Saturday, March 30, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Instead of Sewing...

I'm experiencing so many new things since living in Auburn.  Today hubby and I went to the Southeastern Conference Championship for Equestrian.

Beautiful horses.

Talented riders.

Beautiful weather.

It was a fun morning!

This afternoon my in-laws came for a visit.  Tonight I was too pooped to go to the baseball game, so hubby went alone.

Tomorrow I'll do a bit of Easter cooking, but HOPEFULLY I'll be able to fit some sewing into my day.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Sad Week...

Lovely Luna, Daughter 2's kitty, lost her fight Tuesday night.  Poor baby - only lived just over a year.  Daughter 2 is having a rough go of it, but we're all trying to hold her up.  Wouldn't you know she has a HUGE midterm today?  She will persevere, I know!

Here are a couple of quilts made by friends, brought to our small sewing group earlier this week.  This one is a Bonnie Hunter free pattern and will be donated to a local hospice program.

And I believe this was a local block of the month.  Beautiful....

As for me, I'm trucking along on some handwork.  Love me some slow sewing....

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I Made the Deadline!

I did it! I made this little quilt in a matter of a few days...making the deadline for the local art competition. Whew! You know I love my hexies, but it was nice to do something different over the weekend.  I call it "THE SUN IS SHINING THROUGH."

The voting is done on Facebook.  There are 41 entries.  Voting will continue through March 31, and then the top ten will be judged by former winners of this competition to declare the winner, which I believe will be sold in the Auburn Art store.  If you would like to vote, you need to be on Facebook and "Like" the site  Then you can vote for my piece which is on the second page of entries.  Here's the Facebook link:  Auburn Art Contest.

Here's a shot of Mickey Blue Eyes enjoying the sun today.  It was a bit chilly though, and he was more than ready to come back inside!

I'm sending lots of love to Daughter 2 and her kitty, Luna, tonight.  Luna is sick.  She just turned one year old a few days ago, but now is not expected to make it.  We are sad.  :(

Monday, March 25, 2013

Photographing Quilts

I don't know about you, but photographing quilts is always a challenge for me.  Where to do it?!!!!

After six months in our new home, I finally figured out a solution here.  We have a trellis "wall" surrounding our back patio:

Hubby found some big hooks (meant to hang over attic beams) we had at our old house.  But any big S hooks would have worked, too.  I put two of these hooks through the trellis and put a quilt on a curtain rod on the hooks.  Voila!

Can't wait to show you the entire quilt....

Here's the backside of another quilt I photographed this morning.

I love the little back detail  - leftover squares from the front of the quilt.

I know these photos aren't good enough for submission to a juried show, BUT for my current purposes they are just right!

How and where do you photograph your quilts?  Inside?  Outside?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lots of Love to My Readers...

Here are a couple of works from the fiber arts show in Montgomery.

Yes, it's a 3-D quilted castle!

I want to take a minute to thank you all for faithfully coming by to meet me here at the blog.  I'm grateful to you for taking a moment out of your busy schedule to check in here to see what's going on.  I reached a milestone recently: more than 100,000 page views.  WOW!  Extremely thankful!

And I'm also grateful to this wonderful hubby of mine for making it possible for me to do what I love: make quilts and share them with you.  He's the best!

And more thankfulness:  Quick and Easy Hexie Quilts is going to the printer TOMORROW!  Thanks to the American Quilter Society for making this possible.  They have been wonderful to work with, letting us review and edit every step of the way.

We were saddened to learn that the head of the publishing arm of AQS, Andi Reynolds, left AQS recently due to health reasons.  We wish you well, Andi, and appreciate your hard work on our behalf!  Thanks to our editor, Kathy Davis, for staying in close contact and helping us turn our ideas into a FABULOUS book, of which Peggy and I are very proud.

And a special thanks to Peggy Rhodes, my wonderful partner in crime hexies!  Peggy, you and I make a great team!  Peggy is very organized, professional, and kind.  We worked so well together!

Here's to another 100,000 page views!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Am I Finished Yet?

Perle Cotton.  Perle Cotton.  Perle Cotton.  Pushing the needle through these layers was not easy.  I could have used some pliers to help... but I was too lazy to go find them. :)

I'm going to put this away and look at it again tomorrow to decide if it needs anything else.  I have plans for some easier hand sewing tonight.

