Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Oh, Balls!**

I'm back- did you miss me?
I forgot to include the other newest "balls" I have finished in my last post. Starting over seemed easier for some reason.

I got this awesome Christmas fabric a while back and am only now getting around to using it.  Coincidentally, this fabric is shown in Paula's newest book.  

 It's very hard to get good pictures of these- you just can't capture the sparkles.

 Even though she was the inspiration, this is the first one I have made using a Paula Nadelstern fabric.  I'm not sure I have used the largest size ball before, either.

This is my favorite medallion on this fabric- I think I have now done 4 of them.  

**I don't think my friend Kathi reads my blog, but if she does, she's giggling. :-)

Today I'm grateful I will have new kittens to cuddle!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Playing with the kids

Last Saturday I had a wonderful day with the grandchildren.  Days like these are why the saying goes, "If I had known how much fun grandchildren are, I'd have had them first!"

I went over there for a while so Mom could get some things done and run errands.  It doesn't feel like much help, but then I remember wishing for exactly this when mine were little. 

Jon was sleeping when I got there, so Kiara and I played air hockey in the basement.  I had never played before.  It was fun.

When he got up, he joined us in the newly set up workout room.  he teddy bears had been hibernating in the big box.  Jonathan found them in there and decided to join them and share his cheese fish.

Kiara was hiding in her house under the whatever machine that is.  Jonathan was delighted to find her!

Then he decided she needed some cheese fish, too.  

I had promised Kiara we'd have some girls time, so when Mom was caught up a bit, we came over to my house.  We put up an awesome blanket fort in the middle of the living room.  We watched Christmas videos, ate snacks, played games, and did some crafts in there.

Remember the fun dolls from retreat?  Kiara asked to make another one.  Hers is all black because it's a ninja.  She also chose the colors on mine.

She mentioned her mom had admired the ornaments on the mantel, so I suggested we make one to give mom for Christmas.  I wrapped the ball before she got there- using the same fabric as many of the balls on the mantel.  Kiara chose which beads to put where and got really good at sticking the pins into the beads. We took turns sticking them into the ball.  She is so excited to have a nice gift she made all by herself for her mom.  It's wrapped and hidden. I wish I could be there when it will be opened; I'm not sure who will be more thrilled.  

In spite of the imminent threat of dismantling all the progress we've made in 20 years, and putting us past the point of no return, there is good news in the environmental world.  Google is going to meet its goal of running on 100% renewable energy in the coming year. I have to keep reminding myself of all the individuals who have already committed to this- no matter what changes may come.

I am grateful for:
Lucas bringing Kiara into my life.
The luxury of a day I can spend playing.
The good days at work.
When the suffering ends, there is peace. ( I believe)
My Christmas shopping is finished!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Stupid data limits!!!

So, somehow I used up all of this month's data in the first week of my data cycle (thanks for almost nothing, Hughesnet!).  I am still blaming Windows 10 updates, which I can no longer decide when or if to download.  Anyway, it is very hard to create a blog post when you can't get on the internet.  (I know the world is dying to hear my random thoughts.)
So I am combining a couple of the posts I would have made into one while I have a few minutes of "bonus"- very early in the morning- data to use.   When I have had time to play in the sewing room, I have been playing.  Kind of silly when I'm sure I have things I should be working on.  I'm tired of deadlines and have-to's at the moment.

I had to move the giant bin of felted sweaters for some reason and dug through them in  one of those "I should get rid of these" moments.  I ran across the instructions for these.
Easy, but not really quick.  I'll probably use them as Christmas gifts. I don't know for who(m?)

Recently Kiara came to me because she had bumped her head, and needed an ice pack.  I asked her where mom keeps the boo-boo bunny.  She had no idea what that was.

So I made this for her from a sock, using this book.  It's filled with rice.  I told her to keep it in the freezer, but I think she is sleeping with it.

 As long as I had been digging through the books of stuffies, I decided I needed this creature, from this book.  (I have always felt they had me in mind when they added the subtitle)

The patterns are tiny, so you enlarge them to a size you want.  I think I want this guy to be a bit bigger.  His mouth is a pocket! 

(Or you can just let him stick his tongue out at people.)

 I have also gone back to making some "opulent ornaments" - or Sparkly Balls, as I call them.

 I still don't love the ones I've made from this fabric.  I have a lot of the fabric, too.  Hmmm, maybe a spring dress instead? 

