Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A sampling of treasure

 In the early nineties I invited a few ladies over to see if anyone was interested in quilting.  We started a little quilt group and called ourselves The Country Road Quilters as we were all in a rural setting and traveled at least a half an hour to get together.  We met every week and took turns hosting the meetings.  The first rule was no food and it was pitched out when the first meeting began with coffee and goodies.  Somewhere along the line we included lunches.  :O    At some point the original four of us made 4 blocks representing our home in each others chosen colours.  Then we each set the four blocks into a wall hanging.

But before we got to that point we decided we all needed to sign up for a sampler course at the nearest quilt shop.  As with most classes we had to buy our fabric at the store.  I was mightily resisting the whole calico thing by this time and I was struggling.

 So I found a paisley in amongst the bolts and dared to pick coordinating solids in blue. Now I was into the country look and the blues would work in my bedroom even if paisley isn't exactly 'country'.   Everyone had their eyebrows up but I stuck to my intentions.  

By the time I got around to the borders I had to figure out how to stretch the fabric I had and make it fit the double bed.  Then came the quilting.  :O  Everyone hand quilted and we brought our hoops and worked on them every week.  I again struggled.  The rocking stitch defeated me.  So I stab stitched in secret!  LOL  Turns out lots of quilters stab stitched but it wasn't how 'real' quilters did it in my neck of the woods.  This quilt would still be 'hooped' if I hadn't discovered Harriet Hargrave and machine quilting.  :)  I resisted the urge to unpick everything, finished up the last few blocks by machine and made creative choices for the border.  I should have stood my ground on the backing but knuckled under to a plain white cotton which looks simply horrid with all that catywompus blue quilting thread on the very visible back.  :(

Not being a traditionalist I decided I didn't like samplers and would never do another.  Never say never for there are many ways to make samplers and the quilt group chose several.   But those treasures must wait for another Tuesday!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Shhh! They're sleeping!

I'm trying to sip my morning coffee and plan my week without waking up the visiting grand kiddies!  ;^)  Last year's art books are off to be officially coiled and it took almost a whole day with my gal and I working steadily to get the right pages in the right book.  This year will require names on everything!  :(

I have help with the fall decorating and that should be finished up this week.  Looks like  a frost night is coming and we'll do one cover over and then it'll be time to pull everything.  The last summer project is winding down just in time for yard prep for winter.

Today is the last full day for my wee visitors and we plan to make lots of art!

 uh, oh!  First one is up!  Second one is stirring and the last one is recovering from watching last night's eclipse!  ;)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

This, that, and the other thing

An Artist Date

Or perhaps this would be a better blog post title-  Live, Dance, Love...  BE!

This is a lovely facility in their little city.  Lots to do including ballet, belly dancing, and

a great art room with lots of supplies.  There are music rooms, one with a big black grand piano.

I got them to choir practice in time and I have a feeling Jingle Bells is going to lose its charm, at least for me, before the big concert day arrives!  :(

A trip to the local store where we scooped up some deals at the closing sale. 

Unfortunately, The Rooster had another work project planned for Saturday so art will happen when he goes to work on Monday.

Treasure in the barn attic revealed another new thing!   I don't know about them, but I've been sleeping good!  Its a good weekend so far!  Let it BE, let it be!!!  :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Squirrely Treasure

This block is an old traditional pattern known by a few names- Churn Dash, Quails Nest, Monkey Wrench and Barn Door.  Using the border fabric as a starting point I picked my colours, trying for lights, mediums, and darks in several colours as I wanted a scrappy effect.  The alternate blocks are neutrals.

 This quilt probably started my luv affair with on point or diagonal designs.  :}

It is a well used quilt, faded; and the cotton batting has gotten quite thin.  The quilting is just straight lines with a walking foot.  I guess I could say it is a summer quilt.

I spent hours, heck days, spreading my colours around to display a pleasing balance.  I particularly wanted the few yellows to be separated.  After sewing it all together and basting it I discovered that some blocks had moved from their pre-arranged position.  :[  The butter curdled.  The monkey threw a wrench. 

