Monday, April 2, 2018

March Review

I've been working on this tank top since February. I finished it before midnight, then I had to get the photo taken, so even though it looks like an April finish, it was done in March. 

Clip boards were given a coat of gesso. Then fabrics were cut to size, after attaching fusible webbing to the back side. I painted the edges with Lumiere paints to finish them off, after they got a good sealing coat of Mod Podge. The fronts and backs are coordinated for each of the 'littles' that will get them. They work wonderfully for playing car bingo. 

Here are some progress photos from work I've been doing on my Creative Adventure Journal. Brenda gave me an armful of upholstery samples. I cut them to a dimension I wanted and removed some of the information stickers from the backside. I ended up taking them apart once and trimming one that was too tall for the locker hooked cover I wanted them for. I sewed them together in groups, like book signatures. I used a sturdy mesh as an insert, but found that it didn't stand up along the spine. So, I tried an accordion folded piece of Decorbond. That worked great but it still needed more support for the cover insert areas. I finally decided to glue it to a couple of book covers that I had salvaged last year. Now it slips easily into the journal's inside flaps and I've already started to tuck in some goodies. 

And because I enjoyed making the cover for the Creative Adventure Journal #1, and I have some pieces that are much larger that I want to use in the same manner, #2 is underway. Progress seems so much slower on this one, but it is 4 times larger, so I need to exercise my patience muscle! LOL

A while back I chose these four fabrics to do an experiment with. I layed them all on one stack, and cut through all four at once, several times. Then I started playing with which pieces would touch each other, and from there I would refer to it as my 'What Was I Thinking?' piece. Three of them are very soft and will become pillow covers at some point in time, but one was put together on that famous Decorbond product that I bought so much of! It will become a 'page' in Creative  Adventure Journal #2

I was gifted this lovely assortment of vintage hankies. I've already been given the suggestion of making one into a pillow for Miss Hannah, she was born in Kentucky so I'm sure you know which one is on her radar. 
Aunt Marjorie had a special Birthday gathering, she has turned 90! I pray that God gives me the mobility and grace at that age that she displays. I made this lap size quilt for her. We asked those attending to write on the back and most everyone did. We used an Identipen. Many of the signers were surprised at how easy it was to write with it. And the buttons? Well, if I was going to embellish this quilt with some, these would have worked perfectly. (And I needed another image for the collage)

So many people just love purple that once I started this one, I knew who it would go to. Molly and Hannah said the fabrics were terrific and they were sure their mom would like it. The final picture doesn't show how pretty the colors were, something with my lighting at midnight? Perhaps. 

The clamshell quilt has had several starts. None of them are working for me. I'll keep searching until I find a good way that works and doesn't send me looking for headache medicine. Until then, I'm coloring mandalas while I ponder the possibilities. 

It was only taken me 5+ years to do the final trim work around the edges of this jacket. I think this will be gifted to ? I love the colors but the size isn't quite what I need now, argh!

Last fall I order in some packets of Cake Mix Recipe #7 papers. How these work is; you put two 10" squares together with right sides facing, pin this on top, stitch on the lines, cut on the other lines, press, then remove the papers, and you have perfect half-square triangle units to sew together in any way you chose. They include 6 possibilities, but there are several more. I pulled out several stacks of layer cakes (that's what 10" squares are called, in case you aren't a quilter). I didn't agonize over the matching up process, just tried to get some reasonable contrast going on. I've started on my first little group. These were squares from the Sand In My Shoes collection, matched up with Kona Cotton Solids from a recent order of mine with Missouri Star Quilt Company. I really enjoy beachy colors. 

We spent some time visiting Hunting Island, Hilton Head Island, and Beaufort (SC) at the beginning of March. It was a great time and we were able to met up for brunch with Ken. It's always pleasant to see old friends that understand about 'barking spiders'. If you don't know about them, consider yourself special!

We always enjoy time spent at Middleton Plantation. The flowering trees and bushes were spectacular. 
And in our own back yard there's always something to enjoy. 

May God bless the work of your hands. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February Review

February is short with only 28 days, but I try to pack as much in as I can. 

