Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mug Rug

Now that Susan has received this Mugrug I made for her in the HGTV swap I can show you! This was alot of fun to make..I used some of my rusty dyed fabrics and some Judy Robertson hand dyed fabrics and a thread painted mug with "hot stuff" on it!
I have been wanting to try the whole "thread sketching" thing..I just visualized what I wanted to draw and did it. I love how the machine quilting looks too.

I am still using some of my more productive morning moments before work sewing some of the nine patches. Little by little....minute by literal minute...I am getting this quilt done!

So January is just about least favorite month of the year. Good riddance!
My mom would have been 70 yesterday...her twin sister is 70 now. It has been over 8 years since my mother succumbed to either breast cancer or colon cancer. One of them metastasized to lungs. She was 61.

I have learned:

  1. Airfare to Charlotte NC for C.O.F. quilt retreat all set. Can't wait to meet up with old friends and meet new ones!
  2. I love Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler on American Idol. Who knew it would be this much better?
  3. I have wanted to read Lonesome Dove for a long time. Finally picked it up and really like how McMurtry develops his characters. This is a tome. I look forward to each page.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bits of My Week

After 4 hours yesterday and 4 more today I needed to do some improvisational piecing...all that traditional piecing on the Jam & Jelly...all those 1/4" seams and squaring up...that is out of the box for me! I dumped the bag of "fabrics" from Nancy Crow class and plucked a couple bits out and within an hour I had pieced this little number! I really like it. I think I will try some hand quilting on this.
I have pieced all 20 pinwheel blocks and am working on the nine patch blocks now. Each of them has 57 pieces! I love the scrappy look with a couple constant design elements. Note the same blue/gray corners in the pinwheel, the black and white nine patch and the latte border on the nine patch blocks....these will remain throughout the top and I know it will make a striking quilt in the end. I am really loving this quilt which will be a shower gift for Melissa and Cory in August! I have alot of work to do!
And all this sewing with my precious Fiona somewhere on the table in front of me! I love my chubby fur baby!

Some of you know this is the year of the Melissa & Cory wedding. October 15, downtown Buffalo at the Pearl Street Grill. Fun will be had by all! Melissa and I went to the very new Alfred Angelo Bridal salon in Amherst yesterday and the second dress she put on was THE dress. Melissa had noted the dress from an ad in a bridal magazine but when she saw it she wasn't sure of the flowers on the bodice. I loved it. The flowers were tulle so they were light and fun. I asked that she try it on any way. Yay! It is a new line of Disney princess dresses. This one is called Snow White. It is even more ironic since last weekend at Target a little girl asked her if she was Snow White! Her hair is dyed black and her eyes are blue...she could play a great Snow White~! Underneath the tulle and beaded flowers of the bodice is an edgy boned corset bodice. I just love this dress and she looked great in it! One more check off the list!

My best and oldest friend Pam turns 50 tomorrow! I have known her for 43 years! My family moved into the house next door to them shortly after they moved in. She is a wonderful, reliable friend with a great family, of which I am a part of. Her and Jim have been together since grade school and are a good example of what works. They each bring strengths and equal out any weaknesses in each other. Sarah, Hannah and Noah are like my nieces and nephew and I truly enjoy them all. But nothing can dispute the fact that Pam turns 50 before me!

This January has been very punishing. The cold, cold, cold temps day after day have had an effect on my bones and psyche. This week will be more of the same. I am grateful that many of my work days have been in my stockroom over the past 2 months. I have spent most of my time getting things in order. I know my days in there are numbered and then all control is lost!

Susan ran a Mugrug swap on HGTV message board. I swapped with the woman in charge! Here is the mat I received from our host! I love it! I love the teetering teacups and the teapot. Thank you! I can't show the one I made her yet as she hasn't received it yet. I was fun to make something small and quick.

