Saturday, June 30, 2018

April, May, and June 2018 Review

Here's what I’ve been up to;

Locker Hooking another cover for a journal book.

1&2 of 8 quilt tops that were given to me for longarm quilting. These are for the Doors to Freedom facility in Charleston. More are on the way. 

 3 & 4 

 5 & 6

 7 & 8  

Then we were on vacation and  adventure time with our grandkids. Voyageurs Rendevous in Illinois. 

There’s always something interesting going on with the kiddos. 

It is always a welcome sight to see the Swan’s when we return to the UP of Michigan. 

I guess Chloe likes the quilt her mom got. 

Visiting the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford. We watched a muskrat move through the creek bed up and over the dam area to the upper reservoir. 

Stopping at Vintage Wings and Wheels Museum, located by the Poplar Grove Airport, is something we look forward to. 

The Burpee Museum of Natural History held many interesting items. Jane, the Dinosaur, was one of them. 

George built another beautiful arbor for the backyard and we’ve gotten ourselves some lovely flowering plants for the front entry. 

More pictures from the Anderson Gardens. It's pretty obvious that we had a great time with the kids. 

I’ve made progress on some quilt projects. The purple jelly roll race needs some pizzazzing! Borders are needed for the modern jelly roll race.  The 2" squares I was given last spring are finding their way around some blue chambray fabric squares. I'm going for a more modern look on some of my quilts and hopefully this will look like floating grids when done. 

 This one is starting to grow on me. When I first looked at the jelly roll of Tiger Lily I was soooo disappointed. The orange was just too intense for even me! My oldest son said, "give it time and keep your eyes open, you'll see just the right fabric(s) to put it with". Boy was he right! I don't remember just how it happened to get placed next to a jelly roll of Kaffee Fasset pieces, but that was when I knew I would put them together and I'm liking it more daily. 

 After putting several of these blocks together, I realized that the low volume difference was going to work to my advantage, as I hadn’t turned my units correctly on some spots and they are each an individual design. LOL

Because I have finally figured out how to blog from my iPad Pro I may just get back into doing this more frequently. It isn't as intuitive as my older iPad but it gets the job done. 

May God bless each of you and your families with a summer warm enough to enjoy and cool enough to enjoy. 

Let's Create Something Special for Someone Else Today, Luann. 

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.