Wednesday, December 28, 2011

We had a wonderful Christmas celebration

We drove all day through yucky rain, yet I'm glad to state it was NOT snow or ice. ;-) and we are home.
I found out my last handmade Christmas present made it's way to the recipient today so I can now post photos of what I managed to paint the week before my trip to MI.
I began making nanny chairs along with matching baby quilts about 6 years ago. The first two recipients were my nieces Christy and Carrie. The baby quilts w/matching hand painted "time out chairs" as we nick-named them due to the then popular 'Nannie TV Show' were for their girls Riley and Mya.
Since then I have made I think about 9 sets?? Well my nephew Ryan has a new son Mason and I made the baby quilt and it was given as the shower gift but I still owed them the chair.
So here it is along with a second chair I painted as a surprise Christmas gift for another couple:
I was in a time crunch so sadly set up shop in my dining room

yup my dining room

At the same time was working on another chair in my basement work area.
Notice my sketch book below with my ideas for while I work.

Mason's chair matches fabric from a baby quilt

I had picked up this bench a while ago
always had a feeling it could become something special
little did I know my son's good friends would have twins someday ;-)
So how's this for a "double time out chair" haha?
Got to say "better them then me "
I heard tonight it matches their room. ;-)

This is Mason's time out chair completed.
This is my grand-daughter "Charlotte" on Christmas day trying Mason's chair out
but let me clarify she was NOT in time out ;-)

So as I mentioned we are back home in VA, hubby and I had a wonderful Christmas holiday.
Next weekend we get to head to PA to see the rest of our grandchildren to celebrate with them a belated Christmas and a Happy New Year (we're baby sitting)….please stay tuned….

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Yay! Reporting the Handmade gifts were appreciated by all...

So Christmas 2011 has come and gone ;-( but happily can post that the creations I was able to complete in time to be given as gifts this year were well received…so now I can finally post some photos…
but my first photo is of something handmade that I was lucky enough to have received…mine is the red and green tree and the brown with gold belongs to Heather and Brian (my youngest son) both were made by Heather's mom Kim, I am so excited to have received one of the 6 she made this year.
Wine cork Christmas trees created by Kim
Next I will post a few photos of some of my creations along with a few photos of some of the recipients…
My wine cork creation for Brian and Heather  (their wine corks)
This photo canvas was actually my hubby's creation for son JB, photos from his "Tough Mudder "2011 race.

Son Brian's Rock concert t-shirt quilt

Brian demonstrating how comfy the quilt is.

Heather's t-shirt quilt with soft 'minky' backing

Nieces Christy and Carrie received two of my shibori silk scarves

Will end the post with photo of my favorite my mom with her special request lap quilt /special size just for her.
We had a wonderful Christmas, hope you all did too!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's holiday gift giving time…so tell me please

Do you enjoy making gifts for your families or friends?
Are you lucky enough to have family that enjoys receiving your creations?
I can always remember enjoying an opportunity to make items to give as gifts since I was young, fast forward a little and I became a poor college art student and family members proceeded to be stuck with handmade creations from me possibly a batik, a weaving, stain glassed items… I guess it became tiring to some of my family members because I can still remember the year it was announced "No more handmade gifts please" from that day forth all gift exchanges were to be bought not handmade.  Since I was basically the only member of my immediate family that made gifts I always knew who the comment was mostly directed to.  ;-(
Fortunate for me my children have always enjoyed receiving handmade creations from their mother in fact so much so that some years it has become a joke between us to see what mom can come up with or some years there are even requests or directives.  I ENJOY coming up with new hand made items to give as gifts.
Here are a couple examples:
painting my grandson's name paintings

my first baby quilt and matching chair 6-7 years ago

So as per my usual I have been busy making gifts for this holiday season.
Sadly I was not able to complete a couple quilts I had hoped to give out over the holidays due to an unexpected 3 weeks in Mi late November/early December but happily [for me] I did manage to get most of my projects or gifts completed…

shibori stitched hand dyed silk

pole wrapped shibori hand dyed silk
I will give some of my hand dyed silk scarves as gifts to family members of mine that do enjoy receiving hand made items.  I AM Wishing everyone a very MERY CHRISTMAS and a Joyous NEW YEAR.

