Tuesday, July 30, 2013

no surprise . . .

So perhaps chaos does lead to creativity, after all . . . !

In the middle of all my mess (and a half-dozen ongoing projects), I saw a picture online (facebook or pinterest or something), and was instantly intrigued.
I loved the idea of this quilting around the center.  It's a really simple design -- super simple -- and would make a fabulous table topper -- and I still have sunflowers on the brain, and I thought this would be perfect for a sunflower fat quarter I'd purchased just recently.

Hence my question about how to template a spirograph-like star for quilting the other day.  I was really struggling with it, but determined to overcome.  Then I took another, closer look at the finished project in the original photo, and realized that there were 24 points, which meant they were using equilateral triangles and each triangle was a separate unit.  I wanted an unending design, so that my quilting started and stopped at the same point.
Finally, I figured it out!!!

So then it was time to put my top together.
I had to stencil my quilting design on there in order to know where my star should go (and how big it could be).  And well, if it's good on the front, wouldn't it be good on the back?! 
Of course!  Plus, I get double use from it (which I'm all about).

Instead of putting it together, quilting and binding it, I stitched it with right sides together, flipped it inside out, and then quilted it . . .
I was a little concerned about how the design would quilt on the back, even though I'd worked very carefully to line up the center design, so I used a more blended color of thread for the bobbin.
But I think it worked out just perfectly! It's hard to see in the picture, which means it's not as striking, but now I know it's do-able and I can go wild next time!  Yay!!
Already got it in use!  It was a fun and fast project and I *love* the quilting!  
[post script added:  since it doesn't get any NewFO-y-er than this, I'm linking up to Barbara's Cat Patches for her July NewFO linky party!  Yay!!]

As for "Wilma" -- she's the companion to "Waldo" of "Where's Waldo" fame.  
I'd cut and pasted her into my photo the other day:
Teresa found her first!!  I may have to mail Teresa a little something for having a 'hawk eye'!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

creativity vs. chaos . . .

And this is just my work space . . . 
You don't even want to know about the rest of the room!  I think it may be time for an intervention.

On the other hand, it's an incredibly good shot for a happy game of "Find the Hidden Objects" or "Eye Spy" or maybe even a little "Where's Wilma?"!

On an unrelated side note, does anyone know how to template a spirograph-like star for quilting -- the kind of repetitive triangle that leaves you with a circle in its center?


ps -- she really is in there!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

lagging behind . . .

And I'm not (purposefully) describing my posterior, either!  You know it's been a long time when you have to 'sign in' to blogger before you can post.  Aye yi yi!

July is flying by and I've been so happily busy!  Life is, for the very most part, good great! Since the last time I posted was July 8, there's just no way to do a single post that covers *everything* (even if I just limited it to the quilting part of my world), so perhaps I'll do a series of posts this week.  LOL! Listen to me!  ;)

I'll start back on the 11th of the month . . . I visited a local guild -- the Madison Station Quilters -- who had Kathy Shaw from Shawkl Designs as their guest speaker.  Kathy was my mentor through the crazy quilting course I took through StitchMAP, as well as the author of the curriculum.  Which means she's GOOD!  So when I heard she would be in town, I couldn't pass up an opportunity to see her in person!

Would you believe, I neglected to get a picture of her and I? Or of her?!? Where was my head??! I did manage to get some pictures of her extraordinary work:
I was totally captivated by her 'tea' themed block, can you tell?!  Not surprisingly, because that's the block *I* want to do next for my own!

This stunningly embellished Elizabethan lady of royalty took over 400 hours to complete.  Just the lady herself.  WOW!

And she had loads of beautiful blocks that she's received in swaps, too.  
She commented at one point that she'd swapped out some of her best work! LOL!

I made a few purchases, too (I mean c'mon -- we want to support our speakers, right?!?):
I already had her book, but I picked up the sketch book and the monogram pattern set.  I brought her book with me so she could sign it!
And the sketch book is really a simple but genius idea ... it's filled with graph lines to just sketch out ideas -- embellishments, seam treatments, block layout, whatever!  
Having done that with my first cq block, I know what a help it is to do that!

As I left the meeting, I had a fun, totally random surprise.  
I know, I know ... you say, "A bench?  C'mon, Denise, you need to get out more!"  But I happened to have designed that bench with the "M" for Madison City monogram (when I worked in the ornamental iron business)!  I'd forgotten all about the fact that there were thirteen of them at Madison's City Hall (which is where the guild meets)!

I do have things blooming on my design wall . . .
This is an adaptation of a quilt pattern (Laura) that's up on Michelle's Romantic Tangle.  She's done an armful of different baby quilt patterns this year and I fell in love with Laura!  Yes, I made mine smaller.  It's what I do.

And things are blooming on the outside, too!  Isn't this Tiger Lilly pretty? 
It's the first time I've seen this plant up at our site (and we've been here three years); I guess I finally got enough of the weeds cleared away for it to have some breathing room!

