Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving Week

I'll tell you what, this has been a crazy busy week!  Thanksgiving will do that to anyone!  

I thought I was done with the mermaid but I found these adorable fish beads and knew she needed them.  For some reason, my picture won't show... The lighting was so much better than before, go figure.  You'll just have to go with the tail shot for now, I guess.

 Look how great my burning bush is!  We had tried a couple times to grow one over the years.  This one finally took and it's a slow grower but this year it was amazing!
 We had Thanksgiving on Saturday because our schedules were so crazy this year.  Rich had to work
16 hours on Thursday & I worked Friday & Saturday morning.  Thursday was really weird for me because it was so quiet.  Rich did most of the cooking on Saturday.  That was another first for us.  I guess that's going to be my new normal now that the kids are getting older and will soon be off in different directions.
 Most of the week was spent working on Grandpa's quilt.  It took a whole day to piece the alternate blocks and another whole day to set the blocks.  Damned if I didn't have to make 4 more Flying Geese blocks at the very end.  Too many, not enough.  I tell ya, it drives me crazy.

 Last but not least, I made a few needle wallets to sell in my Etsy shop.  They're hand embroidered, using satin or velvet.  They're really elegant & I'm going to have a hard time parting with the hot pink one.  And, the black one with the clover.
 I do love lavender.
 Oh, but the clover on black velvet.  So pretty.  Bethany now wants me to embroider something on a black velvet dress for her.
Well, that wraps up another week.  After work tomorrow, I'll have to concentrate on quilting Grandpa's quilt.  Also, I found those 2 missing hexies... but now I have 2 of the same hexies going in the same flower. I think I've decided to not let it bother me.  That could change.

Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!  Now for some Christmas decorations!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

One Week Down, Five to Go

Well, hello friends!  Week one of Lay-Off is over and it was a busy one.  Nothing like having time off to keep you SUPER busy.  I had hoped to have more finishes to share but I did get a lot of almost finishes ready... If that makes any sense.

All of my CQJP blocks are finished and sewn together.  I've made some decisions about a border.  I'm going to finish it with an ivory border and I bought some beautiful lace to use as an inner border.  I was looking in to jacquard ribbon as the inner border but the one I wanted was $25/yd.  I need 4 yards.  I'm pretty sure Rich would frown upon a $100 investment on just the border.  We won't tell him how much all the bits and pieces have cost so far.  I won't tell if you don't tell.
 Not sure what I did to my camera but it stopped taking clear photos.  Maybe I just need to hold still.  This is my one and only real finish this week.  It's part of a group project with my guild.  Hopefully, many of us will make a small quilt that will fit together with everyone else's like a puzzle.  Clearly, they've gone with an "Under The Sea" theme.  I immediately chose a mermaid.  I didn't start this project this week.  It's been on going for  awhile.
 Her tail was filled in with chain stitches and beaded on top.  The tail fins are beaded a little more heavily.
The seaweed was done with several different fibers.  Then I attached several different do dads along the seaweed.  The little snail shells are real.  They were from a necklace that I got from the Goodwill.  Let me know if you want any.  It was a big necklace.
 The hair was also done with chain stitch.  The threads were from Caron Collection.  I liked them so much that I started carrying the thread in my shop.  The variegation in their thread is really beautiful!
 The other time sucking project I've had going on is my little lace cottage.  It's been really challenging.  I've taken out almost as many stitches as I've put in on this project.
 The pathway is Oyster stitch with a thick version from Caron Collection.  The fence was some of Pat K.'s mom's lace.  I painted the base so I wouldn't have to stitch the whole thing solid.   Those green tufts are supposed to be weeds in the yard.

 I put in rose bushes, irises, daffodils, tulips, and  wisteria.  More gardening than I've ever done in real life.  I love the little red wagon.
 So, I used some artistic license with the tree.  I realize that apple trees aren't usually taller than your house but I wanted some color in the leaves.  So, it's now an apple tree.  Also, when I first stitched the tree, Rich stopped by and asked if we could plant a bacon tree at our house.  Then, all I could see in the truck was a strip of bacon.  Luckily, Caron Collection has a thread, literally called Bark.  The variegation was much more subtle and now looks a bit more like wood and less like bacon.  Rich found the little swing seat for me.
 Found some bird charms and stitched a kite to fill in the big open space that was my sky.  The puppy button was a huge find!  He's so cute.  Also, I had birdhouses stitched in where the flower arch is now.  But, they weren't filling the space properly.  The bush in the center is covering up all my birdhouse holes...

 What I should have been working on was Grandpa's quilt.  I did get all of the Flying Geese finished. There are 80 of these blocks.  Naturally, I miss counted and have enough fabric cut to make another 80...
 And, last but not least, all of the hexies for my Mosaics quilt are done.  I either have 5 extra or I'm 2 short.  Not sure which yet.  I'll let you know wen I figure it out.

In between the stitching, I mangaged to watch all of the Harry Potter and Star Wars movies.  Sierra and I went on a little adventure that included Goodwill, Joann's and the zoo.  Then, Ethan, Bethany and I went to IKEA, the London Tea Room and a gem show.  Like I said, nothing like some free time to make sure you're WAY to busy!

If I don't see you, I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving and I'll check in with you again next week.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

One Stitch At A Time

Well, this has been a crazy week.  I don't have much to say about it other than I love my fellow Americans.  For that matter, I love my fellow humans.  And, the president of our country, no matter who that is will not change that.  Not that they are trying to.  So, I will continue to make the world a more beautiful place to be, one stitch at a time.

