Sunday, May 31, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Patches Questions Answered

I'm struggling here - I can't get a photo to upload for this post!!!  I've been trying for a few days now.  Oh well, forgive the lack of a photo!

Someone had asked how big the Patches quilt is.  I wanted to post a photo of me standing in front of the quilt so you could see for yourself.  Let's just put it this way - his head on the quilt is much bigger than mine - my head could probably fit in his mouth, but let's not give him any ideas.  The quilt is about 47 inches across by about 35 inches tall.  Give or take.  I have measured it, but the exact numbers fail me at the moment.

What machine did I use and is it stitch regulated?  The entire quilt top was hand appliqued, except for a bit of machine felting I added at the end, felting some yarn pieces here and there to add some dimension.  I quilted it on my Brother 1500S domestic machine.  It's not a long arm and it's not stitch regulated.  As with anything, machine quilting takes lots of practice.  I really took my time with quilting "Patches," and I'm pleased with the results.  It's by no means perfect, but I'm satisfied.  Stitch regulation is always a challenge when free motion quilting on a non-regulated machine.  I'm finding I have better luck when I slow down my speed.  I used to quilt everything at top speed, thinking that was the way to go.  But the faster the speed, the less control I have.  So I'm trying to slow the speed down, thus gaining more control and accuracy.

I'm trying to take the same approach to life lately.  I've always been a rusher - rush to make the bed, rush to empty the dishwasher, rush to chop an onion.  But in my ongoing battle against stress,  I'm finding that slowing everything down helps calm me and thus give me more control.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Topsy Turvy Makeover

Thanks again to everyone who was thinking about me last week.  I'm still getting e-mails of support, celebration, and prayer.  You all mean so much to me, even though I haven't met most of you personally!

Remember me talking about my Topsy Turvy Upside Down Tomato Planter?  And how ugly it was?  I decide to give it a makeover this week.  I started by lightly spraying it with black paint.  Then I used some patio acrylic paints to add some colorful flowers.  I don't know that the tomato plant appreciates its updated home, but I do.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I had good news today - I have a cluster of  benign cysts in my left breast, nothing more!  Yay.  Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to send me good wishes and prayers.  I've gotten tons of e-mails, too many to answer personally, but thank you all!

Before I got the good news, I did some research on breast cancer.  Did you know that it can be caused by stress?  I didn't!  I've had an extraordinary amount of stress in my life since the first of this year, so I was convinced that the test results would not be good.

But how do I rid my life of stress?  I wish I could snap my fingers and make it all go away.  But life doesn't work like that.  And much of the stress will continue to be around.  I guess I need to learn to deal with it better.  Easier said than done.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bibbity Bobbity Boob

Last time I checked, the calendar said it was May.  But my Christmas cactus is blooming and I'm confused.  You may remember it bloomed last year in late November, just in time for Thanksgiving.  And now it's at it again.  I've never, EVER, had it bloom twice in a year.  I hope it's a lucky sign; I could use a bit of luck in my life right now.

This came in the mail Thursday:
"Your bilat digital screening mammogram performed May 12, 2009, shows the need for further evaluation.  We would like you to have a left breast ultrasound."

My first thought was that this is not a good time to have to deal with this.  But then I realized that this letter would never come at a good time in anyone's life.  Who am I to think that the everyday challenges I'm already facing at the current time are more important or pressing than any other woman who has recently received the same letter?  

I'm sure the ultrasound will turn up nothing.  At least I think I'm sure.  I hope I'm sure.  Maybe I'm just hoping and praying.  Hoping and praying for peace within my little world.  Hoping and praying for my daughters' futures.  Hoping and praying they never get a letter like this.  And hoping and praying the ultrasound will be the end of this little drama.

In the meantime, I'm trying to focus on cleaning my studio.  It is in quite a mess since finishing the Patches quilt.  There is something therapeutic about folding fabric, sweeping the floor, and wiping down surfaces.

The test is Tuesday afternoon.  If you don't mind, please say a little prayer for me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I'm Back!

Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging, and that's been the case for me in the last week.  But I'm back and I'm done!  I finished the machine quilting early Monday morning and put the last stitch on the binding late Monday afternoon.

But I have a confession to make.  I REALLY wanted to use a black and white striped binding on this quilt - my FAVORITE binding!  And no, I didn't have any of this fabric in my stash.  So I broke down and purchased 1 yard of fabric specifically for this quilt.  I used a 40% off coupon, so I only spent a few dollars.

Thanks, Emily, for the photographs - you did a great job, as usual!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Flower Power

Today my art group met here at my house.  We've been together for a few months now, and I can truly say we've bonded as friends.  We are all supportive of each other's unique talents, and we enjoy sharing with each other.  These women make me happy!

Today we experimented with coloring and painting on quilted sandwiches, revealing their texture, and enhancing the quilted images.  I had my camera at the ready, but forgot to use it.  So sorry!

So you'll just have to see my little experiment.  Here's the before image.  I quilted this quickly yesterday, playing with flowers and grass shapes.

Here's the after shot.  To color my piece, I used Judy R.'s Inktense Pencils.  She got them from Dick Blick.  To get this effect, I colored directly on the fabric, and then used a paintbrush to add textile medium over the colored area.  The medium intensified the colors.  I had great fun with these, and have added these pencils to my list to buy after August, when I can buy again.
I've been quilting away on Patches.  I'm taking my time, as much as I can.  I'm pleased with the results so far.  I'm post a progress picture soon.

Friday, May 1, 2009