Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2013

Life is a festival only to the wise. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson


After debating for far too long I finally came to a decision on what to share in the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Looking back over the year so far I realized that my only finishes have been for other people, charity and blog hops.  This being true I am reaching back into my past and sharing a couple of oldies but goodies.  

This first quilt is a Strip Pieced Colorwash Wall Quilt which I am entering in the Scrappy Quilts Category.  I made the top as a sample for the technique when I was teaching the class.  A few years later the guild I was in had a challenge of depicting a song in a quilt.  I was stumped for months and then looking through my UFOs I decided that this top looked like a garden after a rainstorm when the sun breaks through the clouds.

Out Came the Sun

I added an appliqued water faucet and some flowers cut out of various prints.  I quilted the rain with a sparkly thread and couched down some heavier metallic thread to make a spider web under the water spout.

Close up of Water Faucet

Even closer look at the Spider Web

Can you find the Spider? 
Did you guess the song yet?  If you are thinking the little nursery rhyme ditty "Itsy Bitsy Spider" you are right.  Sorry if it gets stuck in your head for the day.

The second quilt I selected is a cotton crazy pieced one.  I am entering this quilt in the Bed Quilt Category. I used the book Crazy with Cotton by Diana Leone for my inspiration on this one.  I also taught classes on it.  The blocks are crazy pieced but there is no embellishment.  The inspiration was the wonderful Alexander Henry cat print I used in the border.  The blocks are primarily filled with cat and bird prints.  There is one tone on tone dog print used (because dogs are just a minor note in a cat quilt).  It was a lot of fun to make.  I don't usually do such large borders but I wanted the cats to be the focus of the quilt and they were just to wonderful to cut up any smaller.

Who Ate the Canary?

Great cat print! 

Backing Fabric

The blocks are bordered with this delightful black and cream checkerboard print.  I used it for the binding also.  The sashing is a gray feather print.  That gave me the name for the piece.  With so many smug looking cats someone had to be up to some mischief.  The quilting is a large meander done with a primary colored variegated thread to look like yarn.

I hope you enjoy my entries in the Blogger's Quilt Festival and will check out and vote for your favorites!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cause and Effect

Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all. 
Norman Vincent Peale

Well, are you ready to see my new toy work horse?  I've spent a lot of time in the studio taking turns at running the longarm and cleaning and organizing.  All the effort is now starting to show up.  I have one large quilt off the longarm and another ready to quilt.  The sewing machine area of the studio is clean and in better order than it has been for a long time.  It's still not a showcase because I use a lot of recycled items for new purposes but it is very functional.

I really love the bright LED lights on the new machine!  They can be this bright or dimmed.
There is 11.25" of room between the needle and the side of the machine.  Even with the longarm there are still some things I like to quilt with the walking foot.  I haven't tried the snazzy one that came with the machine yet but it is adjustable.

Here are my three sergers.  I didn't have a machine on this table before.  I haven't used the two on the left in over ten years so I took them out, cleaned them up and ran them a little. They are working fine but the one on the left needs some adjustment made to the cutting blade.  I haven't figured it out yet but I will.  I'm thinking of putting one in the longarm room since I frequently serge the edges of the quilts before I load them.  Then I'm thinking of setting the other two up for different stitches so they will be ready to use for different things. I usually serge the edges of new fabrics before I wash them.  A three thread stitch works fine for that.  Four thread stitching is what is used for garment construction although I've used it for more pillowcases than clothes in the last few years.

I moved the Janome 6600 to the desk I had been using for the serger.  I managed to fill up the rolling cart on the right with projects that were in the area.  I'd love to get some of these finished soon.  Several of them are leader and ender projects and several others were 'discovered' in the cabinet over the desk.  I cleared out the right side of it to hold embroidery supplies so they would be handy.

I also hung up a paper towel holder that I had bought last year.  I had a hard time deciding where to put it.  I always keep paper towels handy in the sewing and longarm rooms.  I use them for cleaning and many other things.

