Monday, December 1, 2014

Word for the Year

Last year, my word of inspiration was 'JOURNEY' - I wanted to savor the process rather than always rushing to next plateau, the next phase, or the finish line.  That inspiration served me well last year, as I very much enjoyed what I was doing, quilting-wise, much more than in the prior year or two.

This year, I've chosen the word 'SIMPLIFY' as my inspiration.  I am still continuing the process of working on several block of the month and saturday sampler projects, but I want to cut down on the chaos of both my life and in my studio/home.  I am absolutely going to finish my studio and move the rest of my quilting things into it, rather than scattered about the house.  I am going to purge unwanted books, magazines and patterns.  And I am going to work steadily and calmly on my projects without taking on more than I can handle.

I will probably have to cut back on some of my outside activities for a while... I haven't been playing Mah Jongg for a while, and I was hoping to get back to it, but I think that will have to go on hold.  My mini-group was thinking of becoming a Red Hats group as well, and I volunteered to run that part of our activities, but I think I'm going to back out of that as well... not that I don't WANT to do it, but I also don't want to commit to more than I can handle.  I have been playing several pbp (play-by-post) games online.  I am going to cut back a bit on those as well - simplify, simplify, SIMPLIFY. 

Because 2014 was a much better year for me as a result of taking my word of inspiration quite seriously, I am hoping 2015 will have similar results.  I know it's still 2014, but I figure 'why not start early?'  I'm gonna still enjoy the JOURNEY, and carry that forward into 2015 while I SIMPLIFY.

Having a 'word' for the year has helped me tremendously to be inspired and focused.  I wish the same for you, whether it takes a special word or just your own wisdom and concentration.

Happy holidays to all and a prosperous and inspired new year!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Making tops

Finally the Saint Bernard quilt top is finished.
I put on a plaid border and didn't match the plaids... Or well I DID make an effort to match the plaids, but I matched the START of one strip to the start of the next, and they weren't cut straight, so by the time the stripes got to the END of the first strip for each side, the plaids didn't match any longer... something I didn't think of.  Anyway when it's all quilted, I'm hoping it will be all good and no one will really notice.  To me, right now however, the mismatched plaids stand out like a sore thumb.  (ah the downside to all those years making clothes, and matching plaids and other patterns.)

I also made this cute little top at retreat:
I think I will save it to be the center of my mini-group's round robin next year.  It might be fun to see what my friends will do to add borders to it!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Weekend at the Beach - on retreat again

What did you do this weekend?  Did you quilt?  Did you craft?  Did you do something fulfilling for you?  I sure hope so!

I went to a quilting retreat at the beach.  Filled my sense of wonder at the beauty of the sun going down over the water.

Sewed for 3 straight days while enjoying the company of other quilters and crafters.  Lots of sewing and knitting going on, and a little embroidery too!   Lots of eating and chocolate involved as well.  Not to mention the wine and the margueritas!

Many thanks to the crew who work so hard to give the rest of us 4 days of relaxation, fun, sewing and shenanigans.   You know who you are!

I made eight appliqued blocks/quilt tops, a quilted kindle cover and a dog themed quilt for donation to Sunny Saints St. Bernard Rescue to auction off to make money to rescue more precious gentle giants.  (I got my Maggie through Sunny Saints and couldn't love her more!  So this is a way to pay it forward for the next dogs who need a loving person to step in find them good homes.)  The quilt has St. Bernards on it, and came out super cute.  Here is a picture of it, sans borders for now, but I have a really cute plaid to use in the border.

Hope your weekend was even half as nice as mine... but as much fun as the retreat was, I am glad to be home, back with my husband, my beautiful Saint, Maggie, and my kitties, Pan and Squeak.


Friday, October 31, 2014

All Colours are of God

2014 Bloggers' Quilt Festival entry in the ROYGBIV category:

Quilt is 18.5"x18.5", a miniaturized version of a Jacqueline de Jongg design, Circle of Life.

Backlink to Amy's Creative Side:  Linking to Amy's Creative Side

When you get to Amy's site, please scroll down to the link for ROYBGIV quilts, and vote.  Your vote for All Colours are of God is greatly appreciated... Thank you! 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Woodland Creatures reprise

2014 Bloggers' Quilt Festival entry in the Applique category

The quilt is 80x100 and is all fused and machine appliqued with hand embroidered details.

Here are a few detail shots:

Visit here to see all the quilts in the 'contest' and vote:
Amy's Creative Side

When you get to Amy's site, please scroll down to the link to Applique entries and vote.. Your vote for Woodland Creatures is greatly appreciated.  Thanks!!!

"Social Tote"

I saw a cute little tote on Facebook and decided I just HAD to make one.  I bought the pattern, by Carolyn Friedlander, collected some fabrics and got to it.  Now, you have to understand that making totes and bags is NOT my forte...  I usually have trouble with anything three dimensional... I'm much better working in two dimensions, which is maybe why I'm a quilter and not, say, a sculptor?  Anyway... I did manage to make sense of the directions and made this adorable little tote for my hand sewing projects.  In fact, the little hexagon tote I made (see the link to tutorial at the top of this page, it's the 'English paper piecing travel kit') fits perfectly in the Social Tote, so I can take it anywhere.  (By the way, I didn't DESIGN the hexagon tote, I just made one and posted the link to the site I got the pattern from).

