Saturday, March 31, 2018

Stitchers Gonna Stitch, Plumbers Gonna Plumb

Hello friends!  Well, guess what I've been up to.  Ding, ding, ding, correct!  Stitching.  If you guessed plumbing, well, you were wrong.  You're cute, but you're wrong!  I was hooked into Craftsy again and took the Stupendous Stitching class.  Lots of fun and very simple.  Afterward, I did wonder why I had to take a class on something so elemental but whatever.  I'm claiming this to be March's new project for 6 and 6 in 2018 with Pomegranate and Chintz.
 I chose one of my first hand dyed fabrics from a few years ago that I didn't love, for the background.  Basically, you just choose different machine stitches with different threads until you fill a fat quarter.  The lines were supposed to weave back and forth to make interesting sections.
 I couched some ribbons, used metallics, added beads and voila.  I love it up close up but I feel like from a distance, it's not very interesting.  I think I'll do another one with a white or black background.  I think the threads will have more impact.  It was a fun afternoon project.  If you're looking for a quick project I recommend it.  It was also really nice to become more aware of what my machine is capable of.  Embroidery that's easy on the carpel tunnel is also nice.
 Before the beading, I quilted between the rows.  Somehow, I got an applique pattern caught underneath... it took me 8 rows before I realized I was quilting over paper... I feel like such a bright shining star some days...  I also used a hand dyed for the backer.  It's that vintage rose piece that I wasn't crazy about.
Speaking of bright and shining.  I had to replace my sink faucet and accidentally got one that shoots laser beams!  Just kidding.  It's got an LED light that makes the water glow.  I have NO idea, why anyone would need that feature.  I guess, if I wanted to get a drink in the middle of the night but didn't want to turn a light on first?  Definitely a first world thing.  The good news is that it has a tall neck and I can now get my spritzer bottle under the tap in my studio!  Again, first world issues.  #blessed  No picture, but Rich put in the UtiliTub in the basement and a light fixture directly above. It made him cranky.  He called it the portal to hell.  Such a grouchy pants.  What's important here is that my dye station is fully operational!
This happened!  So, here's the story.  Last month they went to Norway and Hunter's plan was to propose under the Northern Lights but the day before the excursion, he broke his leg while skiing.  Had to be rushed home and yada yada yada, the proposal got postponed.  So, he rented a local theatre for an hour, had them play the Northern Lights and asked Carmen to marry him.  Yeah!  There's going to a wedding!  Now to start my campaign to be their wedding cake baker.  There are Craftsy classes for that!  Maybe I should find out how big the wedding's going to be before I attack that... I'll do some grilling when they come to dinner Sunday.  Incidentally, he fell in the shower yesterday and we spent the evening in the ER getting his cast sawed off.  He's fine, fairly bruised up but at least he didn't mess up the healing process.  Oi!  These kids will be the death of me.
In other news, I'm mostly caught up on Simple Folks applique blocks.  This one is just missing a few of the dots above the tulip.
 The swans need dots and eyeballs.
There's a few other things going on but I'll save if for another day.  Hope everyone has a fantastic Easter!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

I'll Get Around To It, Eventually!