We visited Magnolia Gardens, Middleton Plantation, Folly Beach, and Charlotte (NC). 
My grandkids were also busy this month. Seth graduated from his Eye Therapy Classes. Most of us never even think twice if we want to cross our eyes. This little man couldn't, and therefore was unable to read anything in small print or up close! Distance was a strong point for him so no one noticed how things weren't working, until his grades started to drop. That's when his parents pushed for answers. And NOW things are much better. Our Miss Molly has a new love, her littlest cousin. He fell asleep as she rocked him, much to her dismay. She wanted to talk to him more. Precious kids. 
The Creative Adventure Journal is moving forward, slowly. I am keeping paper copies of 'stufff' in the 3-ring binder I covered last fall for this project. On the right, below, you can see the inside of the cover I made for my 'pages' that I will be creating this year. On the lower left is what is left from an old photo album. The interior pages literally fell away from the covers when I started to check out its stability. I guess it was meant to be a part of this project also. I glued the two tab areas together. That might not have been the best decision, but time will tell. If I fold my locker hooked cover the way I want to, the hard covers should slide into the little pocket flaps on each end. And I'm participating in the M.A.P. on Facebook. It will be fun to interact with others. 
Next are two pages of rough draft drawings for disappearing quilt blocks. I'm mesmerized by the options that one could do with this simple technique. It's been around for several years, but good ideas are worth revisiting. 
Valentine's Day goodies of a delivery of 50 colors (only 1 shade of gray) and dinner at Sunrise Bistro in Summerville, SC. We also had gone for another 'Southern Tea' experience at Baker's Pond and Garden Center. Dr. West is a very informed gentleman regarding the 'tea culture' of our area. 
This next set of pictures has a funny story behind them. The first is obviously how the project ended. But it is obvious that we had some unstitching to do on the top right piecing. We sat and took care of it one afternoon. Put it all back together and I took the lower left picture the second time we were done with piecing, NOT! All we could do was laugh at this point and unstitch the last seam, and restitch it for a third finish??? Yes, this time everything had been pinned and stitched according to our drawings. I used my favorite circle meander design for the quilting. It has been trimmed and given back to its owner. And before I started on her charity quilt, I noticed my longarm quilting machine 'pulling' against me as I tried to move it into position. I went to the back side to see if there was a cord caught. Oh, yes! My encoder tape was under the carriage, caught within the rollers, and that little zip tie was laying on my table. This is not a good thing! I turned everything off. Checked the HandiQuilter website for the video for setting up of the machine. This was done by the shop I purchased it through, not me. It was not done correctly, or this could not have happened! And there was no reason for a zip tie to be anywhere within my machine's vicinity. Thankfully there are good videos on that site that showed me exactly what should be where. I was able to fix things and got more quilting done that day. 
Here's what can happen when you know you want another flannel comfort quilt. I purchased 5 yards of wide back flannel for the project. I cut it into two sections because I wanted to use one for backing and the other one for the filler. My original plan was to stitch within each of my hankies, fold the fabric into columns and rows. Similar to when you use some of that wonderful 2" grid for watercolor quilting. My method was to do this with the seams to the top, then trim the edge so I could then 'rag' the edges. Great idea, but my hankies were of so many varying sizes, it wasn't a wise way to go. So, after washing, drying, and several extra rounds of air fluffing to remove lint and fuzz, I attached one as a backing, used the second piece as a batting and just layed my hankies on one row at a time. Adjusting things as I went worked well. I was surprised at how much my 'batting flannel' shrunk compared to the attached backing flannel. I once again used my favorite circle meander quilting design. I then layed out a group of charms and just did straight lines across them. It can be a table runner, chair cover, or I might eventually make it into a snuggle pillow. For now it lives on my rocking chair. The 2cup container is the lint from that 5 yards of flannel. The flannel is still soft and fuzzy like you would want it, but my goodness I never thought I was going to get this much lint accumulated. I'm glad I checked early in the drying time, as I needed to clear the lint filter every 20 minutes. By the way, that lint is pushed and packed into that cup, not loose in any spot!
Things don't always go as planned for any of us, do they? I started this pink and purple tunic. The pattern has you make it from the neck down, then sew the shoulders together. I went from the back bodice up and across. The neck was supposed to be a 'slit type' opening. Not one I like but I was willing to try it. I added some rows to make a faux cowl, or at least I can say I started to,,, I decided I hated it and I wasn't going to continue. I got out my yarn winder, unraveled it, wound it into balls. I then started knitting another tank top, using a pattern I've done in the past. It isn't finished but I invested quite a bit of time getting it to this point. 
I grabbed some upholstery fabric squares I picked up at IKEA in Illinois a few years ago, used my serger, and made a quilt top that has gone to the church to be tied and sent out for missions. The 8 boxes on the right are each filled with a similar grouping as in the top one. I plan to use them in the Assemblage Dyeing Workshop I'm taking. I love learning other people's techniques. 
I finally found my cathedral window piece. I hand-pieced this way back when,,,. I took a pillowcase apart and attached it to the top. I tacked each of the little flaps down around the outside edge and sewed the case back together. Viola! Done!  Then, feeling proud of just getting something out of the UFO pile, I grabbed the Batik pieces I cut several years ago for a sweatshirt redo. I started piecing them together in various ways. I have 4 blocks completed. Until I know where I'm going with this, it's as done as it will be. I'm also investing some time in learning how to use a 'new to me' machine. Oh, the learning curve is such a pain,,,.  
As I went through a lot of the 'clutter' of my life I sorted through my flannel fabrics. The small pile on the right of the ironing board is what I kept, the rest went to a local church's charity project. I also gifted the batiks and quilting cottons to a friend that makes charity quilts. I filled  a recycling bin to the top and quilted up the sandwich of a friend's charity quilt. 
The dragonfly candle holder is from the Magnolia Gardens Gift Shop. And the applesauce was something I made for the hubster and myself to enjoy. I forgot just how good homemade can be, even though it cost an arm and a leg, at least you know how much sugar you did (or didn't) put in it!!
Time to go create,,,  
May God bless the work of your hands on this last day of February 2018. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Celebrate, Celebrate, Dance To The Music

