October 31, 2010

Trick Or Treat...

I just realized that it's November 1st already! Already!!! No. I'm not panicking. (Breathing into a paper lunch bag right now!)

I know that I had such grandiose plans for the weekend. I was going to be sewing my fingers to the bone, working on the quilt-with-a-deadline. Instead, I did a little housework on Saturday and then read for the rest of the day.

Sunday was spent doing a little yard work with Handsome, bathing the dogs, swimming in the Holidome (Fezzik jumped in all on his own FOUR times to swam with us!), and then watching football games. Sunday was a real day of rest.

We live in a rural neighborhood and all the kids either go to neighborhood parties or to the Community Center dressed as princesses, goblins or other characters, so we only had two trick-or-treaters for Halloween this year.

"Trick or treat, smell my feet,
gimme something good to eat."

"It's just us, Mom. Let us in!!!"
"Did we scare you, Mom?
I bet we scared you!"
"No, Fezzik."
"Not even a little bit, Mom?"
"No, Fezzik. Not even a little bit."

The photo is Kes from about 9 years ago. She decided she wanted to be a witch for Halloween. She was a really good witch, too!

Before I forget...Handsome asked me to request a favor of my blog friends. If you're on Facebook, please visit "North Port Orchestra". We'd love it if you'd "like" them, too. They just joined Facebook and we'd love to get some friends and activity on their page! Thanks a million!

I'll be back in the studio today, and I promise I'll share new photos of my current project tomorrow. I hope you all have a beautiful and creative week, my friends. See you tomorrow!

October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween...

Happy Halloween From Our Little Monsters To Yours!

October 29, 2010

I Can't Believe I Missed This...

There was a fabulous needlework exhibit at the Nantucket Whaling Museum while we were on the island...and I can't believe I missed it!!!

During a conversation with one of the local artists, Peggy Silverstein (at one of the celebratory parties) I intimated that I was a needleworker. That party was the last evening of our stay on the island.
Peggy said, "Gee. I wish I'd known that about you the first night we met. I would have told you about the Boardman exhibit at the Whaling Museum." She then took out her iPhone, found the Museum site and held up a needlework image that took my breath away.
The exhibit is entitled, "Sometimes Think of Me: Notable Nantucket Women Through The Centuries" by Susan Boardman. Ms. Boardman is a full-time resident of Nantucket and is thoroughly immersed in textile art. Her recurring themes are women, family and home, as they relate to Nantucket and its rich whaling heritage.
As soon as I got back home, I went to Susan Boardman's website, and then over to the Nantucket Whaling Museum's site. I looked at their information on the exhibit, knowing that they would have a catalog of all of the items in the show.

I wasn't disappointed. I purchased the 150 page book about Susan Boardman's embroidered narratives, overflowing with images of her incredible needlework and biographies of the subjects she stitches. The book costs $35 and is worth every single cent. Of course, the other images I'm sharing with you are notecards that I also couldn't resist.

If you get a chance to see any of the Boardman needlework pieces, don't miss them. Her work is really impeccable and beyond description. These are all truly works of heart. Of course, you can use the links I've shared to purchase your own copy of "Sometimes Think of Me". You won't be sorry, I promise.

I hope you like my nod to all the beautiful, white pumpkins I've seen around Blogland. I've changed my Brynwood header for the season. Happy Fall Y'all!

October 28, 2010

Lavender Fezzik Friday - 20 Weeks...

Mom asked me to help her in the studio yesterday. She said that I could be her model for the "Lavender Dreams" quilt she's working on now. I was really worried that she was gonna put a hat on me or something silly. She says that I do "silly" really well.

I'm glad I didn't have to wear any props this time. She said all I had to do was relax on her work table and show her first block for the new quilt to all of you. She didn't say that I had to stay off it, though.
Isn't it a pretty block? This quilt is really comfy, and Mom's only made one block so far. She said, if I think it's comfy now, I'll want to roll all over it when it's all finished!
Mom said that she'll be making six blocks out of each different fabric, with the creamy color in this block repeating in every block on the quilt. There will be a total of thirty six blocks, each taking her about an hour to make. That means it will take her at least thirty six hours just to make all the blocks.