Look what I found when I brought my Grandma's Hope Chest up from the basement last month.  This old crewel work that I started forever ago!  2002!  It was mostly finished but I had run out of a color and wasn't confident enough to move on with what I did have.  It's one of those cheaters.  The background is painted for you and you fill in the blank spots.  It's good to see how my stitching has improved.  Dang, the back is a mess!  Not sure what to do with it now that it's done.  I may frame it and put it up next to it's cross stitched cousin.
 I was able to vend 2 weekends in a row.  Rich even came with me to Crest View so we could spend the weekend together.  You know those  men that follow their ladies around the mall, waiting patiently, entertaining themselves with their phones.  That's not my husband.  He was on his best behavior and I loved that he did all the heavy lifting.  But, in the end, we both decided he didn't need to come with me again...  I really hope he's more agreeable when I want to travel for fun, dang it!  Or, I'll just have to go alone!
 In between shows, I've been addicted to Craftsy Unlimited.  I took the fabric dying class.  Dana D. gifted me with her Procion dyes when I started dying my silk ribbon and have always wanted to dye fabric as well.  I finally bought a bolt of ready to dye cotton and did some experimenting.  There's room for improvement.  This first one was called Storm Cloud.
 This is Scottish Kilt, it's kind of a teal green.
 This was Camel, if you can believe that!  I expected a tan but got green instead.
 Rust Orange turned out beautifully!
 I didn't mix the dye well in the Mixing Red but the colors are fantastic.  Rinsing this one out was a real BI**H!  She mentions in the class that if you use too much dye, the rinsing part will be a bear.  Apparently, I used too much for all of them but especially this red...
 This was Vintage Rose and it's just sad.  I think I'll over dye it with something else.  I also decided I don't love the effect of the folding.  For quilting purposes, the scrunchy method has more flexibility.  Then I decided I wanted to put a utility sink in the basement so that I can have a dedicated dyeing station.   So that's purchased but not installed.  There is already a completely pointless shower plumbed in.  Why?  I could never decide.  It's not a finished basement.  It's a gross, 150 year old basement with a shower...  It's weird.  Now, it'll have a purpose.  Well, when Rich re-plumbs it for my sink, anyways.
 One of the first Craftsy classes that I ever took was Pictorial Quilting Techniques with Wendy Butler Burns.  I had taken this photo of a flamingo at the St. Louis Zoo and always knew I wanted to turn it into a quilt.  I had it blown up but then set it aside for another day.  Then, I watched The Quilt Show with Melinda Bula and decided it was time.  This is just the skeleton of the project.  I need more fabrics for the grass and I hope to do some thread painting on the water and on the tree.  We'll see how it goes.  I also have a rose and a butterfly that need to become quilts.
 I FINALLY got around to re-doing my dining room chairs.  They were past their prime already when we bought them used.  Then, Rich spilled bbq sauce on his chair back at Christmas.  It was time, it was past time...
 I'm really happy with them.  I was able to get the same fabric that I'd done the valance in.  Now, I have to stop buying floral table clothes.  They look terrible together.
 Last but not least, I finished a block from Baltimore Garden.  This took forever.  But, if I'm honest, I wasn't dedicated to it.  It's amazing how much stitching can be done when you're sitting at a quilt show!  Also, people love to watch you do it.  I think I've decided to set this project aside for now.  I've got several BOMs going that I'd like to keep up with.  This can be a long term project.
Yesterday was the first day of extended hours for Prom Season.  Boo!  I don't expect to get tons of stitching done but I always have something to work on during breaks.  Keeps me sane-ish.  I'm done with travel/ vending until June for the same reason.  Time to hunker down and get through it but I'll keep in touch.  Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

6 And 6 2018 February

Hello, doing a quick check in on the 6 and 6 2018 with Pomegranate & Chintz.  February was a UFO month.  I decided to work on the Hungarian Heritage quilt and waited for the very last minute to start.  I sell the book in my shop and I'm vending at a couple quilt shows in March.  Sure would be nice to have a sample to show.
 Like a moron, I decided to do heavy quilting that follows the paisley pattern in the fabric.  I got about 1/3 of the way through it and ran out of thread.  Duh.  I'm accustomed to the never ending Aurifil spools but I'm using King Tut for this project.  My machine loves it, by the way.
 Lots to go still.
 These two cuties went to Norway for a vacation.
 The day went from this...
 to this.  It took 2 full days of travel with a full leg cast, no pain meds and some blood thinners to get him home.  All is well, looks like he doesn't need surgery.  They've decided to live at my house for a short time until he's getting around better.  Which I totally don't mind but it looks like I converted the extra bedroom to a studio a little too soon...
I also stayed caught up on my TQS BOM blocks.  My corners are atrocious but it is what it is.  I came to the conclusion that I will have to do some shopping.  I have a ton of dark and light blue but very little medium.  Isn't that just the way.
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

