Monday, January 31, 2011

A good time was had by all!

The kids just left this afternoon after a 10 day stay. I'll be having an early night and tomorrow I'll be setting my house back to its normal order. I'll also be doing a bit of thoughtful planning to get back on track with my five things plan.

My DD added an inner border and then a checkered border to her thirties project. This is a baby quilt so rather than add one more border she will add a wider binding in the off white. The off white is one of those tone on tone fabrics that is actually a painted design. I don't like them. But we used the back side and I must remember that for the few more fabrics I have with the same effect. I did after all pay for both sides. LOL There are still lots of strips and scraps of thirties fabrics left so a doll blanket may be in the works but not just at this moment.

DSIL did a bit of painting for me. This has kinda got my interior design genes humming again. The hall table is now a taupe as well as the tall hall mirror. I must decide about the vertical mirror above the table. Then he spruced up a small bench and the 2 kiddy chairs. There is considerable taupe in the rug that now makes its home in the hallway. When everything is dry and back in its place I shall post a picture.

Friday, January 28, 2011

When life gives you scraps...

Very busy week with the kids visiting.

My DD#2 worked on a baby quilt using the Thirties Fabrics that DD#1 collected. It is for a mutual friend so I'm sure it'll all work out. ;^)

Now we have to evaluate to see if it needs a border and what kind.

The next challenge for Common Threads is 'garbage'; anything you would be normally throwing away. Now there is far too much usable fabric to throw away but I do want to be using up scraps and leftovers for these journal quilts so I was evaluating the left over strata from the rail fence blocks.
These are also meant to be somewhat in the manner of art quilts so I did a lot of ripping and rearranging to make something along a bargello effect.
This is Week 4's little journal quilt. I'll have to try again for the garbage theme next week.
Thursday I was at the Bernina Sewing Club. The project was a great tote and then we practiced using a wonderful couching foot. The pot holder at the very beginning of the post was my try. I had seen this foot before and it is not available for my older machines. I REALLY like this foot and I have been evaluating my needs, wants and desires. Should I put all my eggs in one basket and trade in the two old machines for the new machine? I took them in for evaluation and I'm left with my even older Bernina Minimatic to keep up with the art journals. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Things are sketchy at best!

A houseful of company all weekend and then DD and DSIL with the grand kiddies decided to stay on for the week. So...
I'll just say that my fabric is glued together with marshmallows and the Grand sonny would rather paint my paper than his! It's all good, right!
The first colour class went well. We talked about The Stash as an investment that needs to be varied and useful. An understanding of what makes for a successful stash is necessary. A flashy theme fabric may be the star but without a great supporting cast, the quilt will not be a great success.

A useful tool in a quilter's tool box is a colour wheel. One can be purchased but making one's own with the fabric in one's stash shows up the strengths and weaknesses in the inventory. It is helpful to make several, one in solids, one in prints and one in your favorite fabric style. Just using the fabric squares last night showed a deficiency in the blue violets and blue greens. So we'll dig deeper in our respective piles and try to fill in the gaps better when we gather again to meet the colour families and see how they all try to get along.
My sketching on a daily basis has been sporadic this last bit. The theme for the sketchbook project is Highly Prized. Time can be highly prized!
I'm trying to find what is going to characterize my sketchbook. I definitely want words.

Colour is also a prized possession. I like the idea of a black outline but I think I want things to blend better with many layers. I can only hope that the end of the sketchbook is going to be an improvement over the first! ;^)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday finish

Week Three Journal Quilt, pant, pant.

The weather is bitter cold but that doesn't stop my company and I'm set for a full house all weekend. This was third on my cross off list of five things. Two to go!

Oh, the quiltlet is fused scraps. I made myself stay in the scrap bin. I found Misty Fuse in my sewing dealer's shop and I'm trying it. So far so good. I must remember that an overlay of tulle dulls the colour so I need to spice things up a bit or get over my obsession about raw edges. I did some machine quilting then applied the backing. I can see this is going to be a great learning experience as I do these weekly quilts.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

High Five

I am just so impressed that I want to slap high fives on every one's hand!