I'm doing my happy dance because I went over 6 million stitches on my longarm machine. It's funny how such a simple thing can put me in such a positive mood,,,

I moved my mixed media collage piece along during the early days of the month. There may be more special effects yet to be experimented with,,,

My Impatiens #2 from 2016 is completed and hanging on my dining room wall when it's not on the table looking pretty. 

I finally dug out my beads and did some embellishing around he top edge of my wet felted bowl from last year. I really enjoyed making this piece and the colors are exactly what a Mermaid would want. The little paisley on the bottom was done after the Dimensional Weaving Workshop and it became my signature on the piece. 

This poor silk fusion vessel lost it's rigidity at some point. So, back onto the form with some stiffening agent applied. I think I may add beads along the ridges left by the rubber bands
I spent some time cleaning and clearing this month. I deconstructed 2 wedding gowns. I wanted lace pieces for a project that's part of my Creative Adventure Journal. Also sorted and organized a drawer full of buttons. 
Here's what kept me inside for close to a week. Yep, snow! We got over 7 & 1/2" and the temps dipped below freezing for several nights. It was extremely rare for this to happen in our location and to last for so long!!!
While I was decluttering I decided to put this quilt top up for adoption. Within a few hours it had a new home to go to and it's story of origin was shared. 

Here I am modeling my latest knitting adventure. Mermaid colors are definitely a thing with me. 