I have a great piece of Christmas colored fabric, with these small green motifs in between the main design. 

 I just can't get pictures of them where the sparkles show, but they're still pretty!

This is the quilt I made for my demo at Guild last week.  (Suddenly even the pictures I post from my camera are turning sideways.  I don't know why and nothing I do stops it.  Some days technology is just not my friend.)

This started out as an in-process sample for a scrap therapy class project.  Now it will be a donation.

I love this heart pattern I found in one of my machine quilting books.  I improvise the border to match.
I cannot even try to make a decent "green" segment this time.  I will only say if you care about the threat of climate change, make your voice heard.  People who think it's myth need to be shown that there are enough of us who believe the science, so they know we will not allow them to turn back all the progress we have been making in recent years.  

I am grateful for:
Keeping in touch 
Being someone's therapy
Sewing time (always!)
My new frost free freezer
The days work is not a threat to my health

Saturday, November 5, 2016

My first Modern Quilt

After the April Guild meeting, the ArtCGirlz decided to do a modern quilt challenge.  I missed the deadline of having it in the quilt show, but just barely.
 I didn't even enter it because at the entry deadline, it looked like this.

I got a small pack of 2 1/2 inch squares from one of the vendors at the Syracuse "quilt week".  I stuck them up on the small design surface in the sewing room, and realized they almost matched the leftover blocks from my "Xcentric" quilt.  Here are a couple of different arrangements I played with.  (the butterfly behind them is one of my older UFO's)

After looking at it on the larger design wall (above) for a couple of weeks, I decided to just do it.  First, I assembled the Four patches and added the floating squares.  I just couldn't decide what to do with that second leftover block.

Finally I decided to take it apart, and realized that was just what I needed!
I had gotten some matching solids in Denver, but didn't like it when I added them in.  So it sat for another couple of days until the answer came to me- negative space quilting!

I did like the different sized squares, so that's how I did it. 

The rest is just done with straight lines, something I love but don't do enough of.  As it turned out, I had it finished the day before we turned quilts in for the show.  Who'd a thunk it?

 The only hard part after that was deciding which way was up.  Hubby decided it was this way.  I call it "X and Why"

The year has caught up to my coloring on the calendar!  It's a 2016 calendar, but I plan to use the pages from a dollar store calendar with these pictures next year. 

I was saddened by this article in USA today yesterday.  I do my best, but I can see my responsibility here.  Can you?

A polar bear pauses while exploring an area of sea ice in Alaska, in this file photo, date unknown. Sea ice in the Arctic shrank to its fourth-lowest level on record this summer. (Photo: Martin Jeffries, Associated Press)

I am grateful for:
Cait giving me as much time as I want with JOnathan
A good friend who understands
I was able to keep my mouth shut
DVR and DVD's for the many nights when there is NOTHING on tv

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A quick project

So, with no looming deadlines in the sewing room, I wasn't sure what to work on next.  There's too much to choose from!!
Then I remembered I agreed to do a demo back to front machine binding at the November guild meeting. 
I was surprised they asked me to do this, in all honesty, as I thought this was a fairly well-known technique.  So, first I needed something to show people what I am doing.  I dug through the pile of UFO's, but most of them are bigger than I thought I needed. 

Then I ran across a small pile of HST blocks left from this quilt.

 They were all orange, and I was on the verge of throwing them out, when I thought of making pinwheels with them.  There were enough for 6 pinwheel blocks at about 6" unfinished.  So, what to put with them???

I dug into the box of scraps my friend Carol gave me a couple of years ago, because I remembered there were some 6 or 6 1/2" squares in there.  Tada!!  There were even kids prints in there, so I added them in a sort of evenly spaced arrangement.  It made for a small quilt, so it needed borders.  I was about to start digging through the stash for something appropriate, when I remembered some seminole style borders I had leftover from another project quite a while ago.  Then I added a plain-ish border and had a nice sized crib or cuddle quilt.  I had a piece of flannel laying around from making receiving blankets, perfect size for the back!!  To finish quickly, I did a large stipple over the whole quilt.  Turns out, I break the thread more doing this than the dense quilting on that last one for the quilt show- something about going backwards gives my machine free-motion sickness!

