Thursday, November 29, 2018

Catching Up

Sometimes I think my brain just shuts off and when it reboots, it forgets what it was doing last... I read a previous post talking about my pumpkin quilt, and realized I never posted a picture of it here.  I really like Edyta Sitar's quilt designs... They are usually fun to make, easy applique, if a bit repetitive, and they make great lap quilts for keeping warm on a cold tv night, and fun wall quilts too.   I made this one mostly because I had a layer cake of fall fabrics I wanted to use up and it was a pattern that caught my eye in Quiltmania Magazine.  Super easy pattern, and would be great for teaching machine applique (there are convex and concave curves as well as corners).  I think I made them backwards (put my 'highlight' crescents on the 'wrong side', but Quiltmania printed the pattern for hand applique and I didn't feel like reversing it before I traced the shapes... so it is what it is).  I like it.  And I quilted it myself this time instead of sending to a longarmer.  This was actually done in July, just never posted a picture of it finished.

Having made the pumpkin quilt, I saw this Edyta Sitar pattern for Elephants at one of my LQS (local quilt shops).  To add a little interest, I reversed one of the elephants.  I call this quilt 'There's One in Every Crowd', referring to the one elephant who is bucking the trend and following her own path).  The backgrounds are all Moda Grunge, some with spots, some without, and the elephants are mostly Kaffe Fassett fabrics.  To make it easier to trace, I bought the plastic template that ES makes for this quilt.  Highly recommend using the template for this quilt.  As with the pumpkins, I quilted it myself.  This one, too, was finished earlier this year (in July). 

On the KINDNESS note (see the Word of the Year post I made previously), a dear friend and fellow quilter is a member of my minigroup.  We all chip in to a general fund each year for birthday presents for each other.  My friend wanted something that exceeded her individual budget so I chipped in so our birthday guru could get her the item she wanted.  She will never know how she lucked out.  It will be my secret.  I have also been working on my 'assertiveness' as a driver (no, I'm not an 'aggressive' driver... but I am trying to be more accommodating, letting people waiting to turn get into my lane, that sort of thing.  I still don't like to get stuck behind big trucks, but I am trying to be more courteous to other drivers.  It is a small step on the road to KINDNESS.  I am trying to smile more at strangers instead of avoiding their gaze... on the road to POSITIVITY.  And it's not even 2019 yet... but no reason not to start early and develop better habits before the year begins.

Making a Mystery

I love making mystery quilts.  I'm not sure why... after all, not every one is a gem, some are very disappointing, but others are simply amazing and just 'sing'... Some designers are more dependable than others in the type and complexity of their mystery designs, too.

Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville fame is one of the best!  Her designs are always unique, complex and lots of fun to make.  She designs a mystery quilt every year, with the first clue coming out on Black Friday, subsequent clues releasing on following Fridays.  (Note: it's not too late to join the fun, clues remain free til the quilt is done sometime in early January).

Clue 1 was to make a bunch (no numbers here, if you want to play, go to her site, and click on 'Good Fortune' in the menu) of 4-patches (no dimensions here either).  I made a bunch and then some, (12 extras just because I cut a little too much fabric, and I don't know how they are going to be used... if they are going to be sewn into rows of 4-patches, having a few extras means less chance of the same fabrics touching as I have more to choose from near the end).

Anyway, clue #2 comes out tomorrow and I am SO ready to play!  Can't wait to see what comes next and what colors we're going to be working with for our next clue.

Note: Bonnie's colors don't usually agree with my aesthetics, so I change them up, and this year was no different.  I chose lime green, turqoise, purple and pink with white (see below) instead of hers, which were orange, red, blue and green with a neutral.

If you want to see what others are making for these clues, check out Bonnie's Monday Morning Link up on her blog.

Here are a couple of previous Bonnie Hunter Mysteries to give you an example of what you might be making.  This first one is 'On Ringo Lake' (my colors, not Bonnie's), her 2017 mystery:

This is En Provence, Bonnie's 2016 mystery, in her colors, which I didn't like but used anyway...  Love the design, tho!:

So come play!!!  It's fun!  And lots to learn about cutting and sewing techniques!!!  Bonnie always has something to teach about efficient ways to cut and use scraps as well as just quilting techniques in general. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Word(s) for the year, 2019

It is time to choose a word for the year to inspire my creativity, passion and enthusiasm. While they are nice words in their own right, they are goals, not a means to achieve them. I have been thinking hard to come up with something different than the ones I have chosen in the past – Journey, Focus, Passion and so on.

This year, disgusted by the rising open displays of hatred, anger, impatience and disrespect in our world, I have decided that one of my two words is going to be KINDNESS. I am going to offer kind words, kind thoughts and kind deeds, hoping to brighten the days of others, and help them know that someone cares.

My other word is kind of related in a way, but it is going to be POSITIVE. I want to put positivity into the world (yes, I know that’s not really a word, but I’m making it one!). I find that I’m angry a lot lately… mostly at the daily news, so I am going to try to channel this anger and use it to spark positive change in myself and those around me. When I see something wrong, I’m going to try to be proactive and try to change it instead of quietly seething and letting the anger disturb my serenity. At the same time, I need to be somewhat sensitive to other people’s issues. It’s important to know when to stop arguing with people and simply let them be wrong. This is all going to be hard for me, because I don’t like confrontations. They terrify me. I want to overcome that and learn to keep my cool while doing it. Wish me luck!