I thought nuts! and changed its name to Squirrels Nest!   I was not laughing then, but I do now.  ;^)

Monday, September 21, 2015

This week

Another busy week but our weather has just been exceptional.  We are having a lovely fall!  :)

The counter is still pretty covered with stencils and papers.  First I need to put all that away but at least it is grouped into similar categories.  Notice I do have my cutter station cleared for action as I want to make better use of my die cuts.

Then I need to mess it up again as I lay out lesson plans for my gal and the grand kiddies art 101.  We will be working with water soluble markers and water brushes.  Once a month we'll take a sketching field trips so we can explore our theme of shapes and stories.

I have joined the techie generation.  Everyone at work relates by texting.  They are going to offer classes on how to use the mobile phones and guess who will be front row and centre!!!  I'm also rereading The Artist's Way and hope actually to do it!  So there will be some learning curves ahead.  :{

The barn has its first coat on the three sides.  Next week we'll get back on making the doors and covering the windows for winter.

It is  unfortunate that none of the huge changes are visible from the kitchen window.  But we definitely can anticipate next year's finish which will see a door into my workroom and lovely windows to let the light shine all over.  :)

First thing on the to-do list is to return the long ladder.   I'll stop to smell the roses,  savour some sweet cantaloupe, and then get busy.     Here's to a great week!!!  :)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015

Dare I say it!

I'm just about ready for winter.  Well, let me rephrase that.  I could use a few snow days. ;^)

My hand is sore from nailing.  Hopefully we'll have the back done before the paint crew (grand kiddies and their papa) arrive Saturday morning.  :O  The north side, which is where my work room windows and door will be, must wait for next year as it needs a goodly amount of work and time and money.  :O   But you know, the old girl is looking better already!  :)

The closing of the local scrapbooking store has me shopping quite a bit!  I keep thinking of things I 'need'.  lol  Making room for this rack meant moving out the bins in the closet and that meant editing stuff which is certainly not a bad thing.  :{  I have a pile of stuff for the thrift shop and discovered some good stuff I'd forgotten.  I am determined that my playroom area will look like a work area and not a magazine spread.  This has made for some significant changes which I need a few of the aforementioned snow days to play with! 

A busy week for appointments.  How does one get three at the very same time?  But with some shifting around we got everywhere we needed to get.  My gal is settled comfortably in her new place with an art room organized.  We are waiting on the table top/counter. The grand kiddies wrapped up the summer in their smash books and we have new ones for this coming school year.  And a good plan for working with shapes and telling stories in the coming months! 

I had been admiring Margaret's roses.  Then I actually stopped to smell mine!  :)  I got some good ones, too!  yay!!!

I had made a quick dash into the drug store and darn it, they had faerie stuff on sale.  I'd gotten the three faeries and a few ornaments when I'd been up visiting DD#1 and her local greenhouse.  How could I pass up a wee bird house, a lamp post, fences and a couple of doors!   Dare I say it...
Now I can't wait for spring to arrive so the grand kiddies and I can plan the new small folk suburb!   ;^)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tuesday Treasures- First Class

While I was busy sewing up all my rail fences I was telling The Rooster's sister all about my new found happiness.  She also sewed and I was horrified to hear she was going to make quilts after she had explored garment sewing to her satisfaction.  Oh, no.  She had to start asap because there wasn't going to be enough time for us to do all the quilts we would be planning.  So we enrolled in an Irish Chain class and I don't think she got much garment sewing done after that!  :^)

This looks to be about 1990 judging by DS#3.   I finished it with the requisite narrow inner peach and wide outer blue borders.  It stands to reason that once you know how to sew strips it is an easy progression to cutting them up and sew them into new configurations.   Now I don't remember what happened to the Irish Chain quilt but again not my style but when in Rome class...

 Realizing time was of the essence I tried miniatures.  Isn't this a hoot!  So not me but that was the fabric I could get.
This is another value study but I see the chains could have been stronger.   I also practiced my machine quilting on these smaller quilts.