In all honesty, I wasn't thrilled with the way the binding came out once it was finished.  I was using the smaller machine and it doesn't have as many stitches to choose from.  I should have used the feather stitch. Sigh.  But it's ready; and once I'm done with the demo, I can hope that a child suffering a family upheaval or illness will be comforted by it.  It's kind of an I-spy quilt, too!  The most fun part is the sheep glow in the dark!


Making this project so quickly was just what I needed to lift my spirits last week. I don't know what was troubling me, but I was in a dark place.  What is it about sewing, creating, that makes us feel better???

It's not easy to find good news regarding climate change, but a recent report released by the International Energy Agency tells that 2015 was a banner year for renewable power, marking the first time that total installed renewable capacity passed coal.   It won't be fast or easy.  I know the coal industry will suffer in the short term.  It won't be easy for the places where the local economy runs on it.  Hopefully the jobs in renewable energy will come to them as more and more production areas come online.  A side benefit to this is that, with the increase in the number of people driving hybrid or electric cars, there will be a reduction in CO2 emissions there as well!! (If you're interested, there's a good opinion piece here)

I am grateful for:
Lots of time with the kids last week.
Lucas finally solved his water issues!
Keeping in touch with loved ones far away.
The kittens are both improving!
The days when I feel like I have a clue.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Quilt Week Batavia

Last week was the end of all the meetings, planning, emails, and frenzy of last-minute quilting for a couple of years.  The Stitches in Time 2016 show had finally arrived. 
First is all the quilts I showed- just to see them all in one place.   It's not everything I did for 2 years, but I gave a few away, and didn't show anything I had shown in another guild event (like the challenges)
Patternista Tiles

Diamonds and Doodles (for sale or gifting)

Froggy for Jonathan

Jack (in the pulpit) in (One Block) Wonderland

Jewels of the Reef

Sleepy Summer Afternoon

It's great to see old favorites by my friends on display again, and the surprising things they made just for the show.

My friend Kathi's work just amazes me.  Whatever it is that makes a person an artist, Kathi has it.  She just sees things differently and is able to express what she is feeling in her work. 
This piece is called "Deployment".  She made it while her son was in Afghanistan.  It is a grid of days, each marked off as they passed.  There is a circle on the days he was in true danger.  The overlay is a picture of him taken while deployed.  Very powerful in person

She calls this one "Motherness".  It is filled with memorabilia and  symbols of times shared with her children. 

I love these pieces by Trudy Kutter.  So traditional, and yet in some ways, not.  Look at the stitching around the flowers, adding extra petals to each one.

And the piecing in the "Woven Coverlet" has a very modern feel to it.  Maybe it's the solids?

I think Tracy Jachimowicz made this in a class with Karen Kay Buckley.  I just love it!!!

 Melanie Watson finished her piece from the George Siciliano class back in 2010 (?)
She has worked on it at retreat every year.  I wonder what she'll bring next year now that it's finished.  :-)

 Ann Renica made this very modern quilt as a wedding gift!

 Arlene Kelly is a purely traditional quiltmaker.  The colors and the border fabric in this one just made me say wow.

My friend Mary Lee has been doing some modern quilting on her pieces.  This was made with a pattern by Laura Heine.  They look like a lot of fun, but a lot of work as well.

This was the first time many of the ArtCGirlz fish quilts were all displayed.  It looked pretty cool!

Susan Rathbun

Mary Kozub

Elaine Ross

Chris Kuehl

Mary Ellen Casey

The show is also a great place for chatting with friends.  We don't get to spend much time just enjoying each other's company at the guild meetings.  I told a friend it's kind of a three day party.  (Although most people don't  usually work this hard at a party)

 (OK, so in these pictures we aren't working that hard)

It's also a great place to see quilting friends you don't get to see on a regular basis.  I was happy Mary and Sandy stopped in to say hello!

So, it's almost time- at long last.  This one has been very tough and I think it will not end after the ballots are all cast.  Sigh.  My husband and I had a brief , um- let's call it a discussion, about the framers of our constitution and how that document should be interpreted to fit our times.  I personally believe they would throw up their hands in disgust.
In the final debate, which I did not watch, I understand very few issues were truly debated.  One issue that hasn't come up at all, except for the guy in the red sweater, is climate change.  I wonder why, truly.  Is it not a hot enough topic? (no pun intended)

I am grateful for:
Tomorrow is the site visit at work.  The second big event I've been preparing for this month.  No matter the outcome, I'll be glad when it's over.
Time with the kids.
Tiny kitties to cuddle
Music to lift my mood.