Then, she'll have to decide on placement for each block and sew them all together. She's a little worried that she won't get it finished by the end of next week, but I believe in her. I think she'll do it!

Each block measures 16" square and the finished quilt will be queen size. Rats! I was hoping it was going to be "corgi size"!

Gotta run now. See you next week!

October 27, 2010

One Down, One To Go...

I finished the "Nantucket" quilt by 1:30 yesterday afternoon. By 2:00, I had delivered it to Kathy at Sandy's Quilt Shop for the long-arm quilting portion of the job. I beat my deadline by a week!
One down, one to go.
I drove back home and started cutting the fabrics for the queen size quilt that's next up. I'm going to call it "Lavender Dreams". This one has to be at the shop by the second week in November, but I'm going to try to finish it by late next week. You know I'll let you know how I'm doing!

Cutting and sewing today...LOTS of half-square triangles. (You're going to love this pattern!) If I can keep Miss Snoopy Pants from sneaking a peek, I'll give you snapshots of my progress. (Just in case, I'll put them into my Flickr album for "What I'm Sewing Now". The link is in my right sidebar near the bottom. She'll never look there!)

The Chorale rehearses with the Concert Band this evening, so I'll be singing while Handsome plays in the percussion section. I'm really looking forward to it!

I hope you have a happy and creative day, too, my friends.

October 26, 2010

Girls Night Out...

(click on photo to enlarge)
This photo is two images cropped together - I tell you
this to explain the half table in the center of the image.
I spent yesterday working on the quilt top and will share it in tomorrow's post. Last night, though, was Girls Night Out at Books A Million. (Missed you Krisann, but glad we could fit in lunch together yesterday!)

These girls have enormous hearts and they make me laugh. I love the time we spend together. They're all busy working on yarny rectangles right now to send in for Warm Up America™.

I remember when I had my shop in Wisconsin (over twenty years ago). Fellow shop owner, Evie Rosen - also located in Wisconsin, conceived of this great idea. Since then, knitters and crocheters have continued to summon their creative talents to make blankets for the homeless. It's a great cause, and the girls in our group never shy away from a great cause. (You can click here to see how you can participate, too.)

I haven't been able to knit or crochet for a while (an little issue with my hands), but I continue to meet with the gals for their inspiration and friendship. I'm looking forward to hearing just how many squares they contribute to Warm Up America™ this year, and to see what their next charity project will be.

I'm anxious to share the quilt top tomorrow. Hope you'll stop by for the big reveal!

October 25, 2010

Machine Quilting And What's Up Next...

I took this book with me on our trip to Nantucket. Even when I can't sew or knit, I love to take along something that I can read about sewing or knitting! I did complete a book called "Vintage Nantucket" that was in our hostess's library, but I took along "The Guide To Machine Quilting" hoping to learn some tips and pointers.

This book didn't fail to deliver. I can highly recommend Diane Gandynski's book if you would like to learn how to do your own machine quilting. I read it cover to cover and am looking forward to trying some of the new things I learned on some of my upcoming projects.

While I continue to work toward the finish line on the quilt for our hostess, I'm going to share a little about my next quilt. I'm going to be making a queen size quilt for my sister for Christmas. She already knows that she's getting this gift, but doesn't know which fabric or pattern I'll be using.I purchased "Home Comforts" from Brenda Riddle of Acorn Quilt and Gift Company - along with another of her books called "Comfort and Joy". (Her blog is called Little Acorns.) I really enjoyed paging through each book as I tried to decide which design to use. I finally decided on a pattern called "Twinkle". More than that, I can't tell you because I know Miss Snoopy Pants will try to see what I'm doing.

So, I'll be finishing my current project to be ready for Kathy's scheduled slot for me - for machine quilting - the first week of November, and then I'll need to scamper right along to finish my sister's quilt for the second week of November. If I can get this accomplished, the rest of my Christmas sewing will be a cinch! Of course, I might just kill myself trying to get the first two projects done. Whew!

I'll keep you in the loop, and hope you'll come along for this years' Christmas Sleigh Ride. You can see all the projects I finished last year (in case you weren't here to watch), by clicking here. I assure you, the list is not as extensive this year. That entire list was accomplished start to finish from November 30th to December 23rd. I am going to try my best to be finished with everything by December 15th this year.

