Thursday, January 22, 2015

Challenge reveal

 I goofed.  I didn't take enough pictures before I put this together.  This year's challenge theme was " show us your best blooms".

There is also a fabric component to it. Naturally I don't have a picture of the fabric, either.  Sorry the picture is sideways- I took it with the phone and some of those refuse to straighten up!  Anyway, the challenge fabric is circled.  It has been altered a bit.  (Mine is still recognizable.  Some of the ladies altered it so much I had to really hunt to find it.  There should be a prize for the best camouflage!)

 Anyway, this piece uses techniques from three different books- four if you count the crazy quilt book I referred to when I did the hand stitching!
I made dozens and dozens of the "Kanzashi" flowers a couple of years ago, and saved the blue ones to be a bouquet on a quilt at some point.   Fortunately, I found the excuse to do it!
First I made the vase using tiny scraps of fabric and Susan
Carlson's Serendipity Quilts.

After auditioning it on several fabrics, I decided this background was the right one.  Next, I played with Carol Ann Waugh's Stupendous Stitching techniques- which I LOVE, by the way!

 I didn't think I would do much hand stitching on it.  But once I got started, I didn't want to stop.  The book tells you to stop 2 inches from the edge to prevent the hand stitching being trimmed off of the final quilt.  I think if I do this again I will know how big the final piece will be so I don't end up with the "empty" spots I have on this one.


After the stitching, I appliqued the vase, layered and quilted.  I laid the flowers I had chosen on it and decided they were uninteresting.   So I tried some different ones, and was much happier.

When I made the label, I had to come up with a name for the piece.  I decided on "Garden Jewels".  Jewels are sparkly, so I added some glitter! (which doesn't photograph well)

For my second entry, which I actually finished first,  I used some of my "Scrap Therapy" squares--Hey, I spent all that time cutting them, they have to get used up so my kids don't feel bad throwing them away when I die!!    The pattern is by "This and That".  It's a quilt as you go- very easy and a nice sized bag. 

Here's some good news- the Senate has agreed that climate change is not a hoax.  However, there is still a faction who thinks it is not due to human activity. (sigh!)
In an effort to make this whole save the planet thing more real to you, here is some good news about recycling your cans.  Thanks- and remember to peel the labels off them and recycle that with your paper!

In case you are one of the 4 people I haven't told this to three or four times- I am going to be a grandmother in May!  It is a boy, but he doesn't have a name yet.  I have three quilts kitted up and ready to work on at retreat in February!!  And I haven't stopped smiling since they told us!

I am grateful for:
Al is feeling well enough to be back at work.
The "have-to-dos are finished for a while.
Cats who don't mind getting a pill shoved in their mouth!
Sewing time

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Is it the first project or the last?

 Last summer I decided to make a portrait quilt for Cait, using this picture of her and Kiara, which she uses for her Facebook cover.  Aren't they gorgeous?  Just look at those eyes!
It was supposed to be a Christmas gift.  But there were quilts I needed to finish for the quilt show, and that renaissance costume, and- well, you know.  So I never started it until Thanksgiving.  It wasn't finished in time for Christmas, but I did get to give it to her at our sort of second Christmas last weekend while Guy was home.

I realized I should have been collecting flesh tone fabric as I traveled about in the Lancaster area in October, since I had almost nothing!  Mary helped me add to my stash and I got started.  Once you have all the pieces fused and cut out, it's time to put the puzzle together.  Along the way, I found I had done this on my ironing board.
It doesn't look at all like Cait!

  I had a difficult time with Cait's face, and am still not 100% pleased with it.  I just couldn't get the area around her nose to look right at all.  The first piece I tried was way too dark

 A different spot in the same fabric was better.

Here they are together before I fused them. 

Once I fused them, I had to find a background.  I work from the top down rather than the bottom up.  I decided Cait would be wearing a t shirt so I didn't have to figure out yet another flesh tone for her arm.

 I've had this hand marble for several years waiting for a "special project". 

 I used watercolor crayons, colored pencils and wax pastels to enhance the fabrics, add shading or alter the colors a bit for the finished portrait. 

I didn't count this in my tally for 2014, even though most of the work was done in December.

Some news:

My "Zendala Mandala" has been juried into the AQS show in Lancaster, PA- in March.  I haven't stopped smiling since I got the notification.

And the news I have long wished for- I am going to be a grandmother in May!!!  (I did mention baby quilts last post, so you probably guessed)

If you care about environmental issues, you should be very scared for the next couple of years- while the republicans are in charge of both sides of the legislative branch.  I know I am!

I am grateful for:
Having Guy home for a nice visit!!!
The cookies are all gone!
Good laughs with great friends.
Only two more tests to retype.
Free wifi

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Look Back at the "old" Year

As we tend to do at this time of year, I have spent some time looking back at 2014 in the past couple of days.  One way I measure my year is the number of projects I have completed.  (I ma obviously a product person- needing some tangible- quantifiable?- result for my time)
This year I had felt as if I accomplished nothing.    However, when I added it all up, it looked like this:
functional quilt (lap or bed): 4
wall/ art quilts: 6
Quilt tops: 4
garments: 10
toys/ decorations: 10
accessories/ bags/ home decor: 15
kitty blankets:14
toys/ decorations:3
garments/accessories: 7 (including only ONE pair of socks!)
Oh- and one reupholstered chair

I think this is my favorite piece from this year, mostly because I really liked the quilting.

I also really enjoyed the "Creative Girls"- and hope to make more of them.

 (dear blogger, please add the option to "layer" pictures!)

This year, I hope to make more- as always.  I do know that I will be making some  quilts for a very special baby boy!

One thing I am proud of, even though I personally have nothing to show for it, is that I fostered 27 kittens in 2014.  I loved every one of them and keep a bit of them with me long after they go to their "furever" home.

I wish you all a very happy and hopeful 2015. 

I am grateful for:
The friends who accept me as I am.
The luxury of working part time.
Kittens to cuddle when I am feeling "dark brown".
Family, near and far- biological and those life gives us.
Music and laughter, which sustain me.