Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Mickey Christmas!

To all my wonderful readers, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Photo Reveal

It's me!  Click on the photo to see the effect up close and personal.

I still haven't gotten back to sewing, but it's tough with company staying here to find the time. Maybe tomorrow I'll have time to stitch a bit.  I hope so!

Elizabeth is hobbling around, still in a bit of pain, but overall doing well.  We had a nice drive around town looking at Christmas lights tonight.  Tomorrow we'll go to the Christmas Eve service at our church and eat dinner at my parents.  Mom has been cooking for days!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I'm Playing Again

I've been playing with photo editing again.  This is a portion of a photo that I've been working on.  Can you guess what it is?  The answer will be revealed tomorrow.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Doggy Christmas

Santa came a bit early for the dogs around here.  He left a version of himself in the dogs' Happy Howlidays stocking.
Have I mentioned that dachshunds have no patience?  They absolutely couldn't wait.  So they've been very happily enjoying Santa for a few days now.  Unfortunately, Santa has lost one leg in the process of their camaraderie with him.

Elizabeth's foot surgery went well this morning, though she's in some pain and on crutches.  One thing I've learned about surgery (of any kind!) is to take the doctor's explanations of the recovery progress and throw them out the window.  If they say the surgery will be a breeze, you can walk on your foot immediately, you won't need crutches, don't believe them!  

She's on some pretty strong pain meds.  We just put her to bed and hope she'll sleep a LONG TIME!  Hopefully tomorrow the pain will be reduced.  

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mickey Monday

Don't think I'm ditzy (even though I am!); I know it's not Monday quite yet.  But Monday will be a crazy day around here, so I thought I'd better do this post today.  As you can see, I've made a little more progress, but not much.  Tis the season!

Emily's fiance left Friday to spend Christmas with his family.  Elizabeth's boyfriend will be arriving today for a week.  And tomorrow morning, Elizabeth is having some minor foot surgery.  You may remember that last Christmas Emily had to have thyroid surgery.  So yes, we have another Christmas with a hospital visit!  But with the kids in college, Christmas is usually the longest period of time they are home, so we have to fit these things in when we can.

Last night, the girls and I went shopping for a wedding dress.  What fun!  This was supposed to be the first of several stores we'd visit over the holidays.  But, wonder of all wonders, we found the PERFECT DRESS!  Trust me, it's gorgeous!! We bought the dress, veil, undergarments, and heirlooming kit.  What an accomplishment!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Candy for Artists

One day last week, Hubby arrived home from work and surprised me with this lovely box of candy.  Have you seen these?  Whitman Soho Artist Inspired Chocolates.  What a nice surprise! How did he know I'd had a rather blah day?  I guess after 25 year of marriages, he just sensed it. 

You'll have to click on this picture to see the detail on each piece of candy - my photography skills are lacking.  Aren't they beautiful?

It's interesting - now that Emily and Tommy are here, you'd think I wouldn't be blogging much. But I was really busier getting ready for everyone to be here.  The preparation is always the most time consuming part of the holidays, don't you think?  Now I can relax and enjoy having family here.  So I am.  And I even have time to blog!

Daughter 2 (Elizabeth) is driving home from Furman today; it's a five hour drive.  She should be home this afternoon - can't wait!!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More Quilt Guild Photos

Here are more pictures from show and tell from our guild meeting yesterday.  There were SO MANY beautiful quilts!

I was standing behind Gwen C at one point in the morning and took a picture of the back of her vest.  She bought a thrift store vest and added these cute appliques using her stash of vintage wool and rick rack.  Very cute!
I forgot to add a link yesterday to my new friend, Carrie's, blog - you can find her here.

Emily's fiance, Tommy, arrived this morning.  I love having young people here!  They made Chex snack mix this morning.  This afternoon we picked up my mother and had a nice Target shopping trip.  We bought some silver Christmas ornaments we'll use in centerpieces at the wedding reception.  The ornaments came in huge plastic cylinders - 40 ornaments per package.  We bought four of these.  On the way home, I went over a bump and one of the packages came open.  For the rest of the ride home we could hear the ornaments rolling around in the back of my car.  Luckily the ornaments are plastic so none broke.