I found a home under the desk for the rolling case that the machine will travel in, if I take it anywhere.  The plastic drawers had been where the rolling cart is now.  The big thick book to the right of the machine is the instruction manual.  I'm only about 40 pages into it so far which got the bobbing wound and the machine threaded.  The automatic needle threader is so cool!

This desk was a Goodwill find for $25 a few years ago.  It is formica covered particle board and weights a ton!!  The men in the family had more than a few choice words to say while moving it.  After living with it for a while I decided the gray was depressing and bland so I grabbed the colorful letters and have fun 'writing' messages to myself.  I am in touch with my inner child as you can see.  Hee-hee!!  I added the mirrored circles to reflect some light in the dark overhang too.

The four sewing machine cabinet drawers I found antiquing in the mountains and they had been sitting on the floor collecting dust for over a year.  I cleaned them up and put them to use holding some of my decorative threads.

The Quilting Lines sign once hung at the entrance to my quilt shop.  The shelves to the left hold a few projects but most of the recycled meat containers hold scraps sorted by color. The brown bag on the left holds the embroidery unit for the machine.

The top of the desk holds some of my collectibles and antiques.  I'll have to share them another day.

Another cool feature on the new machine is the laser positioning guide.  You can use it to line up the sewing line or move it around to line up with the edge of your fabric.  There is also a laser point at the needle for lining up embroidery. 

To prove how many hours I've put into my quilting and organizing I tell you what I listened to while I was working.  Inheritance by Christopher Paolini  is the fourth book in the Inheritance Cycke that started with Eragon.  The audio book was 24 discs long.  If you are a J.R.R. Tolkien fan you will enjoy this series.  The series got deeper and more complex as it went along.  Nothing like a good story with dragons and elves.

That's what I've been up to.  I have a few shots of the quilting I did but I'll share those in another post.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Creating Order

For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned. 

Sometimes I just have to be stern with myself in order to get things done.  I have been working on several things and I really need to get them finished so that I can do a number of other projects.  One of the things has been getting a large quilt entirely free motion quilted and I will be taking it off the machine this afternoon.  Yeah!!!  Next I need to get it bound and a sleeve added for hanging added.  It's not mine but I have to get it finished so I can get some others quilted.

The other thing I have been working on is re-configuring my sewing studio.  Since I was adding an embroidery machine things had to be shifted and moved.  In order to do that MANY things had to be put away, moved and sorted.  Then there was that cleaning thing that had to happen too.  Progress has been made and today I will turn on my new machine for the first time AFTER the quilt is off the long arm.  I made myself a reward system so that I would GET IT DONE.

There are NO before pictures (that would be showing you my dark side, just imagine the biggest mess you've ever had in your sewing space). I will take some after pictures and share them soon.  I can't wait to learn how to use my new machine.  I need to find time to take a class or two for sure which will mean driving to the other side of Atlanta and take the whole day to get there and back.

My life hasn't been all work and no play.  We attended my grandson's Christening.  He wore the gown I made for my youngest son 27 years ago.  Would you like to see a post about it?

I've been reading my way through The Mortal Instruments series.  I've finished the first four and am about to start the fifth.  If you are a Twilight fan you would enjoy these.  I had not heard of them until the first movie City of Bones came out this summer. I put them on hold at the library and have been going through them like candy.  I am a fast reader but I usually don't do it during the afternoon.  That's my studio time.

Now to share a little eye candy.  I bought a little thread at the quilt show last month.  Most of it is YLI which I love to use.

How do you make yourself finish projects that you have been procrastinating about?  Do you have a reward method or are you just able to finish them as they come to the top of your 'to do' list?  What's your secret for getting things done?

