February 28, 2013

Happy March, Everybody...

 I'll be spending the day in the studio working on a few things I'd like to
finish today. I don't like having UFOs and I have more than a few right now.
  I'll also be reflecting on my deep "attitude of gratitude".
I searched the internet yesterday for images that show how I'm feeling.
 Images exemplifying love, protection and contentment.
 I hope you take just a minute to reflect on the gifts in your life,
and perhaps think of something you're grateful for today.
Gratitude for friendships that nurture...
 The children who bring joy into your life... or
 those whose lives you enrich simply by being in theirs.
 My class was just great yesterday. We got a good start on
"Over The River" and everyone went home with assignments to
finish over the next month when we'll meet again for more.

Handsome's foot is doing much better than we expected. He said
it hardly hurts at all! (I'm so glad.) Thank you to everyone who sent
a note for his quick healing. I'll be busy today, but I'll be back tomorrow
with something new and creative to share with you. Happy March, everybody!

February 27, 2013

Class Day...

Today is class day in Venice.
I have the sample border completed. It will become a border in my own
quilt, but I want to be able to give the students an idea of how the block
will look for them. I created the paper foundation for it, just in case they
don't want to use the traditional piecing method (which I think I prefer).

My class outline is complete, so they'll know what to expect for the day.
I took the pattern page for the stitchery, and after I pre-shrunk the
muslin for backing the design, I traced it onto the panel fabric.
When I had my needlework shop, I used to sell Tomorrow's Treasures 
scroll frames. I have an entire set, and they are still my favorite frame
for stabilizing my stitching. Now they're manufactured by American Dream,
and I'm so glad that they're still available! (If you're interested in some for
yourself, here's the link. No. I'm not compensated for any endorsements. I 
 just like share my finds with you when I have or use something I really like.)

I'll start working on this as I teach the stitches called for in the pattern.
That ball of pink perle cotton you're seeing was just used to baste the main
panel fabric to the muslin for just a little more stability. I probably wouldn't
have added the extra fabric for my quilt, but the students are new to this
needlework technique, and the second layer of fabric will help to hide any
carried stitches. They're using black, dark gray or brown threads and any
thread jumps would definitely show through the light-colored panel fabric.

So, I'll be gone all day. Handsome usually has a morning rehearsal, but he
dropped a cymbal on his foot last night and we don't think he'd be comfortable
in a shoe, or making the ankle motions he'd need to make to play. His swollen
foot feels better with ice, so I suspect he'll be most comfortable with his foot up 
while he reads a good book. That also means Tag can stay home while I'm away.

Have a great day, my friends. It's almost the weekend - and the start of another 
month already. Where does the time go? It seems I just get used to writing 
"February", when "March" comes butting right in! So much to do...

February 26, 2013

Class Prep...

Crab•apple Hill "Over The River And Through The Woods"
 Today, I'll be preparing for the class I'll be teaching tomorrow. I'll be at 
Crazy Quilters in Venice, Florida. I needed to choose my fabrics (done), 
make the first block (pending), set up the embroidery to teach (pending), 
and finalize my class outline (almost).  This will be Session One of Four.
 The pattern calls for six light-value fabrics (loving these)...
 Six fabrics of medium value (ahhhhh, yes)...
 and six dark-value fabrics. (For some reason these photographed 
looking gray when they're actually all very black backgrounds.)
"Luuukkke. Come to the Dark Side."
(Did I just do that? laughing!!)

One of the things that I think is cool is that, when I shopped my stash,
I found a black with a leaf/bird combination pattern (second from the
bottom of this stack), and then I found the same fabric in an ivory 
(bottom of the stack in the "lights" photograph). I am tickled!!!

I'll be cutting, writing, making foundations for paper piecing and looking
forward to teaching my first session tomorrow. This is going to be one cool quilt!

February 25, 2013

Tuesdays With Tag - Learnin' Is Fun...

 Hi, Everybody!
Remember when I told you about learnin' my trick so I could go for rides 
with Mom or Dad? You know. The one where I go and retrieve my collar
and give it to somebody to put on me before we head out in the truck?

Well, before I tell you what's next, I have to tell you that I'm so smart that
last Saturday I really showed 'em! Mom got ready to go to Coffee Club and
I always get to go along for that. Not last Saturday, though. Mom came over
to me and chirped somethin' about how I had to stay behind 'cuz she was gonna
go to a quilt show after coffee. She said it would be too long for me to be in
 her SUV in warm weather. I was not happy! I expect to ride along every time.

After she left, I figured out that Dad was gettin' ready to leave, too. 
"Hey, Dad! You're forgettin' the corgi!!!"
He wasn't payin' attention, so I decided to be a little more obvious.
I ran and grabbed my collar (without bein' told to) and took it to Dad.
He laughed out loud, but apologized that he couldn't take me either.
I got an extra treat when he put me in my kennel, but I was peeved!

When Mom and Dad both came back home, they let me out of my kennel
and gave me lots of attention. When Dad told Mom my story, she almost
didn't believe him. What the heck? They know I'm a smart boy!
(Mom said somethin' about me bein' "big for my britches".)