PS: To this day I also remember NOT to burden the family member/s who made the request " Please NO more handmade gifts, store bought only " ;-)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sometimes life can kick you in the stomach

It's been a while since my last post and as the subject line states….sometimes life CAN kick you in the stomach. The weekend before Thanksgiving my mother who is 87 fell and sadly broke her femur bone of her right leg, just above her knee replacement. Suddenly there was emergency surgery to be scheduled, my father who is 90 had to be considered since my mother is his full time caretaker. They have been married for 66 years. So my sister flew in from FL and I flew in from VA to MI where one of my other sister's was holding down the fort so to speak. The next 3 weeks of my life I barely care to remember.
Mom's leg = 75 staples

Thankfully my mother made it through her surgery and will NOW be convalescing most likely in a rehab/nursing home for 90-120 days. We quickly had to move them out of their senior apartment and my dad is presently staying in a dementia care center.
Dad visiting with Mom

Dad saying goodnight before I took him back to his new residence

So I spent Thanksgiving in MI with my lovely nieces Carrie and Christy's families along with my dad
and my hubby spent Thanksgiving in PA with my son JB, his wife Claire and our grand-daughter Charlotte at Claire's folks Wendy and Ian's lovely home.
Handsome hubby w/ Son JB,Wife Claire and our grand-daughter Charlotte
Thanksgiving in PA 2011

My dad and niece Carrie and her daughter Rayna
Thanksgiving in MI 2011

The morning after Thanksgiving my husband attended without me a home inspection for the home we were very excited to be in the process of purchasing.  Early Monday morning he left to Hawaii for his business trip minus me ;-( which actually hurt him more then me because he desperately wanted to be in MI helping us.
Well fast forward 3 weeks later…my braincells are shot, I'm back in VA and I am so behind being ready for the Holidays. Doubtful there will be cards sent out this year and very sad to report the home my husband and I were very excited about finally finding to purchase hit a few glitches with us cross country from each other and then the seller's realtor so as stated "SOMETIMES life does kick you in the stomach" but take it from me you just need to try hard to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and Trust that the Lord has your back.
So it's been back to the studio for me…thankfully I have finished putting the binding on two of the quilts I had started before I rushed to MI along with a good start on completing a few other Christmas projects meant to be presents. I can post this one since sadly I know my mom is without internet presently so she will not see if before she receives it for Christmas. She requested I make her a special sized quilt for her to use in her recliner should come in handy presently while she is in wheelchair. ;-( recovering.
Mom's new quilt
Christmas present 2011

Special sized quilt requested by Mom
So back to the studio tomorrow for me….that is after I first get a haircut so I feel like a person again ;-)
Nothing like creating Art to make one's soul feel better!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I've got to stay focused...

So lucky me…we had a fabulous weekend in NJ watching my son participate in his first tough mudder competition…I thought he was crazy BUT HE did us proud!! and we all had a lot of fun taking photo's and cheering him on…his wife, toddler Charlotte, his inlaw's Wendy and Ian and my hubby Bill and me…

see the guy in the green shorts 

again he's the one in the green shorts…jumping

he smiled the whole time
My son the "Tough Mudder"!

Back in VA and I have to try to keep focus with my quilting if I am going to get my Christmas projects completed in time…lucky for me I have the Rock concert t-shirt quilt top quilted and cut off the HQ16. Tomorrow time to load up another quilt top. the rock concert t-shirt quilt top turned out to be 78 x 91 inches, still needs to have binding sewn on. Sure wish I could figure out how to gage shrinkage on quilt tops…still something that always catches me off guard.
Can't reveal the quilt at this time…you can peek at an old post for it's design.
Another quilt top in process….
Well tomorrow is another day…..

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Break time…here are some coming attractions...

Silly me loaded my HQ16 with the quilt top that is going to take me the longest to complete!!!! geeeshhhh
wonder where my brain was as I picked this quilt top out of the 3 I have ready to quilt?
So here are some pics from my morning work….

Quilting the t-shirt quilt top

This is going to take longer then I realized

Then I have another quilt top in process but need to talk to the recipient to see if this is what she has in mind so I have put it aside until next week since I get visit the recipient in NJ this weekend. ;-)

Eventually will be a double size bed quilt

Well for now break time is over…..heading back to the cutting table to begin another of my hopeful Christmas presents. See you later gators…….

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Last weekend flew by and then such a busy weekend!

I missed posting Halloween photos…but I want to show off the "Robin and Wonder Woman" costumes I made for two of my grandchildren and of course I cannot neglect to include a photo of my grand-daughter the "Lion's cheerleader"…so will begin my post with grandkid photos:

So you can see Halloween was fun…
Last week flew by lots of quilting time finally, in fact I have 3 quilt tops waiting for me to load onto the HQ16. Christmas is around the corner so I need to stay focused if I am to finish the many projects I have in mind.
Here's what I've got done so far…
Son's Rock concert t-shirts

Special sized requested lap quilt

Christmas present so cannot reveal yet

Managed to load the HQ16 with the Rock Concert Quilt
Then our weekend was really busy with a road trip to PA viewing various area's and properties in hopes of finding a retirement home, gotta keep trying there...……….
Tomorrow I hope to begin quilting on the HQ16….