Art Quilt Progress

Okay, here it is this morning.  Not done yet!  I finished the quilt top yesterday morning and then added shading to the tree using Inktense Pencils dipped in fabric medium.  Next I added a bit of acrylic paint, also mixed with fabric medium.

Once all this was dry, I add the batting and backing, finishing the edges with a pillowcase edge instead of using binding.  Then came the machine quilting.  Click on the picture and maybe you can see the stitching better.  I used several different colors of thread.

Today I'll be doing some hand stitching with perle cotton to add more dimension and texture.  I'm planning to use some lighter blue threads on the sky to lighten it a bit.  Can't wait to get started on it today!

Here's where I was yesterday afternoon:  a small fiber art show in Montgomery!  I'll share some pictures soon.

After a lovely dinner, hubby and I rocked out with Elton John.  We had a great time!  Yes, we're a bit sleepy today but it was worth it.

I just noticed that you can see my reflection in that cellphone!  Can you see me there?

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Quickie Art Quilt

I took the plunge and did this much on the quilt top for the contest yesterday.  I'm the first to admit that it's a big mess right now!  I think I went too dark with some of the blues and the tree doesn't stand out as much as I'd like it too.  I think I can remedy that with some surface work with pencils and even a bit of paint if needed.

This is a different technique than I've used in the past for art quilts from photos.  Instead of my usual Fabric Photo Play technique, I'm using little bitty bits of fabric.  They are each held down with a tiny drop of fabric medium.  I didn't have anything else of hand and had no time to run to the store.  I figured that the fabric medium wouldn't harden up like glue and that I'll be able to stitch through it later.

Yes, there will be a TON of machine stitching on this - I must secure all those little pieces and I hope it will add movement and dimension to the piece.

I hope to finish the little quilt top this morning and maybe even do a bit of the surface color work.  Wouldn't you know I will be gone all afternoon?  The plan is to do the machine quilting over the weekend and be ready to photograph and submit it to the contest on Monday.  All a BIG IF!  Let's see if I can get it done!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Measure of Quilting Productivity

One way to measure quilting productivity is a stack of finished quilts.  But another way is empty thread spools.  I'm saving them this year - let's see how many I have at the end of the year.  As you can see by the orange plastic spools, I ONLY use Aurofil thread - LOVE IT!  I use it for making hexies, for hand appliqué, for machine piecing, for machine appliqué, stitching binding....everything!

And that white cylinder on the right?  It's an empty spool of perle cotton.  I used an entire spool of thread (plus some from another) in hand quilting the last project.  Yes, I did finish it yesterday (YAY!), but it took longer than I expected.  I put the final stitch in at 9pm last night after working on it ALL DAY!  Whew!

While on Facebook yesterday afternoon, I noticed a local art contest.  Hmmm.  Photos of entries are due by March 25.  Hmmm.  Dare I?  Can I make an art quilt in a few days?  I'm not sure.  But I think I'll give it a try.

One of the categories for the contest is the iconic oak trees downtown which were poisoned and are now dead.  The trees have been rolled with toilet paper after athletic wins (football, especially) for decades.  After the Spring football scrimmage in April, the trees will be rolled for their final time and then will be cut down.  :(  The university has big plans though for replacing them with something beautiful.

I took this picture standing under one of the dead trees a few weeks ago.  I love the contrast of the stately branches against the clear blue sky with the sun glowing through.

I played around with the photo in Photoshop and ended up with this which will be my pattern for the quilt.  Due to time constraints I'll be making this quilt small - maybe 8" x 10".  I'd prefer to work larger but....oh well.  It will be so nice to work on a project that I can actually share here on the blog!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A New Trick

I'm marathon quilting - determined to finish this quilt TODAY!  Yesterday I realized I'd have to unsew the binding - thank goodness I hadn't hand stitched it down yet!  So I ripped that baby off.  But then I was left with all these pesky little threads to remove...

I grabbed my cellophane tape, put a piece (sticky side down) over the little threadies....

I rubbed it down really well....

I pulled it off and out came the little threads!  I think I was channeling my inner desire to wax some unwanted hair.  :)  I made quick work of cleaning up the binding so I could stitch it down again - correctly this time!

