Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Altered quilts

My recent success with the duffel bag gave me the courage to try and improve a quilt I made some years ago but never really liked. 
This is the original.  It was a project from the ArtCGirlz way back when the group was sort of in its infancy; called an "Instant Art Quilt".  Kathi brought the idea after seeing it on Ellen Lindner's blog or in a magazine.  I painted a piece of muslin with a sort of greenish yellow- which is way more yellow than I was hoping for at the time- with accents of pink and teal.  Once I arranged the bits, I decided it would be a plant growing out of a stone wall.  I thread painted the design on it and titled it "That Which Survives".  I ended up enjoying the process, but didn't love the quilt at all.  So, as I mentioned earlier this year, it went into the box of unloved quilts. 

I recently came across it and pondered how I could have made it a more successful piece. So I dug out the paintstiks, and this is how it looks now.
I added a subtle layer of light green over the whole thing, then used the darker green at each rock edge, hinting at moss growing between the rocks.  It's more interesting, but I still don't love it.

I apologize to anyone who tried to comment on the giveaway post and was unable to.  I did check the comment settings before doing that post.  But apparently I misunderstood the options. I chose the one that I thought meant you had to have a name and email address- not specifically a gmail account.  I wish I didn't have to do any of that, but you get spam posts if you don't make people prove they are people.  Sad, isn't it?

So last weekend we were talking about the hot dry summer we are enduring here, as well as some of the weather anomalies around the country.  I said "*#^!! you, climate deniers!"  But one of the other people at my table pointed out they had similar problems during the "dust bowl years", while another repeated the idea that climate change is cyclical.  I admit, I had no responses to these comments.  So I did some research.  I don't like to sound ignorant (as I often do) by trying to debate without facts.
I found out that, aside from the drought conditions, the dust bowls were due in large part to man's misuse of the land: (Excerpt of this article)
The Drought alone did not cause the black blizzards. Although dry spells are unavoidable in the region, occurring roughly every 25 years, it was the combination of drought and misuse of the land that led to the incredible devastation of the Dust Bowl years. Originally covered with grasses that held the fine soil in place, the land of the southern plains was plowed by settlers who brought their farming techniques with them when they homesteaded the area. Wheat crops, in high demand during World War I, exhausted the topsoil. Overgrazing by cattle and sheep herds stripped the western plains of their cover. When the drought hit, the land just blew away in the wind.

Some scientists are comparing climate change to the dust bowl.  
I also read some interesting articles about the cyclical patterns.  This one is very long, but has some interesting sections, especially this point:

Where are we currently in the natural cycle (Milankovitch cycle)?  The warmest point of the last cycle was around 10,000 years ago, at the peak of the Holocene. Since then, there has been an overall cooling trend, consistent with a continuation of the natural cycle, and this cooling would continue for thousands of years into the future if all else remained the same. But since 1750 however, the CO2 content of the atmosphere has deviated from the natural cycle. Instead of decreasing, it has increased because of the fossil-fuel burning. Methane and nitrous oxide have also increased unnaturally because of agricultural practices and other factors. The world has also warmed unnaturally.  We are now deviating from the natural cycle.

People who don't want to believe man is destroying the planet will not be convinced.  To them I ask this question- Why risk it???
If even the smallest possibility exists that that we are damaging the ecosystem that supports life on this planet, Why risk it? 

I am grateful for:
Rain yesterday- an inch in my rain gauge!
Spending time with some friends.
Some sewing time over the weekend.
Perfect timing.
Making someone else's day.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

When patterns fail

So yesterday I had an hour or so of free time before going to the shelter.  As I have mentioned it is not a good gardening year, plus yesterday was the hottest day we've had in years- so I wasn't going outside until I had to! Recently I've been cutting out some new summer clothes since it looks like they are going to get plenty of use this year.  (plus I'm just tired of the old ones!)  So I dug out a pattern and fabric I got several years ago for a very fun looking skirt.