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I am on a roll, I hope I keep this up...

Everyone seems to be counting down the days to Christmas already...and yup Halloween has not yet passed us by.....
But you see in Quilting land the countdown is being shouted out to try to help us quilter's keep track of our time, some of us have hopes of completing some projects in time to give as gifts this Christmas "yup this year" ;-) Notice "the this year". 
Well I have been on a good roll this past week, I hope I can keep the pace.....
Here is the second quilt top completed and now waiting in line for the HQ16. I have a couple more tops I want to complete before I begin quilting them.
This quilt is a special request by my mom; she asked for a special sized quilt to use while she sits in her lazy boy. It seems the other quilts I made her seem to bulky or heavy so by special request here it is:
This quilt is long and skinny sized special for my mom.

And notice my next photo, it will give you a hint of what project I am working on now...
[Also notice in the photo's background my mom's quilt top with the Minky backing I will be backing her quilt with to make it as my one son stated "SO SOFT!"

Heather's t-shirt quilt in next in line.
So it's back to the sewing machine for me...... Hope you ENJOY!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rock Concert Quilt Top is ready to.......

So I have completed the rock concert t-shirt quilt will be put aside for a little while before I roll it on my HQ16  to quilt. It is amazing how heavy this quilt is already due to the t-shirts? I am trying to decide whether to quilt as two layers or 3, meaning my son has requested the backing be soft, meaning "Minky" as it's back so that in itself can also be heavy then add a layer of cotton batting and wow!?
Oh well time will tell...... I'll let you know in the future my decision....
So here is a peek...and the bed it is laid on for photo is our queen size guest bed so yup this is a huge lap quilt. Even with the shrinkage quilting will cause I believe he will have at least a nice size full bed quilt.
Quilt top completed next step: Mid-arm quilting

This is a queen size mattress, but I know there will be some shrinkage when quilting is added.

Oh I forgot to possibly explain my last steps of process? 
As I explained in past posts; Gather your t-shirts, cut them apart then iron them, next iron on light interfacing of your choice, then lay out the t-shirts so you can see what you have to work with and semi decide on design, next cut the t-shirts into their rectangles. At this point I tried to work down my columns and cut the t-shirts to be sewn in each column the same width.  After my 4 columns were sewn in strips I then attach each column together to complete the 4 column quilt top. At this point I was not happy with the width versus height so I took leftover backs of the black t-shirts and created two 5 1/2  inch wide  strips that I sewed to the edges both sides. You can possibly notice the strip in my first photo. I have enough black t-shirt material to make a border for the bottom edge of quilt top and probably will do this before I quilt the top. But for right now I've got a crock pot calling out to me to stir. Hope you enjoyed.

This was last evening...3 columns sewn 1 more to add but looking too skinny to me

Friday, October 28, 2011

Almost done...

I am close ....very close to having the Rock Concert t-shirt quilt-top sewn more column to add and it will be ready for me to quilt...
Sadly I just ran out of steam tonight so it will have to wait till tomorrow for completion...
Here's a peek.... I figure it's safe to post photo because it's doubtful my son reads my blog....

One more column to attach...
See you tomorrow....

Promised to post more process along the way

So I am coming along on the t-shirt quilt. Now if I did not share with you the theme of this t-shirt quilt is Concerts, dare I call them Rock Concerts not sure anymore if Pantera, Poison or Metallica are classified Rock? lol but heck these are my son's t-shirts.
So let's back track I mentioned you #1 cut the t-shirts apart, #2 & #3 iron on some type of light interfacing of your choice. The next step at least for me was to organize the t-shirts into rows seeing how the sizes could coordinate and hopefully balance the designs & colors. After placing the t-shirts all into rows I realized there are enough t-shirts for me to complete this quilt top using only t-shirts, not sewing borders of fabric to each square as I have in the past. Here is an example of one of my past t-shirt quilts.
Son JB's College Football Quilt

A lot of my other t-shirt quilts have had t-shirts of many different sizes so to make them all intermix into a cohesive design I used borders of coodinating fabrics.
Well this quilt top should be large enough thanks to the load of t-shirts my son Brian has AND the t-shirts are all about the same size so I am hoping to sew them basically into columns then sew the columns together into a quilt top.
Here are the t-shirts placed into 4 columns
So today I got the lap quilt-top sewn together and began trimming the t-shirts and managed to begin sewing the first column together.....
lap quilt top and 1st column of Concert t-shirt quilt top
Tomorrow it will be back to the sewing machine...
I am hoping to have both quilt tops completed by tomorrow end of day....because as I mentioned I have so many projects and so little time till Christmas.....