More sewing today, and then I'll start working on my list so I can plan out my time for this years' gifts. See you tomorrow, hoping you have a creative day planned for yourself, too!

October 24, 2010

A Little More Detail...

My last photo post about the batik "Thank You Quilt" elicited a question that I thought I'd answer for everyone who might be curious (and then I'm going to share just a little ok, a LOT more detail about the quilt, too). Jillayne wrote a comment asking about the ruler:


The colours are fabulous - the perfect choice for the seaside! That ruler is pretty spiffy and the perfect thing for those Jelly Rolls - what's it called?It looks nifty, swifty to me! Have fun placing and re-arranging today!

Here are the labels so that you can see what you'll be shopping for...Creative Grids is the name of the manufacturer. (Don't forget - you can always click on any of my photos to enlarge them.)
The ruler I used for this quilt is called the 45ยบ Double-Strip Half-Square Triangle Ruler, although there are rulers for other block configurations available, too. No math skills required. Just line up per instructions and cut. Easy Peasy!
This is what the entire ruler looks like. It has a 2 1/2" wide ruler running the entire length, so that you can cut your own strips from yardage - if you chose your own assortment instead of purchasing the pre-cut 2 1/2" jelly rolls. With all the stash I have, this part of the ruler will really come in handy in the future!

Then, once you've assembled one light and one dark strip together, you place the triangle part of the ruler on the fabric to cut the triangles. You only have to be sure to place the dotted line (it's located in the mid-point of each triangle) directly on your seam line between the two strips before you make your cuts with a rotary cutter. You can see how I cut the strips here.

Note: If you want the top of your triangle to be on the right - you need to cut your triangles with the BACK side of the fabric facing up (as I did with the triangle marked "light" below).

Likewise, if you want your triangle tops on the left side - cut your fabric RIGHT side up (like the triangle marked "dark" below).
Once you've cut your triangles (each strip will create light and dark triangles), you assemble a dark and a light triangle to make a square. (That's what quilters mean when they say "half-square triangles". When you put two halves together, you get a square!) Still no math required.

You'll notice that the dark triangle in this photo has a top on the left, and the light triangle has a top on the right. You need to do this or your triangles will not create squares when assembled.
When you place your next square, you'll want to be sure that you lay a light triangle next to a dark, and a dark next to the light as show above.
Four squares ready to be assembled into a block.
This is what the block will look like when it's sewn. I just laid the triangles closer together for this photo, and have not actually sewn it together yet.
These four blocks have been assembled and I'm showing you how I preview the layout. You want to be sure that you place lights next to darks when you assemble to quilt top so that the color values alternate.

One thing I wanted to mention is that I decided that all aspects of the block I'm making would be random. You could also take two sewn strips (four different fabrics), cut them into triangles and assemble using just those four different fabrics if you want. I actually think you use less fabric that way!
On Saturday, I headed over to Sandy's Quilt Shop and purchased my backing and sashing fabrics. I'm going to use the lighter color for the sashing on the front of the quilt, and the darker fabric will be my backing and binding.

Sunday really was a day of rest around here. Handsome and I took the dogs for a walk in our neighborhood. When we got back home, we pulled the cover off the pool and all four of us went swimming. It was a perfect way for the dogs to cool down, and we really enjoyed it, too.

I only spent enough time in the studio to cut more assembled strips for the quilt so that they'll be ready for me to make more blocks tomorrow. When I was finished with that, we gathered to watch football until dinner time. Dogs were fed and aired, we put on our riding gear and pushed out the Harleys to ride out for a meal. We even managed to avoid a rain shower that soaked our neighborhood while we were away! We got back home just in time for the kickoff of the Packers vs Vikings game. We've been in Florida for nearly ten years, but we'll always be Packers fans. (They won tonight! Yea!!!)

Thanks so much for your comments on this project. Just ask if you want to know something else, and I'll try not to be so wordy! I hope you each have a healthy and creative week, my friends. More tomorrow...

October 23, 2010

Just My Dog...

Even though my sweet Kes is a female,
this poem is appropriate for all dogs.


