Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Not much sewing time, and I couldn't be happier!

 My major accomplishments in the last week - in terms of things I have something to show for my time- were that I finished coloring the September calendar page (I realized I had fallen far behind and better get going.  Kind of silly since it's a 2016 calendar, but I have a plan)- from Johanna Basford's Secret Garden.  My backgrounds don't photograph well. 

 And I finally got the last shy kitten to stop hiding from me.  (He's in the back of this picture, though).  They are going in to the shelter this week.

the bright green stripe is pale blue in some light
The rest of my free time was spent with the kids, which is a wonderful way to spend your time! 

Last Monday we went to the National Museum of Play in Rochester.  I was just thrilled that they invited me along, since I have been wanting to go.
Our first stop there was the butterfly garden, which was one of Kiara's favorite parts after she visited on a school trip last spring.
The butterflies land all over you as you walk!

The rest of the museum is filled with different areas and exhibits- almost too much to see in one day! 
One section has science stuff, including this giant kaleidoscope.  

 I think the story books section was my favorite. 

Then, on Saturday, I spent a few hours with Jonathan while mom went out for a girls day with her mom!
 Isn't he gorgeous!?

Yesterday, for a last bit of summer fun before school starts next week, Mom, Dad and Kiara went to Darien Lake amusement park.  So I got another day with him.  He is a very busy little boy, because there is just so much he has to do! 
See the kitty?
Where'd it go???

That's where Oma's glasses go, I guess.

 So, I don't care if the weeds are growing, or the quilts aren't finished.  He'll only be this little for a short time, and I plan to enjoy every minute I can get with him.  I often think of this old song when I'm with the kids.

I also wonder what kind of world they will live in, unfortunately.  I have to have hope, so I am happy to read news like this.  We cannot take any steps backward now!  This is the one issue that supersedes all others when we vote.  It has to be.  You can't drink or breathe jobs, guns, health insurance or anything else that "they" want you to believe is important. 

I am grateful for:
Having the kids so close.
Having my priorities right.
A little sewing time was nice, though.
A chilly night at last- and maybe some cooler days!
Keeping in touch.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Because I didn't know how to quilt it

PLEASE NOTE:  ALL quilted work shown in this post is linked from http://www.stitchbystitchcustomquilting.com/

At the recent AQS Quiltweek in Syracuse, I attended a seminar with Jane Hauprich, titled Get Your Quilt Quilted! She gave great tips on how to decide how your top can be quilted.  Jane is a longarm quilter now, but began her quilting life on a domestic machine, so her tips work for everyone.
After going over basics, like batting, threads, machine tensions and always always always doing a sample before stitching on your quilt, she shared some of her methods for planning out the quilting.

One thing she does is break up large spaces.
By adding the random lines of what she calls "ribbon candy", she made the spaces more manageable- taking smaller bites.

Another neat way to design the quilting is to add a secondary design in the quilting.
The curves in the border quilting add a nice element to the quilt!

And remember, fancy quilting doesn't show up on bold printed fabrics.

I took along this quilt top, which I am planning to show in October, for suggestions.
She gave me a jumping off point, and I came up with a plan!  Stay tuned.

Jane sells some pretty cool workbooks for practicing free motion designs in her store.  (I'm not affiliated with her in any way, but have found them useful!)  If you doodle, you create the muscle memory that will help you when you try free motion.  Try it and see!

Since my last post, we have had several rainy days at my house.  This morning I noticed the weeds sprang up fully grown as a result.  I guess I have to squeeze weeding back into my days off schedule again.  sigh.  You take the good with the bad, right?

There will soon be new standards for big trucks on the roads.  (assuming all of the environmental progress we've made in the last 8 years isn't overturned after the election of course)
All I can say is It's about damned time!!  It's too bad they don't apply these retroactively to get those older black smoke spewing trucks off the roads!!!

I am grateful for:
Being alone "that" day.
Much needed rain.  (too late for most crops but maybe my well won't go dry as some have)
Macaroni and Cheese
Lorna Doones and Ginger Ale

Friday, August 12, 2016

How dry is it?

When I was a kid, I loved the afternoon game shows, especially "Match Game".  They had a lot of questions about poor "Dumb Dora".  The audience always asked "How dumb is she?"
So when I said to myself it is so dry- I immediately heard a chorus of "How dry is it?"

Anyway, here is how dry it is here this year.  As of today, our area has a 7 inch rain deficit since March, with 92% of the state in some degree of drought.  Our area (western NY) has been in a severe drought for over a month.  I have never seen it this dry.  Needless to say gardening has been an exercise in futility this year.

 I was surprised to find any of the morning glories had survived. They are self-seeded from last year.  Usually the trellis and birdhouse are covered at this point.

The poor Rudbeckia.  It has pretty shallow roots, but is normally one of the bright spots in dreary August days in the garden. 

 One plant doing well is the Grey-headed Coneflower.  I planted it near this tree since it grows so tall.  My hope was the tree would protect it from the wind.

My pots haven't done much better, with the sun baking them every day.  I have been trying to be grateful that I haven't had to weed very much.  But mostly I'm just ready for summer to be over.  Gardeners- like farmers- can always hope the next year will be better.