Anyway - here are some pics of my little "social tote."  It even included a pattern for a matching pincushion, so I made that too... fits perfectly in one of the small pockets!

Hope you are having a lovely day - It's beautiful here in So. Calif. today - comfortably cool and 'autumn-y".  Leaves are green (since we don't have much of a seasonal change here), but it still feels like fall.  Tomorrow is Halloween and we might even get some rain!

I am getting ready for my guild's biannual retreat to Saylor's Sandcastle at the beach.  SO looking forward to 4 days with fellow quilters.  Prepping for the stay is always a busy time here at serial quilter headquarters.  I am dithering between which projects to take with me.  Not that I lack for UFOs, just a question of which ones to bring.  I am planning on bringing a lot of applique projects, and doing all the edge-stitching on them, as well as one quilting project and a saturday sampler block if I feel the need to do some piecing.  My problem?  - Will those be enough, or should I bring more?  I don't want to end up twiddling my thumbs the last day or two, while projects languish at home.  Otoh, I don't want to overwhelm myself with projects packed in the car and never needing to be unpacked even.  Where is that balance of 'just right?'  Well, I have one week to figure it out...


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Escher in Bali

Here is the finished top:

Can't wait to see it quilted and done, but I'm happy with how it came out.  Love the tessellation.  Got the rows sewn together this morning before company came over.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Escher Meets Bali

I am currently working on a quilt of tesselating houses...

It still needs more work - the rows need to be sewn together but this is essentially it.  It's not quite this pink - that pink background is actually a grey flannel, so the lavendar sky triangles should be bluer.  Still, I'm having a ball making it - keeping all the houses in line with their roofs and eaves has been a puzzle and a challenge to say the least. 

The pattern came from Craftsy and had so many errors in it that I found myself re-sewing many parts.  If you like it and go to Craftsy and look for it (it's called 'A Rainy Day in Mr. Escher's Neighborhood'), DO look at how half the houses are reversed, and so you need to sew the siding on the wide windows on the opposite side from the directions on those half the houses.  A design wall is ESSENTIAL for this quilt!!!

What are YOU working on?

Monday, October 13, 2014

At the Quilt Show

I attended two quilt shows last weekend.   On October 3rd, I went to Quilt Fest Palm Springs, a fun trip with a couple of girlfriends.  We drove down Thursday night, saw the show on Friday and drove home Friday afternoon.

I was VERY impressed with the quilts I saw there.  There were some amazing pieces of quilt artistry and craftsmanship.  I think my favorite was this Frazetta-esque quilt depicting a warrior protecting a lady from a dragon.  It was just stunning!

Also among my favorites was this hand-painted triptych of China:

Other beauties included:

I wish I had pictures of everyquilt there.... there were so many too beautiful not to include.  A fascinating collection of quilts from around the world were included.  It was fascinating to see the differences culture and available fabrics made to quilt design and 'look'. 

I came home Friday evening and took Saturday off to relax with friends.  On Sunday, I attended the Simi Valley Quilt Show, my guild's biennnial show.  Not as many vendors as Palm Springs of course, and not as many quilts, but no less beautiful for being smaller.  I got three ribbons at the show - Spotlight Awards given by the show's committee members on their favorite quilts.

What was more exciting even was that I got a call to bring one of my quilts back for the Weds. nite guild meeting.  I did, and was surprised and shocked to learn this quilt had won Best of Show (an award given based on viewer votes!)

I am just thrilled that people liked my quilt enough to vote for it as Best of Show... I was overwhelmed on Weds. night at the meeting.  I had to get up and talk about the quilt a bit, but I was so flustered, I'm not even sure I made a lot of sense.  Of course in hindsight, I thought of all sorts of things I should have and could have said. 

I think I'm done with quilt shows for a while... Pacific International Quilt show is coming up soon in Santa Clara, CA, but I think I'm gonna miss that one.  Much as I'd love to attend my first PIQS, I've been visiting a lot of shows of late and it I can tell you with much   surety that they are SO worth the time and money!

I would like to thank Chris P. for the photos of the Palm Springs show shown here.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ethan's quilt

I have been working sorta kinda on a quilt for a dear friend since April.  He entered the hospital in March for what was supposed to be a 3 week stay.  He JUST got out of hospital and rehab in September.  I have been planning his quilt all this time.  It took me 2 months to settle on just the right pattern and another 3 months to collect the right fabrics for his quilt.  I had to make sure nothing in it was 'girly,' too.  I know that sounds like a lot of time, but he is a printer and a bookmaker, so I knew I wanted books in it for sure (took a while to find good book fabrics), but at the last minute I also found some printers block letters on a print which I HAD to have (put them in the border).  Anyway, it was a long time in the planning stage, then I started actually making it last week.  Here it is, sans binding:
In retrospect, I should have made the borders wider, but I followed the pattern and only bought enough fabric for a 4 1/2" border.  Ah well.

It is quilted in a beautiful gold thread that matches the sashing, and ready for a label and binding now.  I hope to give it to him soon. 

Here's the back of his quilt.  More printy-type stuff and some faux denim.  Used up 4 yards of fabric on the back, which depleted my stash a little...yay!!
In retrospect, the butterflies might be a bit too feminine, but nothing I can do about it now. 

I hope he likes it.  I know his wife will be over the moon over it.  She likes everything I do.

Love you, E & J!