I love this miniature that my fellow little art quilt group friend made. It is a replica of a high school boy's bedroom. I am not sure if this was for her son or another family member...I was just in awe and not really listening! She had a pizza box with a local pizzeria on it...all the local newspaper artlicles scaled down to size and posted on a bulletin board. The detail was unbelievable in this microcosm of adolescent boy life! My son would have loved something like this. Great job Lori! Thank you for sharing.

I am just about finished working on Colleen's Steampunk CQ RR block.

I used a watch face from an old watch I got at Sal Army for $1.99. The ring is from a belt. I stitched it down over a velvet yo-yo with the dial tacked down with a bead.

The rhinestone trim was tacked down on a curve. I liked the light this added to the block.

I have learned:

  1. I love this song by Christina Perri...Jar of Hearts
  2. American Pickers. What a job!
  3. Allen, my kids' step-brother...a construction worker, Air Force Reservist and dad started making cakes after watching Cake Boss on TV. He's already sold a couple apparently and will be making the cake for Melissa's shower in August! Cool.
  4. This frozen Jambalaya by Contessa is delicious! I added a can of diced tomatoes with jalapenos, a can of canellini beans, some extra turkey sausage and some red pepper flakes to the bag of ingredients.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chocolate Challenge Quiltlets

                                                                     "Layer Cake"
(this is the only pic I got of it...this is still in process picture, note the needle? I did block it and iron it smooth
 for a tidy presentation!)
Note the blocks, and I use that term loosely, resemble a slice of chocolate cake with raspberry filling and yummy frosting. A picture from a magazine of just such a cake was inspiration. I saw a block! I used my embellishing machine to punch the old chiffon scarves of pink, brown and light tan into recycled wool from a jacket...all from my favorite haunt, Salvation Army. Kantha stitching covers the entire piece, which for me was the best part. I love that repetitive, texturizing stitching. I was torn on the "finishing". I tried to put a binding on it and it was all wrong. I tried to sew it to a background....more wrong. I could have done the envelope or facing method but to me it would have been almost tragic to cover all the stitching on the reverse. I know the traditional judges will comment on that fact, amongst other non-traditional issues! Funny, I thought I could have rolled the edges and hand stitched them after it was out of my hands. When I get it back I think it will become part of a larger project....nothing is ever finished to me!

                                                             "Candy Bar Penny Rug"

I whipped this up a couple weeks ago when I wanted to play. The background is the requisite brown wool with a great shade of blue "candy bar" shapes sewn to it with a shiny blue fabric bit punched into it and some handmade X's over them. The tongues are the same rectangle shapes. Not a very complex plan but was oh-so-fun to make!

My presence was necessary at Michael's football banquet in Rochester today so I had to miss guild.( Of course he informed me Thursday at 11:00 AM of this after asking many times) I did hear that there were many awesome Chocolate Challenge pieces turned in today including art quilts, crazy quilts and traditional quilts. I can't wait to see them in the Batavia library throughout the month of February. If you are in the area, check them out.
I did see a few of them before the reveal and WOW. They were great~!

My little art quilt group met this past Tuesday and as usual it was a wonderful sharing of idea's and discussion on the new group book project. Karen brought in these grommeted fabric samples that we decided will make a good base to put our pieces on. The original idea of an 8"x8" page is now a 12"x12"  page. So my approximately 3.5" ish square window of crazy quilt will now enlarge 4x's. I am excited about this and am anxious to begin.

Tomorrow I am ever hopeful I can sew more Jam & Jelly blocks. That is the plan. Maybe some bulls eyes too! I love them!

This wintry weather is wreaking havoc on my energy level. I am so tired at 8 PM I am nodding off on the couch! I can sleep 8 hours and feels like 4. That coupled with work world......and of course cresting 50 must figure in here...all I can say is feeling so January.