I did take to sewing and cutting like a duck to water enabling me to get lots of leftover strips from later projects chopped up into scrap quilts.  The rail fence blocks that didn't make it into last week's treasure became a table mat.  That's a penny on the light square.  I've learned I rather like small than big but goodness that takes time and fiddling. :{

Squares aren't my favourite shape but I was quite into blue and yellow for a time.  These fabrics were for DD#2's double wedding quilt.  I really wish I could do a project without having so much fabric leftover.  :O  But I did get to practice some machine quilting on those bigger lap quilts. 

The treasure nugget I carried away from this hunt was that monochromatic scraps work wonderfully in quilts especially with a bit of an accent colour.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Summer is falling away

 I'm trying to get all the bedding washed and aired for the fall cleaning.  The bees and wasps are enjoying the last of the raspberries.  :{

Our local scrapbooking store is closing with some great sales.  Too good to pass up and I'm doing my bit to help clear out the wee store.  I will be bringing home a shelving rack that I hope to store my stencils in.  That means 'something' has to leave.  In the meantime I have also been buying all kinds of markers for teaching the grand kiddies to draw.  Imagine how much I will learn as well.  lol  I also have a plan for making up collage kits for my gal and I to work on.  I am not satisfied with the way my journal pages evolve and I saw a blog where she begins her collages with a 'collection' of things.   The Rooster is pulling in some of the garden produce.  I do luv those tiny tims!  Just like candy!  :)

It is full steam ahead on the barn as the son in law is arriving with his sprayer on this coming weekend.  We are watching the weather as we prepare.  The Rooster is now doing ladder work and he has me cutting boards and running them up to him.  I'm using the chop saw!  eek!  He is also hoping for greater accuracy after we get the rough patching done.  vbsigh!   

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Life on the rails

My very first pattern was the Rail Fence.  This is the only quilt I've actually liked from all that I've made and I was delighted when DD#1 no longer needed it and traded it for another!  ;^)

My first luv was, and probably still is, home decorating.  I was a busy gal and had no time for make work projects like cutting up fabric and sewing it back together again.  But then I went to a national quilt show and SAW what all that cutting, rearranging and sewing could do.  Coordinated bedding!  Somehow I missed the art aspect of it although it was there.  This would have been back in the mid eighties.

This is a lap sized quilt with diagonal cross hatching.  I am a machine quilter and I used the large border to practice feathers.  I tried to do a value lesson with rails from light to dark.  I still need lessons in value!  lol But I liked the scrappy look.  This was from my folk art period.  LOL

My friend and show tour guide showed me using scissors to cut, templates for each rail!   :O  I bought fabric, those indescribable wee calicoes in bright reds,  whites, and blues. I mixed poly cottons into the whole thing.  I had enough fabric to cover our small town and after making two twin beds, a crib, some pillows, etc, I decided a queen size for my sister was gonna be the end of that colour run!  :}

But I was hooked.

It frustrated me as one can see in the small doll quilt which is so typical of the colour and fabrics available at that time.  It is hard for those verticals and horizontals to end up playing nicely.

Not much remains of any of those early quilt projects but I was surprised to see the influence the pattern holds.  I learned some things.  Rotary cutters and strip piecing are the way to go!  LOL  But quick cutting and piecing often leads to a bigger time commitment to figure out layouts and quilting.   I learned more is better.  More rails, smaller rails, and less contrast appeals to me.

I also learned as I was searching for photos and old treasures that this first quilt block has actually influenced a lot of my quilting but that is for another Tuesday.  Who knew it would turn out to be such a treasure!

This post is linked up to A Quarter Inch From The Edge  and Throwback Thursday!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Labouring on the long weekend

Work on the south side of the big barn is coming along nicely with  all the worst spots opened up.  The placing of the new boards was halted as the long weekend is designated as chicken 'processing' day.  I think I'll just share a couple of the pretty photos. ;^)

A nice rooster was saved to greet the morning and keep the new laying hens happy!  I do wish his tail was perkier but he is still quite young.

Josh is part of the assembly line in the barn this year.  Eliana isn't quite as keen so I keep the girls busy with preparing coffee breaks, meals, and clean up.  The table was set very pretty. 

It has been raining.  Because we do have that big barn to work in we finished in two days.  Weather permitting we can get back to working on the outside.  Looks like another busy week as the work schedule picks up and fall appoaches.