Monday, January 30, 2012

Trying to keep up

I made myself a promise to be more timely with my blog posts this year.  I lost track of it last year after switching jobs and the posts were less than sporadic.  So I was hoping to make a new time in my "schedule" for it.  I'm still hoping, actually.  :-)  I have a really high level of respect for the people who do a post every day!

I got the February quilt in my calendar quilts series finished this morning.  The pattern called for tan and pink, but tan is not a color I care to use much of.  I had fun quilting this one.  Just flipped open a book of designs and off I went!

Poor Kitty hasn't been feeling well.  Look where I found her yesterday morning!  Hopefully cuddling with a quilt and a bunny will help her get better.

Last week was the big reveal for the quilts in the Museum Quilt Guild's challenge.  This year's theme was "Carnival".  My entry was not the best expression of the theme.  It was a piece I began last summer as a way to get to know my new sewing machine. I grabbed some scraps and started sewing and cutting and resewing. You can see that part in this post.   At some point I thought one part of it looked like a roller coaster, and if I did the right stitching, it could be a carnival!  I decided to play with threads and stitches, doing some embroidery, then loads of quilting.  Then came the beads and glitter and..

this is how it turned out.
I call it "Lime Green had fun at the Fair" 

I had a blast making this piece!

And here's a better look at some of the "attractions"

I quilted the funhouse tents ( or maybe the beer tent?) into this section.

This is my "Tilt-a-Whirl" (or teacups?) ride

The far left has wavy quilting like one of those slides.  The embroidery on the black section was meant to look like a merry go round

I quilted and beaded the ferris wheel.  The lower part here reminded me of a funhouse maze.  The beads are people lost inside.

See, you have to use your imagination.
The rest of the quilts can be seen both at the Guild's and  Kathi's blog

My green tip this time has to do with the pile of outdated fliers I saw in the trash at a local "Family Dollar" store last week.  They were tossing them! The store had no recycling plan for anything other than their cardboard.  I made sure to mention it to the employees and then contacted the company at their website to complain.  You can speak with your voice and your dollars, to stores and businesses that are not environmentally conscious.  Make sure they know why you are shopping elsewhere.

I am grateful for:
A beautiful winter day with sunshine sparkling on fresh snow.  (a rare occurrence this winter)
My hubby who goes out and cleans off my car when it snows
Caring people who do the right thing
The creativity of others, which inspires and challenges me!
Family time, when I can get it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Just because!

So I have begun working on some of the projects I wanted to do "just because". Because it sounded like fun, or because it's a UFO I want to finish, projects just for me!

Last weekend, I decided to finish quilting the front panel from my "liberated" project.  It was begun in a class with Janet Root at Guild nearly TWO years ago!  Not only did I stretch myself with the piecing of this project, but I have been using the quilting as practice and a way to stretch my abilities.

Of course, Leah is my inspiration!  I don't know the names she gave these designs, but they were fun to do.

This week, I started doing the quilting/ thread sketching on this wondrous piece of ice dyed fabric Mary Lee gave me last summer.  I work in a program that teaches people to become sleep technologists.  So I am quilting a sun and moon design into it.

Here is the progress so far.  Not bad if I say so myself.  :-)  I'm looking forward to seeing it when it's finished.

I have to rant for a minute about the increasing number of public places that feel the need to "freshen" the air by spraying chemicals into it that we are all forced to breathe. I have allergies and/or a chemical sensitivity to scents.  I can't even walk into some public places, especially restrooms!!!  Try holding your breath for the entire time it takes you to relieve yourself sometime and you may get a glimpse into why I am ranting.  I cannot imagine why even people who are not sensitive to it would want to breathe dangerous chemicals
I guess, then, that I will make this also my green tip of the week:  THINK about the chemical pollutants you are putting into the air, the water and the garbage.

I am grateful for:
The nights I can sleep.
Being able to help a friend when she needed it.
Snuggling under quilts when the weather outside is frightful.
Having enough.
Letting my inner 6 year old out to play .

Friday, January 13, 2012

Round robin begins!!

      So far, 2012 is going well.  I finished my blocks for a swap at "The Quilt Pocket"- a yahoo group of quilters who I spend part of most days with!    There are 25 swappers, but I made five extra blocks so I can have a rectangular quilt.  I have never cared for square ones.  I don't know why.

The "Art C Girlz", met last night to begin an exciting new project.  We're doing a round robin.  This one is an embellishing project. Each of us turned in a piece that the rest of the group can play with, adding any kind of surface design or embellishment we think the piece needs.  I get to work on Lori's first.  I won't be able to show the work I do since it's meant to be a secret until the owner gets it back.
I didn't take a picture of mine.  I decided to use a small whole cloth quilt I did years ago as a way to practice my quilting stitch.  It no longer appeals to me, so I thought I'd let the girls play with it.  It should be fun!
I'm calling 2012 the year of being selfish, since I'm hoping to get some of MY projects finished.  But I'm looking forward to playing with each of the pieces in this project, and look forward to seeing what they do with mine.  (I forgot to take a before picture of it)
My green tip this time is to ask that you try to support "green" businesses. When you need something, take a few extra minutes in your research to discern how"earth friendly" the company you want to deal with is. Go to their website.  Check in with websites like for recommendations.

I am grateful for:
Being in a position to help a friend
A glass of wine!
The back massager
A good sewing day.
Soft quilts made with love to keep me warm in the evening!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A fresh start!

The new year makes us all see the potential of a fresh start! For myself, I think of all the projects I may be able to finish in the new year.
First, a look back at the projects. I record them all in my journal every year along with taking a picture of each item before it goes out the door.
So what did I do in 2011?
Quilts: 6
Wall quilts:17 ( that includes the 12 little calendar quilts)
Art quilts: 6
Finished UFO's: 2 ( a number I hope to improve on this year!!!)
Quilted gifts: 9
Garments: 9
Quilted accessories: 18
knitted wearables: 6 (includes 3 pairs of socks)
Knitted gifts: 40 (love those little mochimochiland patterns!)
I couldn't categorize the 100 or so Kanzashi flowers I made, the 16 woven star ornaments, or the projects I only did part of, like binding a community service quilt from guild, or teaching samples.
It felt good to see all of these projects listed like this. Sometimes I feel like I don't get much done. Especially this year when I gave so many of the things I made away!

So what is in the works for the NEW year? Well for one thing, I'm doing another series of calendar quilts. This year by Kim Schaefer. I got the first one done on Jan 1. So far, so good.

I also plan to be a little selfish. For the past several years I have been teaching classes, so I had to make samples both for display in the shop and for demo samples during the class. Now I can finally do things that have been on my wish list!  I have a few UFO's to  finish up.  Unfinished projects make me sad.  I feel like I failed somehow.  But thanks to my friend Elaine, who shared this on facebook, I will no longer feel guilty if a project just doesn't interest me and I don't finish it.  I may even give some away if anyone wants them.

My new year's green tip is to remind you to do one small thing this year to reduce the amount of trash you make, or resources you use unnecessarily.  Buy a reusable water bottle, make a real effort to use those shopping bags you've collected, print fewer emails, turn off a light or turn down the thermostat.  Small changes can make a BIG difference if enough people do them!!

I am grateful for:
Two days of being surrounded by my family!
The stomach bug that prevented me from gaining 5 lbs over the holidays
The potential of a new year
Wonderful circles of friends (the ones nearby and the ones I only get to see in my computer!) who give me laughter, support and the gift of their friendship.
The pure joy of a few extra minutes in a warm bed on a cold morning.