I have learned:
  1. I am still amazed that people I hardly know find gossiping about me interesting. I am so boring.
  2. American Idol. Jennifer Lopez. Steven Tyler. Weird.
  3. Apparently Joann fabrics was bought by a large something or other company....hope they focus some attention on the small stores. Ours is suffering from young-clerk-girls-talking-amongst-themselves-for-all-to-hear-inappropriate-conversations. 
  4. The man that hired me almost 32 years ago, died yesterday. He was a good man that had worked his way to the top from the bottom. That's how it was done back in the day. Now we have boy bosses that have earned no stripes. I am getting old!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

More Bulls Eye Fun

These are so fun! I love stacking the fabrics and cutting away layers to reveal a funky bulls eye block. I plan to make more, then quarter them and figure out some awesome composition with all the bits! The blocks are 6".
I have been under the weather this past week...I lost the battle, the vitamin C did not ward off the cold. It is still lingering in my head but finally feel better.
Yesterday I spent the day at Tracy's sewing and chatting and eating great soup! We decided to get back on track with the Jam & Jelly quilt we started back in September. After reacquainting ourselves with it we did manage to get in the zone. I made 40 9 patch's and 3 pinwheel with border blocks. I made 14 more 9 patch's today. Only 96 of them to go! I am working on improving my 1/4" seam with my Bernina 37 foot!
HGTV message board started up their Friday Night PJ Party lessons again. We made a scarf! I love it. I used some of my "fabrics" from Nancy Crow class. Here it is before I put the flannel backing on and washed it into soft submission!
I wore it outside today and it is so warm and cozy!

I have to say I feel so January. The cold, the snow, the cold and the work of it all. I'm just saying.

The Steampunk CQ RR has officially begun. I mailed my block out to Meg on Monday. I have Colleen's block and have already done quite a bit of stitching on it! I have to figure out when to stop since 3 other ladies have to work on it too! I reused another winged heart from my challenge piece 2 years ago...I placed a cool black charm over the heart and wooly bits under to ground it.
I stitched the grids with random X's over them....for a little bit of gritty. The blue and ruffle at bottom is 2 ribbons attached with french knots.

I have learned:

  1. The year-of-the-wedding has begun, 9 months from from next Saturday. A gestation away!
  2. Michael graduates from St John Fisher in less than 4 months. 
  3. Gas. $3.29 in Batavia. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bulls Eye Quilt......a Little One!

My little Bulls Eye quilt! I love this! I loved the process. It was all free stitching which appeals to me. I had 4 layers of fabric, including a sheer old blue scarf and a great chartreuse sheer and just had at it!  I sewed 3 consecutive circles...
just winging it...then cut away carefully, each ring to the fabric reveal!.
How fun!! I then cut my 4 blocks into quarters and arranged into a pleasing composition, then sewed all pieces together. I began with 6 1/2" blocks of all fabrics.
I also tried this....
In the recent issue of Quilting Arts there is an article about a similar process. I began with a 10 1/2" block and
6 layers of fabric. I free motioned the design making sure to close areas that could be cut away. Interesting indeed.
I had a good day experimenting with something new. Best medicine for my return to work tomorrow.

My guild challenge is due in 3 weeks! Of course I have known about it since last February! I have been working on a piece ( can't show it yet!) but had another I got out some wool, my embellishing machine and made a 2nd entry. It is my take on something after our meeting later this month!

I don't make New Year's resolutions...I have been around long enough to know better than that! But I am determined to lose 15-20 lbs this year and to work on more things for myself...I want to try the things that I have sketched out in my journals.

Maybe make one of these jackets and a scarf. Vogue patterns were on sale at Joann's for 3.99 and I couldn't resist these Marcy Tilton patterns. I am a fan.

I have learned:
  1. Vitamin C should heal all my woes. I am giving it a shot. I need a boost!
  2. P.S. I Love You. My favorite movie. My Irish rogue in Ireland.
  3. The Elm at the End of the Earth...good book my daughter recommended. Takes place in our county.
  4. My feet have not been warm in 3 months! I'm just saying....