut out and hope to have this quilt top sewn together by Monday since tomorrow  my hubby and I intend to go into DC to the 23rd  annual Craft Show at the Washington Convention Center and Sunday I have a class Dayton VA on the HQ16
Here's a peek at the colors of the second quilt top...complete opposite of the glow in the dark lap quilt. lol

I actually have a third lap quilt top almost sewn together (told you I've been focused the past two days) but this quilt is a top secret so I'm not posting a photo just in case the person it's intended for happens to check my blog.... I wouldn't want them to be able to see it ;-)
So I'm sure you can tell....I have been happily sewing and it felt great to be completing some good ole traditional, functional designed quilting this week. 
Wish me luck on keeping up my focus. Did I mention my secret has been to walk away from the computer :-0  lol lol lol 
oh well y'all have a GRAND weekend!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Wow, I have been BUSY! ;-) I had a trip up north to MI for family visit AND to attend a wonderful wedding celebration! Was so much fun yet tiring...then when we got back it was sort of slow going RE: getting back into the studio. ;-)

The nice thing is when we got back to VA our fall colors were still here ;-) I was afraid I had missed them all. Something about the reds, oranges, and golds of fall.
Isn't this a great view from my quilting room?
Sadly we are losing the colors to browns now...but still such splendor.
So I finally got back to my machine actually have gotten some of the nine squares sewn, so many colors lol might end up being another of my glow in the dark creations.
just sewing the squares so far...
Today I got some studio cleaning done and then suddenly found myself happily completing another design I had begun while studying with Nancy Crow this past summer. Each piece I complete gives me more understanding in the strip piece construction. I am finally feeling a comfort zone. ;-)
black and white design from week two of QBL

It felt good to get back to my machines. Finally got my grand-daughter wall quilt complewted and look forward to hanging it over Thanksgiving visit to PA.
I am soooo behind in my list of projects I want/need to complete. I have decided for the time being that I have a few traditional quilts to focus on since they are owed as gifts to a few special buddies. Of course there is also Christmas holidays coming so I have decided to put my stack of to be quilted aside for a while till a few of "my must get done" projects are checked off my list.
I hope to keep up with my posting while I work through my list and will strive to stay focused. ;-))) WISH ME LUCK!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Always trying to confuse myself ;-)

So remember those mindless nine block squares I signed on to make this summer (some group on FB or a blog ;-)
Well maybe I should start calling mine 3 block rows instead? lol lol  I figured since  I finally got Brynn's wall quilt completed I would try to get a couple lap size quilts completed in a hurry just for fun?.. I was calling it my no brainer sewing, just go with the flow..... lol lol   Well maybe I should have labeled this brainteasers instead?  I always seem to make projects harder then they should be due to my brain's thinking pattern possibly? I'm always asking myself  "what if?"  Maybe these photos will help you understand what I mean? SO I am learning that sometimes it might just better to go with the flow and NOT ask the "Hmmm what if?" ;-)
Stay tuned......
I first used strips to create 3 rows and cut them to 3 inch blocks started placing them on my design board into various places to create 9 block squares.

Then I asked myself, what IF I really made the various 9 block squaresmatchy match?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Finally seeing the end of the tunnel...

I finally got in a complete afternoon of quilting today ;-) I must admit it felt great! There was some frustration I admit since I had a huge learning curve taking place. I completed the quilting on the wall quilt  I've had promised my daughter to decorate Brynn's bedroom wall. I am posting  photos showing the process or steps I completed. Tomorrow all I have to do is sew some binding and a hanging sleeve on and it will be complete. ;-) It's always a good feeling to see one of my ideas come full circle and it even totally work out as I designed. ;-) The size of this quilt is 3 ft high and 4 ft wide,  perfect to decorate my grand-daughter's new bedrrom of their new PA house.
first painted some primed canvas
cut the canvas in pieces and created a composition
constructing the wall quilt by sewing the pieces of canvas together....yes that is masking tape versus pins
 quilt top loaded on HQ16

Quilting and final piecing
adding some thread work details
close up of quilting

detail close up
finished waiting to be squared up

Surprisingly though the canvas seem to cause thread breakage, the back does not look that bad.;-)
Quilt has been squared up and is ready to have binding. It felt good to be back in the studio!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Just noticed it's been a little over a week?

Just curious if any other bloggers are losing their habit of posting due to other programs that we tend to use that will give us instant gratification in getting out photos or our thoughts into the Cybercafe-world?  Yes, meaning Facebook or other social networking programs?  I know these sure have caused a ripple effect in my posting habits. Sadly habits I had worked long and hard on.  ;-) lol  Oh well...enough excuses...
So I have been a little down this past week fighting my annual begin of fall season allergies so have actually been laying a little low to try to beat a sinus cold. As usual though I try to keep art happening all around me. ;-)
shell grandma created
So if you recall I was visiting my daughter a couple weekends ago to help with some yard work in PA. Before we drove up She had mentioned that she was hoping to create a special Halloween costume for my grandson Caleb. I had to "google" Lightening McQueen since I had no idea who that might be ;-) Heck I'm still stuck in Toy story Land. Anyway I grabbed a few items I had on hand: Core-board, some old film reels and their containers, you know stuff that I am trying to get rid of from my art teaching days ;-)) Sunday before we headed back to VA I began constructing the armature for the car my daughter had in mind, or so I hoped it was what she had in mind?  So this is what it looked like before I left. The rest was going to have to be up to Keli to complete since we had run out of time...