And, here's my latest contribution to world beauty...  this is the Art Nouveau quilt so far.  I LOVE it!!  I can't wait to finish it!  I wonder if it'll be ready in time for the next quilt show!?  So, what do you think?  Should I do a border?  I'm thinking solid black.  I'm also toying with the idea of a very thin green beading around it.  I was hoping to do my own quilting on it.  Yikes, I know.  But, after the giant I just gave Jane Hair to do, I can't really afford to quilt by checkbook any time soon.  Unless, of course, everyone wants to visit my Etsy shop and do some shopping...  Feel free.

This is the most recent addition.  Like I said last time, I've got the final blocks ready to go & the 
project is definitely going on my short list for lay-off.

I'm also doing some designing of my own.  I've had this Cowgirl fabric for a couple of years and I'm finally going to make my Father-In-Law a  pinup girl quilt.  I've made them for Great Grandpa Mantz, Rich and Hunter but I could never find something for Horsey Grandpa.  Then, when I found the fabric, I didn't really know what to do with it.  This will be on my short list and hopefully his Christmas present.  Then, hopefully, I will have another pattern to publish.  Lots of flying geese.  Lots and lots of flying geese.

 My Crazy Quilt Journal Project, so far.  I'm happier looking at it as a whole than I am when I can pick apart each block.  This is on my short list.  I'd like to have it done by the quilt show since we're adding a new crazy quilt category.  I think we are, anyways.  I'm seeing a cream/ peach satin border on this with some lace trim.  Olderose has a wonderful tutorial on borders for projects.  I love what she did with some tapestry style ribbon and satin.   A few of the blocks have her hand painted buttons on them.  If you're considering buying me something for Christmas, I'd like more of her buttons, please.

 This is October's block.  I don't love it.  I may have already whined about it to you before.  Sorry.  I used waste canvas for the first time on the daffodil cross stitch patch.  That was wild.  Effective but a little hard to line up just so.  Now that I'm looking at the picture above I'm realizing I hadn't shared November's block.  It's directly above in the center bottom row.  I'll have to dig it out again and take a photo.
 So, silly me.  I just realized I can watch Netflix in my studio, using Bethany's smart tv!  I was so
excited.  It sure made squaring up those flying geese easier to take!  Since it's such a light weight tv, I moved it over by the sewing machine when I was done!  Love it!  Next, mini fridge.
 Here's what I've got so far for my Mosics project.  This is the project from Irene Blanck's class.  I really struggled with gluing everything in place and then sewing down all at once.  It was too loosey goose, if you want the technical term, for me.  So, I'm saying it's okay because it's supposed to be primitive anyways.  I just noticed that I forgot the berries... Please note that my vines meet up in a "v" like the pattern.  That's some skill, right there...
 And, like I said, I learned how to do English Paper piecing.  This I loved and will continue to do.  I ran out of glue and all I could think was Pat A asking if I'd like to buy the re-fill while we were at the store buying the glue stick.  Dang it, I should have done it Pat, I should have done it!  And, in case you were wondering, I did find the missing papers. They were, indeed, put away safely in the project's own box...

So, I work tomorrow, and then I start my lay-off.  I am SO looking forward to it!  I'm so fortunate to work where I do and to have a completely indulgent husband that doesn't freak out when I make less money for awhile every winter.  At least, he won't be cold.  God knows we've got plenty of quilts laying around...

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Irene Blanck and Her New Best Friends

So, yes, the world CAN handle this much fabulousness in one room.  This is a picture of my TAS group.  Well, most of us anyways.  We were fortunate enough to have Irene Blanck come and teach us for a few days in October.  Irene is from Melbourne, AUS and she was traveling the US, giving classes, before landing in Houston for the big quilt market.  Luckily, Dana D. knew it and we were able to put Mascoutah on her itinerary!  Such a wonderful experience.  Irene is a real gem.  Yeah, that's me, the bright pink shirt with my arm draped over Irene like she's my new best friend... No invasion of personal space happening there... Awkward...  the photo is courtesy of Irene's blog.
An upside down picture of everyone's center piece.  It's fantastic to see everyone's interpretation.  The dark backgrounds are so interesting!  I hope they finish the project so I can see them when they're done. 
 These are pics of Irene's quilt.  Mostly for my benefit.  I wanted to have something to refer to as I do mine.  The primitive style is totally different than anything I've done before.  Her technique is to glue everything in place and then sew it all down at once.  Thant was weird for me.  I'm real used to back basting.   It was also strange for me to work with such a large piece of fabric at once.  The center is 42" square.
 The English paper piecing was new as well.  I finally cleaned my studio up last night from the class, put the paper pieces aside to work on later, and damned if I can't find them now!  I'm sure they're put away nicely somewhere!

 The lovely Irene with her quilt "Mosaics".
 I managed to finish a block for my Art Nouveau quilt.  I've finished another as well but haven't gotten a picture yet.  Only 3 more blocks to go!  Morning Glory Designs had the blocks on sale 1/2 price this weekend, so I bought the 2 I needed to finish.  Then, I have to figure out how to finish it.  Borders?  I feel like the only color should be the blocks.
 My October CQJP block.  Not my favorite.  I feel like I'm losing inspiration on the crazy quilting front.  I do recall someone telling me in the beginning that his particular block would be difficult to do.  Guess she was right.   A break might be in order but this project is all but done so, you I can''t stop now.

 I participated in a Halloween postcard swap.  This was my entry.

Lay off starts after this next week!  You know how I love this time of year!  While I was cleaning my studio, I also started my list of UFOs to accomplish while I've got the time off.  More on that later.  For now, I hope you enjoy your day!