We got tons of wedding planning done last night.  We finished our invitation list.  It had seemed like it would be a huge task, but with Hubby, Emily, and I working on it together, we were done in no time.  Maybe I'll sew tomorrow?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mickey Monday

Okay, so this is not the Mickey quilt.  This is the real Mickey.  Have you figured out why yet?  I haven't had time to sew at all this past week!  I've been busy with Christmas shopping, wrapping, house cleaning - all those pre-Christmas things.  Daughter 1 came home from Auburn for the holidays yesterday.  Her fiance will be here tomorrow.  Daughter 2 will be here the next day.  And her boyfriend will arrive during the weekend.  I know I'll get back to that quilt soon, though.
Today was our Christmas guild meeting, and I want to introduce you to my new friend, Carrie.  We met through my blog, and met in person for the first time today.  She came with me to the meeting.  I'll have lots more photos from the meeting tomorrow, I promise!  I need to stop writing now, because I'm supposed to be working on the wedding invitation list with hubby and Daughter 1.  Be back soon with more...

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Christmas Cactus

You may remember that last year my cactus bloomed at Thanksgiving instead of Christmas. But this year it's more on schedule.  I leave my cactus outside on our covered deck from Spring until the first frost, when it comes inside.  This year our first frost was later than usual.  I think this is why it's blooming later this year.  Whatever the case, I'm enjoying it!

The plant has a place of honor in the living room below the Patches quilt - it used to live on the kitchen table, but it's gotten too big.  I actually measured it yesterday - can you believe my Christmas cactus is more than 40 inches across!  More than a yard!  The quilt is 50 inches across.

I entered Patches in another contest recently.  I had entered him in one earlier this year, but he wasn't juried in.  So I'll try, try again.  I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm Soooo Dirty!

I'll tell you why I think I'm dirty....
Is there anyone out there who hasn't played Dirty Santa?  Everyone brings a wrapped gift. Everyone draws numbers, one through whatever.  The first person picks a gift, unwraps it, oohs and ahhs galore.  The second person can pick a gift or be dirty and steal the first person's gift. The game goes on until everyone has a gift.

So at my bee luncheon last week, we played Dirty Santa.  Each of us brought one yard of fabric which we'd gift wrapped.  Out of 11, I drew the number nine.  Yes, I know!  I was almost last, lucky me!  So I got to see 8 unwrapped pieces of fabric and pick from them or choose a surprise package.

So we went along playing, and NO ONE was stealing!  One person started to steal, but the person with the fabric said she didn't want her to take her fabric, so she didn't.  Let me tell you, this is a SWEET group.

But I'm not so sweet.  Not when playing Dirty Santa, anyway.  So when my turn came, I STOLE! I know, pretty dirty don't you think?  But I really wanted this gorgeous fabric!  Don't you love it!  It reminds me of push pins stuck into a black board, as in this artist with whom I'm currently obsessed.  Go on and check him out and I'll wait for you.  Be sure to enlarge the photos of his work to see what they're made from....

Isn't that amazing?!  I thought you'd like it.  So now maybe you can see why I'm such a dirty person.  I was the ONLY one who was dirty when we played last week.  Oh well.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mickey Monday

I've only added one new piece since last week, and it's not completely stitched in place.  My excuses include Christmas shopping, two Christmas parties, and one sinus headache.  The shopping is all but done (yay!).    We even got all the decorations up this weekend (yay!).  So I'm hoping there will be more sewing done this week.  Double yay!!

We can't wait for our daughters to get here for the holidays.  Plus we'll have Daughter 1's fiance for a few days and Daughter 2's boyfriend for a few days.  It will be fun to have a full house.

I took my mother Christmas shopping today.  She loves to shop this time of year, and I can help steer her toward gifts for my girls.  We had a nice morning.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Another Iteration

I told you I was obsessed!  I need to put down this computer and sew!  But doesn't Mickey look cute in hexagons?

I did take a break from playing with photos this morning, but not a break from the computer.  I did most of my Christmas shopping from the comfort of my recliner, via and my credit card.  Hubby called in the midst of my shopping spree to say the credit card had called him to verify the charges.  Yes, I had the plastic card smoking!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'm obsessed!

I've done little stitching over the last couple of days.  Somehow, for some reason, unbeknownst to me, I've been obsessed with playing with this photo on Photoshop.  Here's one iteration.  (Oh wow - iteration - that word brings back Engineering school memories!  Iteration usually meant figure it out by trial and error.)  Which brings me back to playing with the photo - lot's of trial and error!