Five things on the to-do list each day seems to be working for me. My dearie was so right about being realistic on what can actually be accomplished. I luv making lists. Scribbling them off, not so much. :( But who wouldn't be defeated by a list of 27 things! HA! But now I actually feel bad when I don't have any of my five crossed off. LOL


I'm working to hubby's beat and he wanted to start in the basement. We actually placed some insulation behind these metal book cases and I swear it is warmer. He sorted the tool tangle, I grouped the paint and actually made a cover from a thrift shop tablecloth as it is first thing you see coming down the stairs.

Next will be my laundry area but I did get the big messy book case covered. I like things pretty. Atmosphere is everything to me. But hubby's organization skills help us keep things looking good because we find ways to make it the easiest to put things in their place and not leave flat surfaces for collecting 'STUFF'! It is not conducive to playing when the laundry is piled on top of my dry papers!

I am almost set with the trim, sitting, and dining room colours. I have the rough outline for the colour class in place. I'm feeling my way thru zentangles and sketching. I have two old ufo's on the go.

I am also limiting computer time. I'm making my to-do list my nine to five job so I'm off except for breakfast, lunch, coffee time and evenings.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Finding the right setting

I need to think of a name for this top.
Part 2 of Finding Things:
I put the blocks up on my newly cleared design wall.
Just a thin sashing around doesn't seem to do very much.
I tried a cranberry.
And then a gold which is showing lighter than it is.
Then I tried to follow the diagram shewing the placement of the inset pieced triangles. Because some are sewn and some are not things aren't quite lining up. It made for some confusion and "oh, NO; I've done it wrong." But it all looks like it will come together.
I would definitely stop with no more borders and perhaps bind with the theme fabric of fruits.
I didn't try any other options because I couldn't think of any. Am I missing something?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another Find

My last couple of projects weren't exactly lost. They were set aside as I pursued bigger, better, bolder, etc. Their day has come.
The Bali inspired the star blocks. They are scrappy in the sense that I gathered many teals to make the backgrounds of the stars. I always feel it is better (and safer) to use many variations of the main colour.

The centres are my bright accent fabric surrounded by the Bali. The star points are a very light rainbow-like fabric in aqua, pink and mauve. Then the star block was set in a square of the theme Bali.

After making the blocks I wanted to try a different set, hence the zigzag. The mottled fabric was the best choice and I was nervous about having enough. The top seemed an odd shape, more long than wide so I set it aside and there she has laid.
I have a friend; she was the one who introduced me to quilting who has the dreaded C word in her life and I thought of this top. She is a 'blue' gal! Teal is close, right! It would be a couch quilt so perhaps the shape is okay. I have the Bali and a couple of neat chunks for a backing.
The plan today is to get it off the design wall, the backing sewn, and be well on my way with the basting as I need to get the other 'found' blocks up on the design wall in preparation for Wednesday's Workshop In Progress.
It is incredibly white in my world right now so playing with all these colourful fabrics just warms me up tremendously. I find I am making happy noises! 8)

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Quilting Journey/Journals

3 Creative Studios has issued a Journal Quilt Challenge
Each Friday I am invited to post a page sized quilt. This was quite popular a few years ago.

The local quilt group, Common Threads, is in its second year for page sized quilt challenges and they were our most popular display during our annual quilt show last year. We are wanting to encourage new quilters but also challenge our traditions.

I am happy to do these because I see them as a useful tool/vehicle to grow as an art quilter.
Week one :
This is also a Common Threads challenge to use thread.
Week 2:
Common Threads challenge to use a zipper.
I am now caught up with those challenges so next week is going to be whatever my little heart desires. I had originally thought I'd do place mats but having seen some of the wonderful little quiltlets I must seriously raise the bar with my art quilts. Hmm, maybe a few parameters are indeed a good thing. Perhaps I'll use up my scraps in a creative way. But I definitely want to be posting a journal art quilt every Friday.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Intentional Improvising.