I know these things are not really quilting related, though in a way they can be depending on how and when they are applied. KINDNESS and POSITIVITY can spread to others when applied liberally in ANY context.

Meet Kaylee

Our family has grown by one member.  Today we adopted Kaylee (formerly known as 'Bessie').  She is a 1 year old female St. Bernard.  She's a real sweet love and has double dewclaws, something I've never seen before!.

So far she is still exploring the yard and house... when she isn't napping like now.  She seems to like it here, and even got to chase a bunny today (it came from the botanical gardens behind the house and the dogs thought it was great fun chasing it til it got out of the yard).  Poor bunny must have been terrified. Glad they didn't catch it!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Working Hard / Hardly Working

So lately I've been working in fits and starts... dealing with depression and passion at the same time can be a real roller coaster ride.  One minute I'm up to my armpits in passion for my work, then I'm drowning in a morass.  It's truly mystifying how I get anything done sometimes.

Yesterday, I sewed up a storm, making the sections of the first block for a quilt for my Dear Daughter-in-law (DDIL)... Lots of applique and some piecing as well... It looks a little chaotic and disjointed, but several of the pieced blocks are actually parts of a larger motif that will all come together in the finished quilt. (google 'Dear Daughter quilt pattern')... it is a busy, chaotic quilt, but it does have some rhyme and reason to the design.

This morning I wound some selvages that I've cut off recently... Here is a picture of all my collected selvages.  Seven balls of them so far - I DO use them but not often enough obviously.  

Here's an example of what I actually do with them when I use them:

 Here's a picture of the bear paw quilt I made on my Mediterranean cruise...

And finally, the reveal of the mystery quilt I did on the Mediterranean cruise.  The designer said I could reveal the quilt after the first of November.  I emailed her a week ago (well into November) asking if it was okay now and never heard back from her.  I'm hoping silence means consent... and if not, it's easier sometimes to get forgiveness than permission.  I am happy with it... I love those pops of turquoise in the sashing!  The turquoise in the cornerstones was actually my own design (the quilt pattern called for white squares in the corners.  I wanted to pull the pop of color out into the borders. 

Currently content that I am caught up on my block of the month projects.  However I'm not feeling really inspired to start anything new.  I've got lots of kits I could delve into, and I've seen so much eye candy lately in the quilt world, but nothing has inspired me enough to begin a new project.  And I'm really okay with that - I've got SO many UFOs.  We'll see how things develop from here. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Happiness and Quilting

Enchanted Garden, blocks 1-6

I've been a little depressed lately (ever since I got back home from my trip to Europe).  I loved the trip and had a lot of fun, and I loved coming home and sleeping in my own bed again, being with my kitties and my dog and my friends.  But for some reason, I've been somewhat depressed of late.  Can't put a finger on why...

Purrfect Moments, blocks 1-6 (January-June)

However, the past 2 weeks, I've been furiously preparing for a 4 day retreat at the beach house north of Ventura.  Piecing blocks, cutting blocks, tracing and fusing appliques on those blocks... It's been a long two weeks.  Last Weds. I packed up the car with the help of my husband, picked up a friend's stuff to take to the beach (she came on retreat too, just in someone else's car).  We all met at the house, set up our sewing paraphernalia and worked on quilting tasks from Thursday afternoon til Sunday afternoon.  It really works out to 3 days of work time, but we call it 4 days because we're there for four days on the calendar.  Anyway, 31 of us in one house was a little crowded, but we made it work.  (it IS a big house). 

Purrfect Moments blocks 7-10 (July-October)

I found my mood improving incredibly the longer I was there... I think there endorphin stimulators in fabric!  By Thursday night when I went to bed (about 2am) I was pretty relaxed and happy.  By Saturday evening, I was ecstatic over all the work I was getting done and thrilled seeing what everyone else was accomplishing as well.  By the time I got to bed Saturday night (about 1am), I was coming down off the quilting high a little as I contemplated leaving the next day.  I wanted to finish everything I came with, so I made a mad rush to finish all my applique by noon on Sunday... Mission Accomplished. 

Woodland Creatures (blocks 1-7)

But then we all met in one room for show and tell, and while I was thrilled with what everyone had done (some of these ladies did SO much and everything was beautiful!!!), I was starting to get overwhelmed with sadness at the thought of loading up the car and driving home.  Got everything loaded and set off for home (to the tune of grinding brakes, another part of 'real life' that came up the day before retreat - I gladly blocked that out during the retreat).

You Lucky Dog (blocks 10 & ll) - (making one for me and one for a rescue group, Sunny Saints, Saint Bernard Rescue, to auction as a fund-raiser)

Now that I'm home, (auto-less, as the car is in the shop), I'm still in the process of unpacking and sorting and dealing with all the things that built up in my absence (mail, laundry, lots of little daily tasks).  As with my longer trip in September/October, I am glad to be home, sleeping in my own bed and having kitties and a dog (and a husband) to cuddle.  Still, I am sad to not be totally immersed in the making of things.

Strip Joints, Warm - a new finish

I hope this feeling passes... I like the calm happiness (it beats out the sadness hands down, and is even preferable to the euphoria).   Quilting makes me happy... it's gotta be some kind of additive in the fabric.. that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

A Mysterious start to the year

Well, I finished one of last year's mystery tops... The Meadow Mist Mosaic Mystery.  I have to say I really like how this one came out.....