I'm Not Crazy, It's Hormones. I Swear

Feels like I'm not getting much done this month.  I went through a big living room rearrangement/ midlife crisis.  Long story short, it freaked out inconvenienced the whole family.  One thing being moved led to another thing needing paint and so on.  Rich said, "Well, if you give a pig a pancake, she's going to want syrup to got with it."  Let's not get hung up on the fact that he compared a dieting woman to a pig and mentions pancakes and syrup at the same time.... Don't you love the quilt cabinet that Hunter made for me?  We really needed more seating during the holidays now that everyone has a plus one when they come over AND... that's how I justified more quilt storage.

In brighter news, I found a fantastic Ott lamp 1/2 off at Joanns!  It even matches my studio.  Score 1 for the pig!

We're almost done with my guild's BOM.  I admit to being bored with this project.  However, I will be trying a cool sashing on the finished project.  So, here's hoping that turns out.  Side note: I misplaced 3 of these blocks along with some glue sticks I was supposed to take to guild for a friend.  Panic ensues, tears are eminent.  I'm ripping the house to pieces knowing that I won't redo those blocks as long as I live.  Rich goes out to the car & brings them in like it was no big deal...  I swear it's hormones.
I FINALLY started this project.  It's been in the planning for a year or more.  My crazy quilt group is doing a theme for our next quilt show.  The theme is "Village", so we can do anything that we want that you'd find in a village.
I chose candy store but it morphed into a gingerbread house.  This is it so far.  I'm weaving the gum drops in front of the house.  The snow on the trees is cut up lace trim.  Then, I did 4" blocks to go around the 12" center.  Wild.  Crazy.  Candy colors... Now I'm thinking, "what was I thinking?"  I may just do white embroidery to keep it unified.  We shall see.
The biggest project has been this t-shirt quilt for Carmen's brother.  Their grandpa was a big John Deere man, I think he had one of the biggest JD collections in North America when he passed a few years ago.  This last Christmas, the family sorted his t-shirts among themselves and Carmen (Hunter's girlfriend) has commissioned me to make quilts out of them for Cole, her mom and herself.  I tried to do a star secondary pattern but there isn't enough contrast in the 2 fabrics, so I just see snowballs.  Bummer.  Not that I think it looks BAD, just not what I was hoping for.
One more thing before I let you go.  Last night I had a moment.  One of those smack you in the head moments.  An epiphany if you will.  I've been catching up on The Quilt Show all month.  Season 5, episode 1.  BAM.  Melinda Bula's work absolutely blew me away!!  That episode aired in 2009, so I know I'm totally late to the party.  Holy Cow!  Check her out!  I must explore this further!!!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January 6 and 6 2018

 Hello again.  Here we are with the first installment of 6 and 6 2018, hosted by Pomegranate & Chintz and Frayed At The Edge.  January we were supposed to start something new.  Weeeellll, I didn't stop at one new project.  Got a little crazy...  My first new project is Simple Folk by Sarah Fielke she's an Australian designer & has 2 new BOMs for this year.  Both are really cute.  The first month was intense though, we made the applique base blocks (12").
 64 9-patch squares, these are little 3" finished.  She recommends cutting each 1.5" square individually so that you get a REALLY scrappy look.  I agree, that would look fantastic.  However, there was absolutely no way I was going to cut that many 1.5" squares... Nope.
 AND, appliqued the first applique block.  I know, you're thinking these are dark colors for me.  I had a migraine while I was selecting them and there you have it.  I was super uncomfortable doing the applique.  She glues the pieces down then stitches everything together and there is no "pattern block" for placement reference.  Normally, I would do back basting.  This is totally out of my comfort zone.  Which I think is evident in my crappy leaves.  Also, I was very "under the influence" of my migraine meds, so that might have been part of it.  I think gluing is an Aussie thing, Irene Blanck does it as well.  I was just as weirded out by doing Mosaics which may be why it's still in my UFO pile.
 During December's TAS (The Applique Society) meeting, Shirley was sharing a book that she won as a door prize at Baltimore on the Prairie.  It just happened to be a book she'd already purchased.  It's called Baltimore Garden Quilt by Barbara M Burnham.  I chose to do it in ice cream sundae colors.  Inspired by another one of Irene Blanck's quilts.  I don't plan on doing a whole quilt, just a wall hanging.  I don't have enough of the mint green to do much more than 4 or maybe six blocks.  These are 16" finished.
 Actually, I started this in December.  So, really, it's more UFO than new.
 I finished one of the guilds BOMs.  Small 6" blocks.  Only 3 more to go.
Since that wasn't enough, I also started The Quilt Show's BOM designed by Edita Sitar.  She's so talented, how could I resist.  These are 6" and there will be 3 of each pieced blocks with an applique center "barn scene".  I'm using my stash for this one so my blocks are going to be pretty random.
I know, that was more than 1 new project.  However, I'm sure I can still come up with something to share on the other "new" months.  February is a UFO month, so I will try to get something quilted.  Now that the Super Moon nonsense is over, my migraines should go away.  3 days is too much.  The doctors assure me they will go away when I finally go through menopause.  I'm not sure anyone has ever been as excited about that prospect as I am.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Various Artistic Endeavors of The Mantz'