I had hoped to do most of the piecing for these 12 inch improvisational blocks at our Common Threads meetings. I wanted something that I could easily work on away from home. The top and bottom strips in the corners need to be wide enough for seam allowances and unfortunately I need to focus on that and not on all the wonderful activity around me. I have them cut, pieced and ready for the next sewing bee and I'll try again with the little centre squares. I wish I had bought lots more of the theme fabric. I luv the colours and the circles. I can get 18 nine patch blocks from my metre of fabric. Then I'll see what I can do next.

The table is cleared for the journal quilt due tomorrow. Then I'll take down and baste the quilt on the design wall so I can get my blocks from the Process Pledge up for viewing. I am happy to report that five things a day seems to be working well so far.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Finding Things

I keep forgetting about this project. It survives my purges. It was a mystery quilt that has to be at least 15 years old. I liked the colours, the block but then I lost steam at the finish. I now know it is because I really don't like borders and this was requiring the typical thin border and then the big strip of wide theme fabric to finish it off. I lost heart.

Time to review my options.

1) It still has an appealing colour scheme and the traditional blocks and colours go well with the winter theme for the dining room. It can hang behind the black stove. Heck, it actually fits in a lot of my rooms.

2) I can stop and use the diagonal squares as the border and use a red binding.

3) Leftovers can be assigned to place mats.

4) I can set the 19 (???) in an entirely different setting. I have adequate fabric as it is mostly scrappy. For every colour I needed I used dozens of variations except for my theme fabric which has leaves and fruit.

What would tradition with a twist look like?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Colour Wheelies

I need to get all my colour wheels spinning in the same direction. lol

There will be four sessions in the upcoming colour classes. They should be basic, not overly complicated. My intention is to enlighten, not overwhelm. But such a big subject!

I want more than a binder, I want a pretty (as in smashing) journal. I may be trying to twirl before I can spin. It looks more like a scrap book. I need to learn how to blur edges and blend.

But back to class content. This isn't about journalling. It is about making colourful quilts with confidence and having fun with a colourful stash that is full of useful options. The economy being what it is, we should at least have 75% of our stash budget invested in fabric that earns its keep.

I spent a lot of money and time accumulating my stash. It was fun but I do wish I'd understood colour principles better and resisted more of those 'buy me, I'm purty flirty' fabrics. Colour is so much fun to play with I find it painful to listen to quilters who are anxious about 'what goes'. So I'm happy to share what I've learned and I enjoy teaching because it forces me to clarify what I know. Hopefully it'll be a win/win time for us all.

Having the grandson over for the weekend and seeing that he is perhaps not too young to join in playing is certainly going to help me loosen up and enjoy this very colourful journey. But if I don't keep track of those pencil crayons, I'll be the one doing wheelies! ;^)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

We're having a party!

My Grand daughter turns one on Sunday and I was sent to get the prezzie. Not a great idea. My going alone I mean. Totally safe to go for the Grand sonny. I'm not into trains, tools, etc. But, oh my! Totally inappropriate. She is only one. So this I maybe bought for me. ??? I spent HOURS playing with my doll house. Have you seen what is now available? Boggles one's mind. I couldn't do big and basic. I resisted tiny and adorable. vbsigh

I got a starter cottage. Family of four and the baby's bottle will not even be noticed as it is swallowed with a cup or plate being the chaser. oh dear! So I knew some would be put away for later. But I couldn't resisted looking, then opening, then assembling, arranging, and flinging myself into Playing! awk! I went hunting for a few more people and another chair or so from some of my own kids play stuff.

Then I just had to see what the itty bitty stuff would look like when it was invited to play. It has been hard to quit but I need to put everything away. I have a 5 item to-do list to get checked off, not to mention the party planning.

There is another party happening as well. 3 Creative Studios is launching their new site with a great party. They have all kinds of good things planned including give aways and challenges. This is a fun bunch and I enjoy joining in with their plans and play days. If I don't get lots of things accomplished in the coming year it won't be for lack of motivation, tips, and tricks on their part.