I only have a tiny bit of hand quilting left on this.  Then I will hand stitch the binding and sleeve.  It WILL be finished today!!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hail Storm!

We caught part of the storm system which went through the South last night - early evening - in the form of hail.  Oh, it was noisy!  Most of the hail was marble sized though some was quarter sized.  The only damage we had was to our tulips.  They are pretty mangled this morning.  So many people had it much worse, so we are thankful for our lack of damage.

This adorable cup quilt was shown at yesterday's afternoon sewing group.  Sweet...

And there was also this beauty...gorgeous!

And here a nice pansy shot from out front yard.  (They may not look like this now - I took this photo Sunday.)

I'm hoping to have a finish today - Secret Project No. 4!  I just have a tiny bit of hand quilting left!  And Secret Project No. 5 is ready for quilting.  Secret Project No. 6 has officially been started - what fabrics did I choose?  I ended up going scrappy!  Yup, I'm still hoarding those pretty fabrics.  (Not that the scraps aren't pretty - they're like colorful little gems!)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

How I Spent National Quilting Day...

It was hard to justify quilting today because the weather was GORGEOUS! But not that hard. :)  I spent the afternoon hand quilting while watching a couple of episodes of The Quilt Show. Lovely way to spend an afternoon. I skipped the baseball game in order to sew.  I'll go to tomorrow's game though and take some sewing with me - best of both worlds!

Here's how Mickey spent part of the day.  Ahh, he loves rolling in the grass on a warm sunny day!  It's hard to believe that just over a year ago he had major back surgery and could hardly walk for weeks.  Now he can walk, run, play - anything he wants to do.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I'm a Guest Blogger!

Go check it out - I'm guest blogging today at Kelly's IHAN (I HAVE A NOTION) blog.  Click here! I have a feeling you may learn something new about me...

Blessings and prayers to Kelly and her family - her mom has recently been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.  Kelly has been at the hospital with her round the clock.

Kelly has the most amazing online shop for quilters - check it out here!

Decisions, decisions.  What fabric to use next???  I could go for this bright and cheery Kaffe collection.   Yummy!

Or how about this more subdued and masculine collection by David Butler (Amy Butler's husband)?  Men are designing some great quilting fabrics, aren't they????

Or I could go the way of SCRAPPINESS!  I love a happy quilt made from scraps!  Hmmm, what will it be?  I'm gonna have to think on it.....

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Perfectly Imperfect!

Here's a sneaky peaky at the quilt I was talking about earlier.  Perfect corner above.  TOO PERFECT!

And here's what I've done to another previously perfect corner.  A little slice of a different fabric!  I'm loving it!

I know this is not for everyone!  Some people (ahem, Peggy!) would never do this!  But trust me on this one.  If you could see the entire quilt you'd see how this imperfect border fits in wonderfully with the quilt as a whole.

Yesterday I finished cutting all TWENTY FIVE clues for my guild's mystery quilt.  All steps are in baggies with neat little labels.  Ready for March's instructions!

Despite my wants, today I'll take a break from the hand quilting.  Okay, I'll admit hands are bothering me a bit.  Must not overdo!  Maybe I'll start working on a new Secret Project?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Loving the Hand Quilting!

There's just something about hand quilting.  It speaks to slowing down and enjoying the process.  In this world of rush and hurry and get MORE done, it's quite the opposite.  Take your time and enjoy the process.  I certainly am.

It's interesting how we change over the years.  When I was in my early years of quilting I hated hand applique and also hand quilting!  And now I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them both.  Maybe it says something about where I am in my life.  Life is about the journey!  And I'm loving the trip!

The tulips in our front yard are really gorgeous, aren't they?  It's so nice to see some Spring color coming in.

Yesterday we parked at the condo and walked across campus (diagonally, no less!) to go to the baseball game.  We could park closer, but we're trying to walk more.  Hubby and both got our 10,000 steps in yesterday!  Anyway, I spotted this beautiful, shiny foliage on our walk.  I love the red veins.

Some of the stems are red, too.  Lovely!

I spotted this cool pattern, too.  May have to design a quilt with this - crosses and circles together.  Very interesting!  I have a LOOOONG list for today - better get going!  Happy Monday!