I wanted to have a piece of fabric with words and names on it so I tried my hand at making it myself. 
I have a boat load of fabric that I quilted up when I was learning how to run my machine. I cut these pieces into 8" squares and constructed a 'raggy edge' quiltlet for using at Christmas time. 
During the cleaning and clearing I organized my stash of hankies. I purchased enough wide back white flannel to make these into a raggy quilt, but I ran into a problem. I decided to pre wash the flannel because I didn't want it to shrink tremendously after I put the hankies on it. I was pleased with the minimal amount of shrinkage, but,,, the lint is tremendous! I've actually been tumbling them on 'no heat' just to remove as much of the lint as I can before I put it on my longarm. I'll try to get some good pictures of the method I plan to use for making this 'mostly' on my longarm machine. I came across the crewel embroidery piece. It is one my Mom did many years ago when I was a demonstrator/teacher for Creative Circle. I'll do something special with it one of these days. And the 18" quilt block was made from my pieces that were supposed to be for an entire quilt. Bonnie Hunter's On Ringo Lake, mystery quilt along was something I started but lost my umph to continue. I have the directions and perhaps one day I will revisit it and produce a full quilt from her pattern. 
This is an adaptation of a jelly roll race quilt. I no longer had all 40 strips so I went as far as I could, added borders and quilted it up. The strips were cut on straight of grain, but the design was printed off grain. It looked 'wonky' when on the design wall. So,  I named it Wilma, the Wonky. I really like the backing fabric. I used it for the binding for a quick finish. 
I have a friend that fell in love with all the quilts we've been seeing on the internet that are a cross made from log cabin blocks. I decided to surprise her with a kit, as a Birthday gift. But, I needed to know that it was going to come together properly with my calculations. So, I made one very similar to the kit she will get. Mine will go to a local church. 
Here's the kit and fabrics for Nancy. She's going to enjoy stitching it together. I'll quilt it after she has that part done. She was so helpful during our 'marathon of quilting and binding' last fall. That was when we made all those quilts for hurricane victims. 
We spent time with family in NC this month. My husband and his brother made most of the meals and my favorite was the seafood chowder. It was delicious.  

Are you wondering about the Creative Adventure Journal? Well, it's in the works. Things are just taking a little extra time to get them put together. If you are interested in following along, during February watch the insides of your junk mail envelopes. Keep any that look particularly interesting to you. 

May God bless each of you with good health and abundant happiness. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 Wrap Up

Today, 12/30/17, finds me motivated and ready for 1/1/18. I have finished my 5 weeks with Kim and the Design Your Destiny 2018 workshop. I did this last December and it really helped with moving forward on several fronts. Here are my two 'journals' that I will use for the upcoming year. 
The one on the left was used for all of my writing during the DYD2018, a listing of all projects that have been started or are 'on my heart', and other lists that I want to keep together. I will start from the back and come forward with my Gratitude Journal. The one on the right is a 'one page a day' planner. I want to acknowledge that it is a PLANNER, not an inflexible list and schedule that would label me a failure if I don't get everything done that appears on any given day. It will help when the DYD for 2019 has us reviewing 2018.  Here is a recap of this year's happenings and what will go into the new year;

1/1/2017 * 37 UFOs. I finished 5.   1/1/2018 * 32 'old' UFOs and 18 'new' UFOs = 50 UFOs. This may sound like a lot, but many of them are close to completion or minimal in size. If I finish one a week these will be totally gone by the end of the year, and I will have several new UFOs on the list by that time. 

2017 Recap

69 quilts were quilted on the longarm. 14 quilts that have gone to friends (4) or Charity Projects (10). I did the quilting (supplied batting and backing for many) of 54 quilts that went to hurricane relief efforts (42-Houston and Florida) and Soldiers (12-Wisconsin).  I actually have one quilt on-hand at this moment. 

Rolled 275+ bandages for mission work. 

Dimensional Weaving & Embellishing Workshop - organized and facilitated this with Martina Celerin. I also learned about wet felting, unfinished turtle and bowl. 

Silk Fusion Workshops - I conducted 2 during the winter. This added several more UFOs to the list. 

Learned how to use a drop spindle for spinning yarn. UFO addition. 

Learned about Prodded Hooking, Primitive Rug Hooking, and Locker Hooking. More UFOs,,

6 dyeing days with scarves, clothing, and fabric experiments. None of these are considered UFOs. 

I invested time improving in mixed media, and watching several online courses of interest. Never can learn too much. I often find the influence of one area spilling over into another. There were several other areas that I made and gifted things from. They are in my journal and on my heart. 