Caleb enjoying himself in the Halloween parade
I am thrilled to report that the costume is as my grandson Caleb emailed me "Awesome!!!" and I totally AGREE! Seeing the end result flashed me back to my own childhood.
Finished costume

"My mother used to make us the very best Halloween costumes every year!"  I mean she went for the bang, she loved for us to win the best handmade costume award!!! and we did consistently ;-)   I would like to thank my daughter for flashing back such great memories!

So the other art that is slowly happening ...I've got the canvas piece loaded and waiting for me to quilt on the HG16, will be interesting to see how the threads and needles work through the canvas, so a definite learning curve.
I have some mindless 9 piece squares going on, (this was actually a challenge posted on some one's blog this summer, I'm a little behind)

I'm still struggling or dragging on completing the re-piecing of my black and white piece I began wk two in July w/Nancy Crow. It  amazes me how much a design may change from the original design on design board to the completed sewn piece. I am still working on understanding how to build in the necessary 1/4 seam allowances automatically while designing spontaneously. ;-))) It's starting to become clearer I think? I am determined to have this piece end up as close to my original design as possible so I am having to fudge by adding some extra white or black along the way.  I imagine sooner or later my brain will accept this. ;-))) Remember the saying "Practice makes perfect"?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Back to making some art...

So I am trying to get back to a few of my on going projects. The first project I hope to complete is my grand-daughter's wall quilt. It was requested that the theme be a castle, (think Scottish castle) So here are a few of the steps I have completed so far... I decided to use painted canvas instead of fabric so first step of the process was to paint canvas. 
I'm making this a quick post so I can get back to work.  Here are photos of the piece so far....
Enjoy my photos and I'll try to be back to post soon.....
Step one: I painted canvas I've taped to my basement floor.
Next cut up canvas and create the composition

Now I sew the pieces together yup that's masking tape instead of pins holding it together

Close up of stitching.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I'm seeing the end of the tunnel ;-)

So my purging and re-organizing is still under way but  I am getting closer though to the end of my tunnel.... To reward myself  I took some time off during the past few days to just sit and sew ;-). I completed piecing my little Crow piece and I am pleased to be done with it!  I should state " it is as done as it will be"  since I do not have anymore of the fabric from this assignment so it became sort of became a point of "just be happy with what you got". I keep remembering though as mentioned in one of my older postings: " It's an exercise /or assignment...we complete them to learn from them. YAY!!!!  I am ready to move forward.... ;-) lol

Hard to see in this photo but this is strips of painted canvas
So today besides doing some endless paperwork, listing some old books online hoping to sell off cheaply to new homes, along with completing some other stuff  I  got back to working on my castle wall quilt.  I am creating this piece for my grand-daughter Brynn's room. I have the composition basically set and will begin to piece the canvas into one large piece and then detail or quilt it on my HQ16.
Possibly by next week I can get this piece completed and sent off. It's a shame I did not center on the piece this week since we head to PA tomorrow to return my grand-dog Rogue back to the daughter's family (we've been dog sitting).
We get to visit the grand-babies ;-) but also have 2 days of yard work ahead of us. We are going to help them tear out most of the old landscaping around their new/old house. [They moved from Denver CO to PA this past June and we had told them when they moved in that we would come in the fall to help.] Wish us luck! All we can do it try.  I sure hope the old bushes, etc. there presently are not too deep rooted ;-) our poor old bones...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Took a break and got re-aquainted with my machine for an evening...

So enough was enough purging...I took some time last night to sew and am trying to complete the little study that was assigned this past summer during my two week stint with Nancy Crow. It's been staring at me from design board for weeks ;-) ha-ha so imagined this figured into my purging and re-organizing chores. This needs to be finished and tucked off as a learning experience. ;-) Some have asked me why finish it? 'Heck the class is over, so just chuck it?' My thoughts though are: "It's meant to be an exercise or learning opportunity and if I chuck it what have I learned?"  I do believe the more practice pieces or exercises I complete the more I  learn about piecing or designing my own work.
My original design pinned on board.
I am always amazed at how designs can change as I sew the pieces together. If the design were a symmetrical design the shrinkage would be much easier to control or possibly be balanced. Here are some photos to hopefully help you understand what I am attempting to share or discuss.
 The process: First sew strips of fabric together selvage to selvage, Strips are 3/4 inch on up.
After you have completed your strips cut them into shapes and then work the shapes into a design.
When you are content with your design complete the piece by sewing the pieces together.
Sounds simple ;-) but when you are new to this process you don't automatically remember that the pieces will lose 1/4 inch on the edges as you piece them, and this can drastically change the design. Remember some of these strips are already sewn into little puzzle like pieces.
Piece so far, think small 12in x 13in..

Hoping you can follow what I mean when I say this is a definite learning exercise at least for me. Each piece I complete I feel I come closer to understanding the process of piecing and how it will play a huge part in my own design process. I feel I am getting close to understanding the shrinkage in this technique.
Now to coordinate this process with the way my brain thinks. ;-) lol...
JUST Remember be spontaneous and No over-analyzing!