The fabrics are by Art Gallery, and are the softest cottons since Liberty of London!
The pattern is one I picked up somewhere along the line- either at one of the major shows, or from a magazine ad.  Note it says you can use fat quarters?  I bought the collection of fabrics in a half yard pack, and figured they would be perfect.  They have been waiting and waiting until yesterday.  That's when I found yet another designer who thinks fat quarters are bigger than they really are.  Needless to say this is not the first time I have had this problem- and not only with a garment pattern.  18 x 22 isn't very big. And many of them aren't even 22 inches wide!
Check out the picture from the fabric layout page:
Umm, how do you even produce a pattern saying to use fat quarters then use a picture showing you're lying???  I was not happy- that I now have to find a new pattern, or use for the fabrics, but mostly because I wasted my precious sewing time trying to follow the worthless directions!!  I went to the designer's website and told her my experience.  I'm sure she'll tell me I did it wrong.  sigh.

Meanwhile, I finally finished another page in my coloring calendar.

I haven't done much coloring since I started making the ornaments, and really enjoyed getting back to it.  I have to get better at backgrounds, though.

I did this one at work one day when I had no work and no boss. 
I had only my cheap dollar store pencils in 12 colors, but made the best of it.

I had only a few comments on last week's entry and one didn't want to be in the drawing as she is making her own ornament and needs the incentive to finish.  :-)  So both of the other ladies will get an ornament!  Like I said before- the fun for me is making them!  Although seeing a picture of Paula surrounded by them made me "need" a lot more than I have.

No long rant or advice this time.  Just this quote:

We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to."
— Terri Swearingen

I am grateful for:
Air conditioning!
A bit of rain.
I got to see my tiny kittens again as "grown-ups" before they were adopted.
Kiara believing in magic.
Jonathan's joy over the tiniest things.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

When it's too hot outside...

Summer is in full swing here in western New York.  In fact, it seems it has been summer for a very long time already, as it has been hot -off and on- and very dry here since May!
I don't tolerate heat well at all anymore (if I ever did), so once it gets near 80 outside, I go in!  Lucky for me, I always have something to do inside!

I may have mentioned the guild's biennial quilt show is this October.  I haven't registered any quilts yet, since I don't know how many of the unfinished ones I might stand a chance of finishing by the turn in date!  (I know this year they won't be asking me to withdraw anything because I entered too many!)
I'm happy to say I have one ready- only 4 years late!!  This is called "Jack (in the pulpit) in (One Block) Wonderland)"  The fabric is from the "Sunshine and Shadows" collection by Jane Sassaman.

I had thought of doing a wondrous free motion quilting design using the jack in the pulpit from the original fabric.  But, in the interest of finishing it, I used the Daisy Chain design I found at thequiltingboard.com.
I think it shows better on the back.

For the border, I found a complimentary design at The Inbox Jaunt.  As you can see, I hadn't washed the blue marker out before I took this one.  You can also see the faux piped binding I did.  LOVE this technique!

I am still hooked on the Opulent Ornaments! 
 I found a fun green batik with concentric dots, and used several colors of green beads and sparkly stuff to embellish it.  This is on a 5 inch ball.

I loved the medallion fabric I started with, so I got some more of the 2 or 3 inch balls to do some more with that one.   On this one, I decided to try using bugle beads.  The pattern suggests using staples, but they are too short to stay in the foam.  So I used beading wire.  Kind of labor intensive. 

 I've discovered it's much easier to use either a different part of the fabric, or something plain around the "equator".  Once again my sparkly stuff comes in very handy!



I really need to find the right light for photographing these, as they look kind of dull here. 

I'm interested to know who -how many people- read(s) my blog.  So I'm going to give one of these beauties away.  Just leave a comment.  I'll have hubby or Kiara draw a name for me.  You have a week. 

In case you missed it, there was a small bit of good news regarding our climate last week! The hole in the ozone is healing!  Remember when we all had to stop using aerosol deodorant and such?  This is why- and it proves that we CAN make changes if we really want to save this planet. 

I am grateful for:
The recent cool night we've had so I can sleep with the windows open!
A day with Kiara.
Sewing time!
How very sweet the formerly hissy kitten is!
The new raccoons aren't causing as much damage- so far.