What will I do with it?  I don't even know!  I'm just having fun, playing with a photo.  You might want to click on it to see it closer.

By the way, I did get my foot x-rayed and nothing is broken.  Yay!  But it still hurts.  Luckily it's not my sewing foot.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mickey Monday

As expected I didn't make a lot of progress this week, but after all it was Thanksgiving!  With both girls home, lots of shopping to do, and a turkey to roast, well, I had other priorities.  And I have to say, my turkey was delicious.  I immersed it in a homemade brine for 24 hours before roasting it.  It turned out so moist and flavorful.  I'll definitely do that again.

We skipped Black Friday shopping and opted for Saturday - a very wise decision.  The crowds were minimal and there were still plenty of good deals.  All in all, a great Thanksgiving week.

The only casualty was my foot.  On Thanksgiving night a frozen mac and cheese casserole decided to jump out of the freezer and attack my foot.  It hasn't slowed me down, but I may get it x-rayed today.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mickey Monday

Time for the first post showing the progress of the Mickey quilt.  It's hard to tell much about it at this point, but look closely to see his blue eyes.  I won't bore you by posting a photo every time I add a new piece.  Instead I think I'll post every Monday with a photo of this quilt.  So join me every week for a new Mickey Monday.  This is not the only quilt I'm working on, though.  So there will be other fun things to share in between Mondays.

I've enjoyed having Daughter 1 home since Friday.  Her engagement ring is so beautiful and sparkly!  Daughter 2 will be here tomorrow - can't wait!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgiving Prep

Yes, I've started the Mickey applique project...but just barely.  Tis the season!

We're hosting the family Thanksgiving at our house.  Nine people.  I'm doing the turkey, dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, rolls, and drinks.  Others will bring vegetables, sweet potatoes and dessert.  To me though, the cooking is the easy part.  It's getting the house "party ready" that is not so fun.  But I'm almost there!  Yay!

Tomorrow I'll slow down a bit, make a birthday cake for Daughter 1, and SEW!  I promise I'll post a picture of the Mickey quilt in progress during the next few days.  I've done his eyes, and a few other bits.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A New Beginning

I love starting a new quilt!  Of course, I love finishing a quilt, too, but somehow I start more than I finish. 

I finished the pattern for the Mickey quilt and took it to Kinko's for enlargement.  I'm talking ENLARGEMENT!  As the oversized copies came out of the printers, there were two men waiting to copy some blueprints.  They joked that I was printing wallpaper.  I enlarged the pattern 600%.  So now my little dog is five feet tall!

The next step was to trace the enlarged pattern onto a piece of muslin for the foundation of the applique.  Did I mention I'm hand appliqueing this portrait?  Yes, I know, it will take months, but that's okay.
I've decided to use solid fabrics only.  Here are some of them.  The purples and pinks on the bottom of the stack will be on his tongue, if you're wondering.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What Time is it?

I'm thinking it's time for another MAJOR portrait quilt - a BIG one.  I'm thinking this photo of Mickey.  I'm thinking I can't wait to get started!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Friday Flowers

I had to share with you this gorgeous arrangement I received Friday.  What a nice surprise!!! My new friend sent them in appreciation for the two quilts I made her to honor and remember her special dog, Masey.  I am so touched by her thoughtful gift!  Though I am years older than she is, and we've never met in person, we have a special bond through our love of dogs.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Football, Foliage, and Fun

Who'd have thunk it?  Our daughters' schools played each other in football yesterday!  The last time they played each other was in 1956, so it was a rare occurrence.  Hubby had a pass on the Furman sideline, so he wore purple.  Daughter 1 and her fiance wore their orange and blue and sat on the Auburn side.  Daughter 2 drove down with five Furman friends for the game.  As for me, I didn't even go to the game.  I waited at the in-law's lake house (which we took over for the weekend) for the gang to converge after the game.

But did I idly sit by?  No, I had a fun day all by myself working on a little tree.  My art group has a new challenge.  We're each making two tree blocks depicting different seasons.  Then will cut each block into four pieces, swap them, and reassemble so that each tree has four seasons.  We all have this tree sketch to use a rough guide, so our trees will be similar in size.
I drew out a stylized version on some white muslin and painted it with some textile paints.

So I came home from the lake today with my summer block done!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happiness is...

