Monday, August 26, 2013

Keeping a five year old busy

I don't have a lot to share this week.

I took an awesome picture of a dragonfly I found sitting on the ground one chilly morning last week.  Not sure if he was to wet or too cold to fly.  I scooped him up and put him on the flowers next to the back door.  I was late for work, but ran in and grabbed the camera.  How many chances to get a picture like this does one have in a lifetime?

Saturday we helped Lucas move some stuff that was still in storage to the house.  I rode along because Al had been away all week and wanted the company.  Turns out I was valuable as entertainment for the "rental grandchild".  She didn't bring anything with her, but fortunately I had the i Pad with me so I had music.  It doesn't have many kid friendly apps, but we did play with "draw free" for a bit.  Then I opened the photo booth and we took goofy pictures of each other.

This is the kaleidescope function. I can see a quilt in this, can't you?

The thermal camera is fun.  (Guess where I was sunburnt)

After I looked at this picture, I was struck by how cool the gravel looked, so I took a picture of that alone.  Is that not the coolest?
Last week was what we call PAD week at the college. Meetings, welcome back- sort of all hands on deck before the students come back.  The president gives a speech at the start of the semester.  I always bring some zentangle tiles along to keep my mind from drifting off.  (it's true!  There was a study).

With my mandala quilt in mind, I made this.  I think most of it is doable as the quilting!  I'll let you know- soon I hope.

In green thoughts this week, I have decided to toss one of my cloth napkins into the bottom of my bag.  I ate a messy sandwich at a restaurant today where they put out a roll of paper towels in stead of giving napkins.  I used three!  Not only will I save wasting paper in the future, but how many times have I gone into a restroom when I'm out and the only option is a blow dryer that blows as hard as a two year old blowing birthday candles out?  Problem solved!

I am grateful for:
Small joys to get me through rough days
Feeling valuable (or is it valued?)
George's tummy is better!
The end of weeding season is in sight!
When the kittens want to cuddle as soon as I walk into the "nursery"

Monday, August 19, 2013

only FIVE?!?

I want to start this post by acknowledging something I found quite remarkable!
You may remember that last fall, Timeless Treasures fabrics and collected quilts to be given to victims of  Hurricane Sandy.  I sent in a quilt I had made some years ago, but had never found a home for.  I have done this in the past.  Sometimes you get a brief note from the agency collecting, but more often, the gesture is its own reward.
Last friday I got a small package from Timeless treasures fabrics. I knew I hadn't ordered anything, but thought maybe I won a prize from a blog I commented on or something.
Inside was the charm pack on the right and the note below.


So not only did Timeless treasures give their warehouse and manpower for this effort.  But they collected the names and addresses of the donors!!  I think I will look for Timeless Treasures fabrics a bit more often when I'm shopping.

Saturday at the Museum Quilt Guild meeting we began a UFO  challenge.  This is to encourage everyone to finish their projects to be shown at the quilt show in October of 2014.  We were each allowed to bring/ sign up 5 UFO's.  Here are mine- most are somewhat recent projects.  None are things I haven't showed before.  But so that they are here where I can be held accountable, I am showing them again.

I started this one at a workshop I led with members of the guild, maybe 3 years ago? (It might be 4!)  I finished assembling the blocks at the retreat in 2012, added the borders that summer, and then couldn't decide how to quilt it.  So there it has sat.

This is from the Xcentric workshop with Anita Grossman Soloman in 2011.  I ran short of fabric so I made strip sets to make enough blocks to make a decent sized quilt.  It only needs to be quilted.  (shocking, right?)

I just got the block for this made at retreat this past February. You may remember I was trying to decide how to border it.  Once that is done, the quilting will be something simple.

This one is new.  I took the workshop with Marija Vujcic in June.  I have most of the applique shapes traced onto the fusible.  But then something else pushed in front of it.

And last but not least, the portrait quilt I started in the workshop Mary  taught at guild in May.  I haven't touched it since then. 

( I was not the only one showing a bag of fabric, oddly enough!)

Kathi had arranged with a member of one of her other groups for us to see this SAQA trunk show.  It is part of the "This is a Quilt" exhibit.   It was amazing to be able to see these works up close!

One of the other members held this up and said it looked like me! 
This is called "Footprints" by Lin Mei-Hui

I have seen Susan Else's work before, but it never ceases to amaze me!

This was a favorite, mostly because of the quilting.
It was untitled by Terri Stegmiller.

The detail in this tiny portrait amazed me.  It is called "Luka's Eyes", by Kate Themel.

I think this is my favorite piece. I don't know why.  I guess because I look at the tiny pieces and wonder how she decided what colors to put together and if the layout has any meaning or is completely random.
Art quilts kind of amaze me, because I have trouble with them at times.  There's no pattern. You have to decide every step.  So how did this artist, Maryline Collioud-Robert decided.  The title is "Graffiti Stamps".

The link above takes you to the entire trunk we had.  If you go here, you can see all of the quilts in the other trunks, too!

I fell off the roundup wagon this week. I couldn't tell what was garden and what was weeds.  I comfort myself by saying it's only a little bit.  But we all do that, don't we?  We justify our use of things we know we shouldn't use by saying we only do a little.  But how much of a difference would all of those "littles" make? 

On the plus side, I finally relented and got a swiffer wet jet.  I did not buy the cleaning pads.  I came right home and looked for someone who must have made reusable ones like I use for the sweeper.  Sure enough!   The do it yourself divas had it!  If you google it, there are plenty of other ideas, including a towel with a hole in it and binder clips!  I hate spending money on garbage!  Plus I don't have to add to the piles of garbage poor Wall-e has to clean up!