Linking with:  Really Random Thursday

Friday, October 4, 2013

Enjoying the Present

Every year on your birthday, you get a chance to start new.
Sammy Hagar

happy birthday photo: HAPPY BIRTHDAY happy_birthday_zpsb7b0951d.jpg

Today is my birthday.  The last one I'll have in my fifties and that number sounds kind of old!  My husband and I were talking a few days ago about the fact that we have lived in this house for 13 years now and is doesn't seem like it could possibly be that long.  We lived in our previous house for 19 years and that had seemed like such a long time.  The way the years are zipping by we will catch up to that number here shortly.  Time just goes by faster and faster as we age.  
I decided a few years ago that the only time that passes slowly is the last weeks of pregnancy (when I was sure I was going to be pregnant forever) and the hours that you have to wait to hear what the Doctor has to say about test results.  It's not possible for me to repeat the former but it seems that the older you get the more of those darn Doctors you have to see and more often too!  DH is in the middle of going to this one for that and that one for the other etc.  The consensus is that yes, you have this issue and that pain and that's what happens as you get older so you get to live with it and there might be a little pill that will help a little now or later but the problem isn't going away.  Isn't it nice to have something to look forward to?

dreams photo: dreams dreams.jpg

Yes, there is a point to this depressing diatribe.  I have always been a dreamer.  I've often dreamed of doing this and having that and being able to do this and go there.  There always seemed to be multiple reasons for me not to be able to do the things I dreamed of doing. Sound familiar?  Well I am going to DO IT!  Do What?  I'm going to try to squeeze as much FUN and CREATIVITY and JOY and LIFE as I can into each day from now on.  This will require some effort on my part.  Some of the things I want to do I need to get into better shape to be able to do.  Most of the things I want to do require more time commitments on my part and good planning.  I'll be sharing more later.  I need to make a few lists.

birthday cake photo: Birthday Cake birthday_cake.gif

Back to my Birthday.  My oldest daughter took me out to lunch today and I will be leaving shortly for dinner out with my husband, my youngest son, my daughter and her husband. It's been a good day!  Can you tell I gave up cooking on my birthday?  I seem to recall baking my own Birthday Cake back in my 30s and then looking around at my family members and announcing that since there were several others present who knew how to cook (because I had taught them) that I wouldn't be baking any more cakes for my own Birthday.  Now I don't cook my own dinner either.  Sometimes you just have to draw a line in the sand.  LOL 

Presents... so far my DH gave me a bag of dark chocolate with nuts, yum and a card with a promise to buy me something when I decide what I want.  I did buy myself a little something at the Quilt Show.  I haven't opened it yet because I have to rearrange things to make room for it.

I've been wanting an embroidery machine for a while but I was waiting until they evolved a bit more.  The ones I used to sell when I had my shop were the first or second generation. Things have changed for the better!  I was going to get just an embroidery machine but the specials on this one made it worth the difference.  I'll have more details on what it can do when I get it up and running.  If you can't wait to know more look here.  That makes another 'dream come true' this year.  The first of course was my Innova.  I think I'm done buying sewing machines for quite a while.  Now I'm just going to ENJOY learning how to use them and make a lot of things with them!

I've been wanting to start a regular linky party for a while.  What do you think about one that would be for sharing the CREATIVITY and JOY and FUN you find in daily life?  Got any ideas for a good name for it?  Something with 'LINES' in it would be nice of course.  Leave a comment about what I've had to say today along with a name suggestion.  If I go with one of the suggestions the Comment Maker will get a gift.  Right now I do not have one in mind.

Linking with:  Live a Colorful Life

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Favorite Quilt

Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise. 
George Washington Carver

Oak at Sunrise

Just a quick post to share my Favorite Quilt with you.  I came across a link to a 'new to me' quilting blog a few days ago.  She is having a linky for Favorite Quilts.  She obviously is not a new blogger because she has a ton of followers.  You want to see some of the great eye candy that is being shared this week just follow this link to Molly Flanders.

If you have been reading my blog for a while you have seen this one.  I entered it in the Bloggers Quilt Festival last year and you can read about it here.   There are some close up shots that show the colors better in that post too.  It even made it to the voting stage but didn't win 1st place.

It's time to be thinking about what I'd like to share in the next Blogger's Quilt Festival.  I'm sure it will be going up in a few weeks.  You should share something there too!  In the meantime enjoy the quilt eye candy!

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