And flowers aren't all that are blooming . . .
Sweet little baby!  Just snoozing away, not ten feet off the walking path.  Isn't he precious?!

And on that happy note, I'm outta here for now!


Monday, July 08, 2013

a stash flash . . .

I can't believe it's been well over two months since I last did a stash report.  Yikes!  Truthfully, the net amount won't have changed much, but I *do* want to keep track of what I'm taking in (and putting out, sorta), so here's an updated report: 

Used/donated this month: 6.5 yards
Used/donated year-to-date: 19.25 yards
Purchased/added this month: 9.25 yards
Purchased/added year-to-date: 57.0 yards
Net used/donated for 2013: -37.75 yards

Yup, only a 2.75 difference in my net.  On the other hand, this time last year I was up to -52.25 net yards used (having purchased/added 76 yards).  So overall, I'm doing better (or worse, depending on how you look at it) this year!  I'll be linking up to Judy Laquidara's stash report post at Patchwork Times and try to diligently remember to do so at least monthly!

Part of my yardage came from a FabShopHop win.  I got a nice little gift certificate from Shabby Fabrics and added a few of my own pennies to bring home a sweet little bundle . . .
Isn't that fabric gorgeous?  And two very darling patterns from Crabapple Hill. And wouldn't you know?  They include directions for crayon tinting!  Right *up* my alley. The brown pigma micron pens are what I use for tracing my designs.  She had them for the best price I've seen them!

And I won a book blogger gift certificate to Amazon and used that for some fun tools of the trade . . .
I'm interested in trying out the 'sticky fabri-solvy' on wool.  That's where I first saw it used.  And I just love the posh pumpkins line!  I'd gotten two mini-charms early last month and decided to go ahead and pick up a regular sized charm pack of it!

So far, today is the very first day we've NOT had rain since last Tuesday.  It was a very, very, VERY wet 4th of July weekend.  Some towns in our area got upwards of ten inches of rain over the four day weekend. Crazy.  Needless to say, the weather didn't lend itself to outdoor activities.  It lent itself to reading and sewing.  So that's what I did.  I was woefully behind in my Grandmother's Choice blocks, so I worked diligently on those.  
This is today's block.  It was Rocky Road to Kansas.  It was a rocky road, all right!
My thinking is that if I do a block a day from now until the end, I'll be able to easily catch up.  As I'm sewing them, I'm also entering them into EQ ... it really helps me to be able to *see* the colors I'm wanting to use in my blocks.  Then I had the bright idea to go ahead and draft up a quilt to put them into . . .
This is what I've got so far.  It's really fun to play with it this way!  And while I'm over there, I'll link up to Judy's Design Wall Monday, too!

I'm looking forward to Thursday evening.  Madison Station Quilters (another guild in our area) has Kathy Shaw coming out to do their program on Crazy Quilting. Kathy was my mentor in the CQ course I took through StitchMAP ... in fact, she wrote the curriculum for the course. So I'm going to venture out and hear her speak and meet her!  Yay!

Have a *great* week!!


Thursday, July 04, 2013

salutations and . . .


Monday, July 01, 2013

summer stitchin' . . .

I started that crayon tinting stint two weeks ago and haven't been able to stop! I'd been stitching away on Mr. Owlie and then . . . I got an idea.

Do you ever get an idea that just takes up residence and won't leave you alone until you do something about it?  Yeah, it was one of those kinds of ideas.

Remember the sweet little quilt block stand I got for Christmas?  Well the only thing I've made for it so far is the little Count it *all* JOY!!! block that I did for the "What's in a Word" hop, back in January. 
Oh. Dear.  Yes, it was definitely time for a new block in my little stand!  I felt like I needed to do something summery ... and something with crayon tinting.  Like maybe a sunflower.  Yes, most assuredly a sunflower.  Crayon tinted and outline-stitched with lots and lots and LOTS of French knots to make up the center. Appliqued onto a pretty strip-pieced background and very simply quilted.

That was my idea.

This my final . . .
I do love it when a project ends up looking like how I visualized it in my head! That doesn't always happen, you know.  But this time it really did and I'm extraordinarily pleased with it!
I used a sunflower template that I found on a scrapbooking blog . . . i love scrapbooking, to be exact. Except I didn't bother tracing over all of the circles in the center!
And I wasn't kidding ... a LOT of French knots.  It took me longer to do the French knots than it took to do the whole rest of the project combined!

And I figured it's been too long since I included grandbaby pictures, so I'd better share a few of those. Waaaay too long.  Sawyer's headed to college, Ellie's getting her driver's license, and June's not too far behind her.

Hahaha! Just kidding, though it does feel like the days are flying by!  Sawyer gets taller by the minute (doesn't he look like a kid as opposed to a toddler?), 

Ellie--no longer a baby--is adding a million words a day to her vocabulary (most notably, to me, "Neesey"!), 

and June is in charge and on the move and loves hamming it up!  
They're all so darling and precious to me!

The question now is . . . what to play with next??!