"Happiness is..." is the theme of our guild's challenge this year.  I'm still trying to figure out what my quilt will depict.  But for now, happiness is a finished quilt!  This top was made by my friend, Alison, and she asked me to quilt it.  Yes indeed, a happy quilt!  Click on the picture to see these cute houses more clearly.

Happiness is another finished quilt!  I finished the quilting on Miss Masey, then shipped it, along with the Tennessee Waltz quilt made from Masey bed, to it's owner.  The quilts have arrived safely and the owner seems very happy.  So I am very happy!
And finally, happiness is a sleeping dog!  Oh my, doesn't Oliver look so very comfy on the sofa.  When he's on the sofa, there's no room for anyone else.  And the pillow he's using?  It's mine!  You'd think he owned the place.  He is a sweetie.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Visiting South Carolina

Hubby and I went on a road trip this weekend - an overnight trip to South Carolina to visit Daughter 2 at Furman University.  On the way, we stopped to visit good friends who recently retired, moving from just around the corner to South Carolina.

Of course, I had to see her latest quilt creations!  Here is Brenda hiding behind a beautiful quilt.

And the close up shot...

This wonderful courtyard steps quilt was hanging in her great room.  The visit was quick - but it sure was nice.
Then on to Furman and the football game.  Since Daughter 2 is in the band, we go for the half time show that happens to be surrounded by some football.
Daughter 2 is out there on the field somewhere!
The band there is amazing!  It's not the biggest in number, but the sound they put out is HUGE and WONDERFUL!  And they have fun while they're at it.

Today, it was back to quilting for me.  I spent the morning quilting the doggy portrait.  Then I decided I didn't like what I'd done, so I spent the afternoon with a seam ripper in hand, ripping out most of the quilting.  Oh well.  Sigh.

Tomorrow is a new day.  And by the end of it, this little quilt will be done, and hopefully packed onto a FedEx truck to it's new home.

Friday, October 30, 2009

More Portrait Progress

Continuing from the last post, here are more pics from the creation of this special portrait.

I tried something new on this portrait.  Once I had all the fabric pieces fused in place, I used Derwent Inktense Pencils to add more shading where needed.  (My friend, Judy R. told me about these pencils.)  You can draw on fabric with them, then paint over them with a bit of textile medium.  The medium sets them into the fabric and also intensifies the color.

I really like the effect the pencils added.  Below you can see how I added shadows.  See how the khaki dotted fabric has been shaded?
And I was able to soften the edges of this white spot on the dog's chest.
And here's the finished quilt top!  The lettering at the bottom came from the dog's bedding.
Someone asked yesterday to explain my resources in making portraits.  Though many of you already know, many may not.  I developed this quick (and easy) method for creating portrait quilts from photographs several years ago.  My book (which explains the process) is Fabric Photo Play - it was published by AQS in 2005.  I still do it the same way - except for one little thing.  When I wrote the book, I used Microsoft Digital Image Pro software to help create my patterns.  Now I use Photoshop Elements.  But they work the same way and do the same thing.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Portrait in Progress

It's been some time since I made a quilt portrait, and it's been a joy to work on another one at long last!  And this one is so special.  Her name is Miss Masey.  Here it is so far.  I'll show more next time. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Wavy Quilt and a Happy Quilt

So here's the wavy quilt.  This is one I finished for someone - her aunt died before completing it.  It was already partially machine quilted, and I could tell it would be wavy no matter what I did to it, short of unsewing all the quilting, taking the quilt apart, and redoing tons of the work. I knew the recipient wouldn't want, nor expect, me to do that.  So I simply finished the quilting and added binding.  And I'm sure she'll treasure her aunt's quilt.  Better finished and wavy, then never finished.

And now for the happy quilt!  I'm currently quilting this wonderful quilt for a friend - it's from the book, Freddy's House, by Freddy Moran.  I smile just looking at the fun fabrics and happy houses!

Tomorrow will be a fun post - I'm working on a special doggy portrait.  I'll show photos of my progress - it's always fun to see a portrait progress.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Grid Quilting

I love to do grid quilting diagonally through squares.  This is a quilt I'm finishing for someone. It was made by this woman's aunt, who is now deceased.  The aunt's finished quilts were quickly snapped up by other family members.  The niece found this almost finished quilt for herself, and asked me to complete it.  Part of the quilting had been already done, so I only need to finish the quilting and bind it.
Got to love all this vintage fabric.  What a treasure this quilt is!