On the home front: We finished the kitchen with countertops and a fan/light addition. The sink cutout portion of the granite was mounted on my Grandma's sewing machine base for the screen porch, where we put up new hardware of wires for curtain rods. George was kept busy with all of these activities as well as making games for the summer vacations (BeanBagToss and Connect 4), installing lights/fans in both upstairs bedrooms, and his most important job of all,,, making me happy by cooking my meals! I just love the fact that he enjoys cooking and at most I only need to suggest the meat. I do help with the cleanup and do laundry! LOL 

Best memories are of playing at the beach  and 'chintzing' shells with the grandkids. It's always that way for me. Time with loved ones make the Best List of Any Year. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

December - Monthly Review

I was blessed and was able to bless others during the month.
I finished this mug rug and it's been given to a sweet neighbor lady. 

We enjoyed hearing the Claflin University students perform at our Christmas Cantata at OLC, in Orangeburg, SC. The little church in Summerville got a new paint job this year. I love seeing the sunshine pouring through the window and the reflection on the wall. While we were at Whimsy Gift Shop in Santee we saw this wintery scene on a mantle display. Whimsy's inside Clark's Restaurant. 

Two of my grandsons helped with the work on intarsia ornaments. The family sells these online and at Arts & Crafts fairs. I was able to help out two of my friends with their Christmas gift giving projects by getting the two quilts onto my longarm machine and back to them quickly. 

I've started the mystery quilt project with Bonnie Hunter. On Ringo Lake, is a beautiful name for a quilt that will be made using some of my favorite colors. I fell a little behind after the first two clues, so at present, I'm collecting the information. In January I'll work on it and hopefully have a completed project by the end of February.  

We attended another 'tea party' at Baker's Pond and Garden Center where I was warned by their fire.  A few days later we were off to Sunrise Bistro and I found the 'duck omelette' to be amazingly delicious. It was a big step away from my norm to even try it, but I'm glad I did. 
I took a bunch of leftover pieces from other quilts, stitched them together in a 'whatever happens' method. It came out nicely. I then used a portion of left over jelly roll strips for the binding. The backing was made by seaming two pieces of Batik together. They had the same pattern just different color ways on each. I may end this year with having this as my only 2017 finished quilt left in my house! But there are still 3 days to get through before that's a reality, and God has His plan,,,,

During the month we visited Middleton Place and the camellias are blooming profusely. Earlier we went to Anderson, SC (George had a class). On the way up it started to rain, then got colder, turned to ice pellets, and eventually snowed! Obviously the roads were slick and lots of vehicles spun off when they hit a spot of ice. We moved slowly and after getting to our motel, we walked next door to a Cracker Barrel for supper. I spent the next day knitting on a project that I hope to finish for a January show 'n tell. By noon the snow had melted, sun was shining, and the few vehicles that had snow on them were usually in a dealership parking lot. 

When I took my 'faux' tree out of the attic this year I decided it was time to start the clearing and cleaning of the clutter that always accumulates. I took out about a dozen containers of various sizes. I sorted through 3 boot-sized boxes and tossed 75% of all the pictures and paper stuff that was in them. Some of it I have no idea who the people were or why I kept the 'notes' in the first place. I'm now down to a very small basket of memories of my kids' lives, and a few of my youth. I have a plan to make hard bound books and then toss the actual snapshots and papers. Something similar to my blog books I make yearly. I found an assortment of holiday tins and when a friend of mine mentioned that she was baking for her neighbors and would need to get to the store in hopes of finding tins,, well, you know what, she got these and they saved her the trip. I love it when God orchestrates things like that. I invested time with the Design Your Destiny for 2018, with Kim at Sublime Reflections. After finishing the 5 weeks of worksheets, I have a 'plan' for accomplishing several of those leftovers from prior years. 

During the attic clean out I realized that I've saved quite a few 'cloth' items. The only thing is, they've yellowed over the years. I ordered more Retro Clean and when it arrived I got started on taking the 'dingy' out of a large rough tote full of keepsakes. Some of these will be used in an online class I'm taking with Linda Matthews called Assemblage Dyeing. It starts January 15, 2018. 

This was one of the gifts I received. I will really enjoy this pen, in my favorite color, with the words 'Wonderful Grandma' on it, wrapped in owl paper, and a fox label on it. Life is wonderful! 

May God bless you with a peace filled finish to 2017 and May He fill your heart with His desires for you during 2018.  Love to you all, Luann.