And speaking of combining work with pleasure... I have a colour class coming up. I have been re-reading Color Mastery: 10 Principles for Creating Stunning Quilts from my library of technique books as part of my 2011 goal planning. She recommends making a colour journal and as this is THE Year of the Journal, I picked up another spiral journal which I'll use. But not just swatches and theories. This is gonna be pretty and it isn't just for class but for me! Party time for this chick as I'm waiting for littlest chickie to catch up to her Gram'elle. I wonder what year she needs a little sewing machine. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Just as she needs to let go of our hands and get walking, I need to get walking with all the tools, techniques and tremendous support that is available to me. Time to party!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Jotting things down

If the holidays were quiet with softly falling snow and sips of something nice and crisp pages to turn, then the starting gun for the new year was a loud canon. Whoa!

I was trying my hand at doodling every day as prep for the Sketchbook Challenge but it was a false start as I got involved with setting the scene by decluttering so I'm starting again. I am not a sketcher in the sense of realistic drawings. I think I'd rather try to do representational or stylized work. I had heard all the buzz about zentangles but resisted the whole fad idea.
I'm rethinking it because I have several page sized samples of free motion quilting that has a zen quality to it that surfaced during the clean up. The page challenge for Common Threads is a line drawing. We were shown a triangular echo technique that is actually a zentangle concept. hmmmm??? During a free motion embroidery workshop I was ecstatic with the concept of draw a shape and fill it in with teeny tiny stipple. Things are beginning to jell, methinks!

The big black spiral book has some things already in it that are kinda embarrassing but the only place to go is forward and it will be my practice/technique book for collage/wet techniques. I really liked the idea of loose pages as this fits my interest in altered books. The small brown spiral will be for the more dry techniques. The big brown spiral is THE sketchbook for the challenge. I'm dividing the 48 pages into 12 months and that gives two 2 page spreads for each theme. I'll practice and then embrace the theme which will have had some time and test runs.

I'll have my little book for daily warm ups as I try lines and patterns.

The lined molskines I bought in haste have turned out to be good for jotting down my year/month/week/day plans. I guess I can later turn them into another journal ! This is certainly an ongoing process. I have already discovered that 5 is the magic number. Too many and it is all a dream, but 5 makes me rethink my priorities for the week/day. It just tickles my fancy that I can maybe learn to be smart!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011


Gee, if 1/1/11 makes me happy, I'm going to be ecstatic on 11/11/11! I like the number 11.

Keeping in mind the word for 2010, FOCUS, I am looking at 2011 only. Not the whole decade.

From 1/1/11 to 31/12/11 I am going to be seeking and searching for ways to FIND out how I tick and what to do to keep moving forward.
I have been considering the whole resolutions/list controversy. I am not a list maker but neither do I have anything measurable to show but giggles, happy noises, snorts and half done projects. So inspite of the naysayers I will give it my best shot.

My goals for this year are:

1) To keep up to date on my commitments.

2) To complete one project a month.

3) To make serious effort towards Eggs or Else and post projects and not dreams.

4) To go through my library.

5) To try a 5 item list each day/month/year.

This is also the year of the journal. Most of my commitments involve some kind of journal. I luv scribbling, taking notes, jotting things down. I just never really go back to them. But I have a number of these commitments.

1) To teach a colour workshop to our quilt group, Common Threads, which involves a colour journal.

2) To do a small page sized art quilt for the months September thru May also for Common Threads.

3) Three Creative Studios runs challenges and I'm in. One is a weekly Journal Quilt.

4) The Sketchbook Challenge is monthly.

5) I am doing an Altered Book 101 courtesy of Elizabeth.

I'm not listing the wedding and the comfort quilts that are for this year. Those things generally get done.

I am hoping that Finding how to do five major things in this one year, broken down into 5 things per month, using a 5 day work week, with 5 things per day just might find me accomplishing something. I may like the number eleven but this just might be the year of the fives!