Well, call me excited.  Rich installed track lighting in my studio last week!  Originally, I just had the tracks and we took out the ceiling fan in the middle.  It only took me a couple days to realize that was a terrible idea and we got a center light to make up the difference.  I'm really pleased.  And, they're dimmable.  Any Fairy Odd Parents fans?  Dim dim dimmidome.

I have to clear something up quick.  I had announced at our TAS meeting that there were 2 duplicate shells in my Clamshell quilt, much to my chagrin.  However, my daughter Sierra set me straight the next day by pointing out it's the same print but different scale!  Woo Hoo!  It's still a proper charm quilt.  I was afraid I'd have to uncheck that box on my quilt bucket list.


Here's a project that took SEVERAL weeks.  I reupholstered Hunter and Carmen's bus couch.  They had salvaged a couch from an RV but it was a funky 80's pink upholstery.  So, they asked me to help.  Of course, I couldn't wait to get my hands on part of the bus!  I'm sure once installed, it won't look so thrown together.  Fingers crossed.  This was my first upholstery job other than a standard table chair.  Hunter seemed pleased anyway...
Here he is in his "attic".  You can keep up with his shenanigans at
Miss Bethany turned 21 this weekend!  She invited a couple of friends over for drinks and had a Bob Ross day.  Didn't they do great?!

I'm totally jealous.  She didn't think she could paint!

On December 2, Rich and I renewed our vows to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary!  We just got the photos back courtesy of Irish Eyes Photography.  I won't bore you with all 177 but here are a couple of my favorites.  If we're FB friends and you have a burning desire for more, I've got 20 some uploaded there as well.

The Mantz'
Heather, Rich, Sierra, Ethan, Bethany, Hunter and Alyssa

Rich & I holding our first professional photo together from 24 years ago.

I did the cupcakes myself.  We had almond raspberry, cookie dough with hot fudge frosting, honey with marzipan bee and non-dairy french vanilla with the rose bouquets.

The M was supposed to be a cake topper but then I never got the courage to do a proper wedding cake.  I made all of the ribbon bouquets that the girls and I held.
Well, since then, I joined Weight Watchers.  Seeing these photos reinforces my decision.  I told myself I'd lose weight after Alyssa's wedding a year ago May.  But, I gained instead.  I eat my emotions, and I'm REALLY GOOD at baking.  REALLY GOOD.  Now, I'm down 10 pounds but I've got a whole lot more to go.  I'm determined that it'll be a different Heather that appears in any upcoming weddings... that may or may not be around the corner.  No hurry guys but you know, a girl can hope.  And, maybe they'll let me make stuff for it... fingers crossed.  But no pressure.

Toodles for now!  My next post will be my first 6x6 2018 update.