He is my other eyes that can see above
the clouds; my other ears that hear above
the winds. He is the part of me that can
reach out into the sea.

He has told me a thousand times over that
I am his reason for being: by the way he
rests against my leg; by the way he thumps
his tail at my smallest smile; by the way he
shows his hurt when I leave without taking him.
(I think it makes him sick with worry when he
is not along to care for me.)

When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive.
When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile.
When I am happy, he is joy unbounded.
When I am a fool, he ignores it.
When I succeed, he brags.
Without him, I am only another man.
With him, I am all-powerful.
He is loyalty itself.
He has taught me the meaning of devotion.
With him, I know a secret comfort and a
private peace. He has brought me understanding
where before I was ignorant.
His head on my knee can heal my human hurts.
His presence by my side is protection against
my fears of dark and unknown things.
He has promised to wait for me...
Whenever...wherever--in case I need him.
And I expect I will--as I always have.

He is just my dog.
--- Gene Hill ---
We're resting today, but we'll be back
tomorrow with an update from the studio.

October 22, 2010

Cutting Triangles...

Thursday, I spent the day in the studio. I was just itching to start on the Thank You Quilt, and try out that new ruler I'd purchased. Remember that my roll of fabrics were already cut into 2 1/2" wide strips, so my first step was to sew one light strip and one dark strip together.

I always press as I go, which is really needed because you have to line the ruler up on the seam line.
After the ruler was in position on top of the fabric, all I had to do was cut along the wedges. See those little round sections on the ruler? They make it possible to cut past the end of the triangles. This is also a non-skid ruler, which really works! Once I figured out how everything was supposed to line up, I spent an hour or so just cutting triangles.
In order for my pattern to assemble correctly, I needed to cut half of my strips on the front side of the fabric and the other half of the strips on the back side. That allows me to have dark and light triangles for opposing sides of each square-in-a-block. (I tried to lay the block out so that you can see the half square triangles and how they assemble into each block.) After I figured out that I needed to do this, the hardest part was lining up the dotted line with the stitching line between the strips. (I'm kidding. That really wasn't hard at all!)

After I had an assortment of triangles cut, I could play around with arranging the fabrics. That's always a fun part. I just had to try it with the first few strips as soon as I'd cut them.
So, then, I finished cutting all the strips and arranged them according to light or dark - the value of the fabric at the top of each two-strip triangle - and whether they point left or point right.
Here's the first block for the quilt - all sewn together and pressed. It will measure 8" square when it's sewn into the quilt. One down...I'm not sure how many more to go.
This gives you a pretty good idea what the quilt might look like. I haven't sewn blocks together yet, so I'll still be rearranging a bit. I've made nineteen random blocks so far out of one jelly roll. Of course, I'll keep taking more pictures and will share them with you.

As I'm sewing this quilt and then looking back at the completed blocks, I'm really glad that I chose this fabric line. The colors remind me of the grey clapboard siding on the exteriors of the Nantucket homes, the blue of the water, the tans of the sand dunes and the earthy cobblestones. I think it's working out to be the perfect choice for the quilt I'm creating for our Island hostess. What do you think?

October 21, 2010

Fezzik Friday - 19 Weeks...

"Well, I've had a whole week to think about what I want to be when I grow up. Mom told me that I come from a "herding heritage". I'm not sure what that means, so I'm not sure if I'm up to it."
"Hey! Has anyone seen Kes?"
"She was here just a minute ago."
"Hang on. I think I just "herd" something!"
"Yup, I sure did! Better get a move on!"
"Hey, Kessie. Where were you? Are you ok?"
"Yes, Fez. I'm fine. Just had a little personal business to attend to."
"What? You're surprised? I knew she was around here somewhere. I wish I knew what Mom meant about this "herding" thing!"

"Speaking of Mom...She asked me to tell you that she was busy in the studio yesterday (and will be again today) and that she's making a lot of quilt blocks. She's promised to show them to you tomorrow.

She also added two new videos of Dad playing the drums (on the right sidebar under this picture). I listened to them this afternoon, and they're really fun! All you have to do is click on the title and it will go right to each of the YouTube videos."