Mom said she'd teach me a new trick this week and we've already started
workin' on it. She said this is "buildin' on the last trick" she taught me.
 I can tell time. I know when it's 8 o'clock in the mornin', and I'm
accurate within five minutes of 5 o'clock in the evenin'. That's 
when I sit in front of Mom or Dad and remind them that it's time to
feed this growin' lad. Mom thought that it might be a good trick if
I would just show up with my dish to let her know it's feedin' time.
 So, Mom grabbed my lightweight travel dish (instead of my fancy
pottery dish), and set out to teach me the finer points of pickin' up
and deliverin' my dish. I'm not gonna give away any trade secrets,
but let's just say there were treats involved! I don't know why this 
is such a big deal. I figured this one out pretty quick.
 Now, she's got me fetchin' my dish and when I bring it to her, I
get a little treat. I'm pretty sure that by the end of the week, I'll
be grabbin' my dish and lettin' Mom know when it's 5 o'clock!
You know she'll tell you all about it, right?

8 am UPDATE: By breakfast this morning, Tag had this trick down.
We followed our usual routine...I always take him outside and then when
 we come back inside I give him his breakfast. Today, I brought
him back into the house and said, "Tag. Do you want your breakfast?
Go get your dish." I headed to where we keep his food and he went
into the kitchen. I heard him pick up the dish from his feeding spot, then 
he came trotting around the corner with his dish in his mouth and gave 
it to me. I told him what a good boy he is as I filled his dish and fed him.
Did I tell you that I giggled with mirth the entire time? Yessir!
That didn't take long. What am I going to teach him next?

I'm gonna see if I can score some more snacks.
Just goes to show that "Learnin' is fun!"
I'll be back next week. 'til then...
"More Waggin' and Less Barkin'!"

February 24, 2013

Incredible Quilts...

"Across The Spectrum" - pieced - Carol Niemann
 I attended the Peace River Quilt Guild quilt show over the weekend.
It was a true treat for the senses...so many incredible quilts...so much
quilting talent! I took many more photographs than I'll share here,
but I had to choose a few to give you an idea of what captivated me
for more than a few hours. You may notice that I took more pictures
of applique' quilts than anything else. What really impressed me was
the sheer number of applique' quilts that were hand quilted
Truly breathtaking!

I'll stop talking and just give you captions from here on...
"Classic Baltimore" - applique' - MaryAnn Jacobs
"Autumn Beauty" - pieced and applique' - Carolyn Freeman
"My Whimsical Quilt Garden" - applique' - Connie Johnson
"Round Robin" - pieced and applique' - JoAnn Burtscher
"Round Robin" Closeup
"Fun with Beads and Quilting" - quilted garment - Sharleen Nichols
"Wickersham Revisited" - applique' - Rebecca Marsteller
"Wickersham Revisited" Closeup
"Zinnia Basket" (partial) - pieced and applique' - Carol Niemann
"Zinnia Basket" Closeup - Machine Quilting by Susan Slaton
Didn't they just take your breath away? I know!!
You can click on any of these images if you'd like a closer look.

Congratulations to the Peace River Quilt Guild for hosting an 
incredible show. Every single piece was a feast for the eyes.
I left truly inspired - and I know I wasn't the only one.

February 23, 2013

Sunday Scripture...

Image from The Expositor

February 22, 2013

Coffee And A Quilt Show...

 I'm still working on table runners, but want to share a little peek with you.
Today, I'll start the day with my beautiful girlfriends in the Coffee Club...
 followed by a short jaunt to Punta Gorda (FL) to the
Peace River Quilt Guild quilt show. I'm looking forward to
seeing the quilts and projects that their guild has been creating.
(Don't tell, but I might check out a vendor or two, as well.)

I don't mean to rub it in, but the weather is in the high 70's, 
sunny (of course! We're the Sunshine State!) and breezy. It's
my idea of perfect weather. If you're facing more snow (and you don't
like it), I can empathize with you. It's what drove us out of Wisconsin.
I'll be thinking about you today. Really, I will.

February 21, 2013

Catching Up...

 Today, I'll be working on the gifts from my giveaway.
 I'm making two table runners and a tote.
 Don't these fabrics, paired with Michelle's sweet little birds, make you smile?
I'll take pictures of everything before I send them out so you can see.
I'm also going to make more table runners over the weekend for the Boutique.
Are you planning something creative today?

February 20, 2013

Perfect For The Wanderlust...

I wanted to share a photo of my new quilt installed in the Flying Cloud.
The color scheme fits perfectly with the upholstery on the cushions.
 In case you're interested, I used the small polka dots fabric from Deb Strain's 
Cherish Nature line for the curves. The balance of the fabrics (including the 
coffee cup fabric) were from Deb Strain's Bistro line from Moda. These lines
are at least four years old, and were favorites from my fabric stash. 

 I finished "Coffee Drunk"!
I really didn't want another UFO sitting in the studio. I wanted to
finish it in time for our Tuesday evening guild meeting, and I got
close. The only thing that wasn't done was applying the binding.
quilt front
 I took photos prior to the binding going on (it matches
the sashing between the blocks), because I wanted you
to be able to see how "drunk" the pattern looks! lol
Quilt back
 The really cool thing about this quilt is that you can only 
control the design on the front. The back becomes completely
random, but it doesn't look that way on mine (too much).

Handsome really likes this one. He said that we should use it
as a really cool table quilt in the Flying Cloud. Brilliant idea!
It will fit right in with our decor in the camper, and it's a perfect
use for my completed class quilt. I'll update this post later today
by taking a picture of the quilt installed in the Airstream.

Now to tackle the next project calling to me...