For other gardeners- here's a reminder of how to water and still conserve water.  (I'm on a well, so don't use the hose to water ever)
First- if you hand wash your dishes, dip the water out of the sink, let it cool and use it in the garden.  It might even keep some of the bugs off your plants. 
Second, bring a bucket with you in the shower.  Just let it collect the water while you let it heat up, or while you're lathering.  I can get 2 or 3 gallons since it takes forever for the hot water to get upstairs!  Every little bit helps!!

I am grateful for:
Being able to share an unpleasant task with friends and laugh about it.  (the ones who know will get it)
Being able to sleep at night. (I didn't want to say air-conditioning again)
I caught my mistake in time.
Cookie dough!
Easy washer repair.

Friday, August 5, 2016

A Few Favorites from the AQS show in Syracuse

I'm going to begin this post with a bit of editorializing- sorry.
This was only the second year for the "Quilt week" event in Syracuse, and it was also the last.  The AQS has decided to focus their efforts a bit and are paring down the number of commitments, as described in the email I received the day after the show closed.  While I can respect the need to focus one's attention and set priorities, I do not feel that two years was a fair test for the success of the show in Syracuse.  It seems like just another example of the "get rich NOW" mentality that has pervaded almost all business practices these days.  No one is in it for the long haul.  If something isn't an overnight success, it is abandoned.  So I feel quite honored that I had a quilt in each of the shows they did have so close to my home.  But I wish they had stayed longer and taken the time to build an audience- maybe by including more quilts in their quilt show???

OK, so I took a ton of pictures and got home to discover I had taken many of them in macro (for getting the details on the quilts you can get right up close to!) mode so they are out of focus.  D'oh!  But of the good ones, I can share a nice sampling of the talent that was on display.

One of my very favorites was this one, which won First Place for home machine workmanship.  But what I was impressed by was the hand work!
Bailando en la Noche, by Shelley Stokes

I found a blog post from the maker, explaining the process for this one and was more amazed to see the design was stenciled on with paintstiks!

My viewer's choice vote went to this one.  I don't know if she dyed the fabric or not, but the design is completely made up of beads!
What's up Buttercup, by Chris Taylor

I loved the way  the striped and ombre fabrics were used in the borders on this one!!
Mandala, by Karen Gloeggler

See the black flowers in this one?  They aren't there- it's the curtain behind them!
Proud Peacock, by Antonia Hering

And then this one, amazing enough for the color arrangement and the quilting.  When I got close, I realized the rainbows were all the same fabric design, from the Kaffe Fassett group, in different colorways!  I've always thought it would be fun to use all the colorways of a given fabric in a quilt- and I was right! :-)
Chasin' Rainbows by Teri Herne

I didn't take note of how the colors were added around the edge. 

And there was so much quilting inspiration!  I have always liked a lot of quilting on my quilts, and am very hopeful I can find ways to put all this inspiration to good use!
Hosta Dream, by Nancy Goans

Toward that end, I attended the lecture with Jane Hauprich on getting your quilt quilted.   She had some great ideas for choosing designs and where to use them.  Hopefully you'll see what I learned soon.  :-)

I am grateful for:
Air-conditioning (still)
Good macaroni and cheese
Playtime with my BFF
Great ideas
I didn't step on the pointy end of that old nail!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Now I Have Three

In 2014, when the Museum Quilt Guild last had a show, they decided some of us had entered too many quilts and asked us to choose which ones we most wanted to hang.  Many of the pieces I had entered were very small; a purse, a couple of the "creative girls", the piece I made in the Wendy Butler Berns class.  I withdrew all of those, plus I think my most recent challenge entry- which had been exhibited previously.  So this year, I decided I would not put too much effort into getting a lot of pieces finished for the show.  I have been trying to whittle away at the UFO list, though.  I've decided I will only show new pieces, as in things that I have never shown in another guild/ local exhibit.  I should have four ready by the registration deadline (Aug 20).  At present I have three.  The first is my fish, which was just in the AQS "Quilt week" event in Syracuse but has not been shown locally.  Second is my One Block Wonder.  And this one. 
 I made this using leftovers from a class I taught- bonus half square triangles!- and the borders were done for a demo using the double diamond ruler.  I got stuck- as so many of us do- deciding how to quilt it.  I decided just to doodle on it. 
 I have a big piece of clear acetate I can lay over quilts to help me audition quilting ideas.  (Be careful not to go off the edge with the whiteboard marker, though!!!)

You probably couldn't see the quilting in the picture above where I hung the quilt on the wall.  I couldn't, so I took it out and laid it in the sun.
 Much better!  

It's finished, I had fun doing the quilting, and feel  like I get a bit better at it with every quilt.  (at least I hope I do!)

Whether or not you agree, plastic bag bans are making a difference! It takes some planning and requires creating a new habit, but if you can switch to using your own bags,  you may find yourself wondering why you waited so long!  Don't forget that you can also recycle most of the plastic bags food is wrapped in at the grocery store as well. 

I am grateful for:
The kittens aren't hissing at me any more.
Reaching the halfway point of the hottest part of the year.
Chatting with Guy and Anna on my birthday.
Time spent chasing Jonathan around the back yard.
Kiara trying to get chickadees to eat from her hand.