I am grateful for:
Friends I can rely on
Fresh picked apples
Finding just th right music to suit my mood
A phone call from Mary!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Lazy days of summer?

 Maybe this is what they mean by lazy days of summer?
I don't think I am ever this comfortable.
Poor George has actually been limping around due to an injury on her foot. Not serious, but we're taking precautions against infection.  She did not enjoy her trip to the vet.

Snoopy Rabbit (aka Mr Bunnyman) is enjoying his outdoor enclosure where he can eat all the clovers he wants!

I meant to share this after my birthday.  It was sent to me by my dear friend Maggie.

 I don't know if she had ever heard of "second sock syndrome" before, but it is true- the second sock takes three times as long as the first one!

Here is how my mandala LeMoyne star has come out.  Now "all I have to do" is decide how to quilt it.  I was thinking of trying an "overlay" design the way Marilyn Badger does some of hers.

Apparently Marilyn Badger doesn't have a website? I found a picture from a member of the same guild.   See how the quilting seems to add another design  layer to the quilt?

I figured I'd join in with others I have seen recently and show a picture of my favorite hibiscus in bloom.  Mine are late for this area, but well worth it! 

In the garden this morning I was pondering the fact that I carefully move snails out of the way so I don't squash them when I'm working, but I will go out of my way to step on slugs.  Other than the shell, they are the same creature. So why would I detest one and not the other??

The Columbine have all gone to seed.  I should cut them back, but I don't know what creatures might eat the seeds, plus I can get more Columbine if they sprout!

And the seed heads are really very pretty!

Twice recently a cashier in a store has been happy with my request to either use my shopping bag, or to give me no bag. Both were in the 20 something age range.  One thanked me for bringing bags, and asked where I had gotten one that she particularly liked.  The other said she would prefer never to give bags.   I am pleased by this as it indicates that perhaps the younger generation is developing a different mindset about reducing the amount of trash  we create- something I have mentioned several times, I'm sure!
In addition, I saw a piece in the newspaper recently saying that in New York state is is no longer economically feasible to operate coal burning power plants.  It made me glad to see this!   Coal is one of the worst offenders in the greenhouse gas/ energy connection. 
So it's working- slowly.  (Maybe too slowly).  We have to keep up the hard work!!!

I am grateful for:
Brief updates from Mary.
Nice cool nights and comfortably cool days.
Pandora radio
Saying no (at least I think I did)
Any day I don't have to cook.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

"Bonus quilts"

Grasshopper Pie with Butterfly Garnish
Some of you may have heard of Bonnie Hunter's "Leaders and Enders" concept before.  (If not, follow the link!  :-) 
How it works basically is that you keep squares at the sewing machine that need to be pieced into units for a quilt and you do  them at the beginning and ending of whatever you are doing- chain piecing, sewing rows together, adding borders....
And you get all the little boring piecing done a little at a time with very little investment of time! So, a bonus! (the quilt to the left was made with units I sewed this way)

When I first saw this, I thought "Now why didn't I think of that!!?" 
 I had been using a folded piece of fabric to hold the threads in between chain piecing , or quilt assembly. 
I ended up with a nice collection of these.  I saved a few thinking to use them in an art quilt at some point.

These are the units I have been working on for the last few months.  (the bonus quilts are not made quickly as you may guess)

The nine patches are all made with the 2 inch squares out of my scrap therapy bins.  You have to use those things because they multiply so quickly! 

In order to make the HST units fit the nine patches, I had to cut them a bit larger than the scrap therapy squares (or waste half of each set of squares)
But that allowed me to cut up and now USE a nice pile of scraps!

These will be laid out in a rainbow of sorts, inspired by this quilt raffled off by my guild last year. 

Last week I was working on blocks for one quilt while assembling the rows of another. 

This is my stack of blocks to be sewn into a row.

And these little four patches needed to have their setting triangles sewn on. So they are basically my bonus project.

Here's how:
Sew two of the row blocks together, then send the four patch with a triangle on behind it. 

Cut the row blocks off in back and add the next block in the row.  Repeat as many times as needed.

It even works when sewing the rows together!

At the end of the day all my rows were assembled and all my four patches had been set on point!  I always say I never do one thing at a time!  No wonder I love this technique!  (Thanks, Bonnie)

The ArtCGirlz will be exhibiting the results of our mandala challenge in September.  I had played with the fabric painting and not loved any of the results.  So I was trying to think of how else to create a mandala type quilt for the project.  Then I remembered a project Jane Sassaman had done some time ago and I had hoped to try.  It has been on the "just for me" list ever since.  I had even kitted up some fabric with the book and templates (these are called PIGS, I believe).

I made a nice Swiss cheese out of the fabric

These are the options for the center of my LeMoyne Star mandala.  I think I prefer the first one with the spider web kind of look.

I haven't, however, abandoned the idea of using one of my painted pieces for a zendala.

I listen to a lot of Pandora radio.  Lately there have been commercials touting the wondrous benefits to a person allowing frackers on their land- and the whole fracking industry.  (Double entendre intended here!)
The ad is paid for by the oil and gas industry.  It is important to know the source of information when you intend to be informed on an issue.  Here in NY there is a lot of information going around because the state is still pondering whether or not to allow fracking in the Marcellus shale area- the beautiful Finger Lakes region! (where most of my wine comes from!!!)  The same holds true of diet advice, financial information, product reviews.....  Make sure you know WHO motivated the information.  Does anyone think the oil and gas industry would ever admit to a report proving that fracking is poisoning the water and the air???

I am grateful for:
a day to myself
friends who are as silly as I am
Al still hasn't kicked me or the kittens (7 of them now) out to the curb
nice chilly nights to sleep with lots of blankets and the windows open
impromptu gatherings