Tuesday, December 27, 2016

One last project

I made it!  I got Cait's quilt finished, labeled and washed with two days to spare before Christmas.
 I named it "Rattling Around in our Bones".  I got the panel and a couple of the coordinating prints at the Syracuse show in 2015.  I thought of Cait when I saw it, because she is one of those people for whom Halloween decorations would be standard home decor if she had her way. 
The panel is one of the Chillingsworth collections by Andover fabrics.  ( I just got the Christmas panel on a clearance sale!!)
As luck would have it, when they repainted their living room this fall, they chose a dark orange!  So I knew it was time to get this quilt made.

It does have a Halloween feel, because one of the fabrics I got to go with it has pumpkins in it.  Plus, following the motifs in the panels, I added a few spiders and webs, from Lori Kennedy's tutorial, along with a couple skulls I found here. (they have some really cool sugar skull designs, too!)
Mostly it just has meandering spirals, since none of it shows very well. 

Check out this awesome backing fabric- also in the clearance bin! Look closely- I had to seam it lengthwise to make it big enough.  I fussy cut to match the pattern, and did a pretty good job, if I say so myself!

I made a few more "Opulent Ornaments" for Christmas decorations and gifts.  Don't they look pretty?

Only the white one has a hanger since they aren't easy to do.  But the rest of them look pretty tucked into the branches of the tree!

 Almost time to do the year in review, then start a new list. 

One thing for certain is that the first completion will be for the Museum Quilt Guild "Bars" challenge.  What do you think I thought of when I heard "bars"?? 

As we end this turbulent year, I am looking ahead with trepidation. Things like this do not make me any less anxious.  It's hard to be hopeful when the leaders think all they have to do is not SAY "Climate Change" and it won't be a problem.  Make your voice heard in any way you can.  Donate to the causes you support.  Don't wait and see. 

I am grateful for:
A quiet Christmas Eve dinner with my hubby. (We watched football!)
Cait and Lucas making us part of their Christmas day.
Bonus bytes
A gift that made me laugh until it hurt.
The stuff on my DVR, which will get us through the "Mid-season break".

Monday, December 12, 2016

Therapy Sewing

 This morning, I looked at my to do list and wished for a few minutes in the sewing room- just a few!  I haven't been able to play in there for a week or two, and I'm going through withdrawal!
I walked by and sighed, then had a flash of inspiration!

A few years back, I read Rayna Gilman's book , "Create Your Own Free Form Quilts".  I loved the idea of sewing random bits together without a plan, then finding something to do with it later.  She calls the random piecing "therapy sewing".  I had started doing it with a small pile of scraps some time ago, but have never done much with it.  I took out the pile of strips I had sewn and decided to spend a few minutes playing with them. 

A short time later, I had a few new pieces to play with when I decide to try and make something with them.  Mine won't be great works of art.  I am not an artist.  But I can play with them next time I need to use up  some creative energy to get me through the day .

I have finally finished the last page in the calendar I have been working on.  The dates are useless, but I plan to hang the pictures over the dollar store calendar I bought for 2017.  I angled this photo so the metallic and sparkles I used show up. 

I am grateful for:
Macaroni and cheese
Having nowhere to go for a couple of days
A cuddle from Jonathan
Sweet new kittens to play with
warm feet

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.