Showing posts from 2009

Happy New Year

Thank you to all my readers for the time you've taken to read my blog this past year. I appreciate the comments that you have posted and love reading your blogs in return.

This past year has been a mix of successes and struggles - some have been resolved and some have not. That's the way life is I suppose.

My family is healthy and happy. My friends are a blessing, and my customers are much appreciated. I learn so much from everyone in my life.

I've had the opportunity to branch out in my quilting and use it to help others such as AAQI, American Vets, Foster Children, cancer patients, and orphans around the world. I've been honored to receive a ribbon in a nation quilt show, and have met many new quilting friends from all across the globe.

I've learned new quilting techniques, new types of embellishments and surface designs, and hope to continue this into 2010. And I've been able to upgrade my quilting machine.

Many blessings have been bestowed upon me in 2009.…

Saturday Sampler Blocks

As I have mentioned previously, I have signed up for the Saturday Sampler at the local quilt shop. The block above is the December block.

This sampler is so popular that Linda, the quilt shop owner, decided to order another colorway for this sampler - "Black and Brights". I decided to sign up for that one, also.

This is the December block for the Black and Brights sampler. I measured incorrectly on the background fabrics and cut one strip too narrow. So I pieced it to make the corner squares. I can get extra fabric from the quilt shop to fix this, but I thought I'd go ahead and finish the block and pick up the fabric on the next Saturday Sampler meeting in January.

Red and White

Two color quilts are always striking in my opinion. There is something about the contrast of the 2 colors working within the design that draws me.

This quilt is a red and white quilt - perfect for Christmas or Valentines day. There are 2 star blocks set on point, side-by-side.

Some line-dancing in the stars along with some feathers to accent the motion of the quilt.

Since I used white thread throughout the quilt, I chose a feather that didn't need much backtracking.

Christmas Time

This was my big project for the day. DD's were complaining that they couldn't get into the Christmas mood when the house wasn't decorated for Christmas yet, so I drug out all the boxes and got busy. Problem is that I haven't been in a Christmas mood yet myself. There have been too many other obligations and stresses going on lately that have overshadowed Christmas preparations. But I'm on a roll now!

I found a string of lights to illuminate my plaster Christmas train at last! I painted this set way back in the early 90's but never found the right kind of lights for it. Today I found them at JoAnn's for 60% off! I bought 2 sets - one for the train and one for my Christmas village.

I have yet to start shopping for presents. I'll be busy next week!

One more quilt to finish this week also. I think I've worked out the issue that was challenging me with that one, and hope to get it done early in the week.

Small Projects

This is another small project I started over Thanksgiving weekend. I liked the coneflower quilt I started for AAQI so much that I decided to take the same idea and make it into a set of 4 placemats for a Christmas gift, although this is a single piece background.

The thread painting is done on the lilly for the AAQI quilt. I have yet to get it quilted as other priorities came up and changed my plans. I hope to get the quilting done later this week. I have a customer quilt that I need to complete first.

No thread painting on the coneflower quilt - so far. I'm still pondering that idea. I'm leaning more towards using markers first, then adding thread painting. The markers will work as some guidelines for me for the thread painting.

Both quilts will have some beading added after the quilting is done.

Christmas Postcards

The theme for the postcard exchange on Valerie Hearder's Yahoo Groups is "Christmas". We decided that the postcards didn't have to be a landscape this time around. Cardinals always remind me of Christmas.

AAQI Quilts

These are 2 small applique quilts I am working on for AAQI. They are fused applique and right now that is as far as I have gotten with them. I still need to do some thread painting on both as well as quilting and some hand beading. The butterfly quilt needs a stem on the flower - I forgot that! That's what happens when I work when I'm tired. I'll have to sneak that stem in there some where, and maybe add a leaf or two.

Block of the Month

I joined the Saturday Sampler at my local quilt shop for the first time. I've always lived too far away from the LQS to join until now. This is the November block.

Quilting sampler quilts is always interesting. I like to quilt something different in each block so they take more time to do, but I love the result. I have a sampler on the machine right now that I've been working on for almost 2 weeks. Of course I can only quilt part-time since I homeschool my girls, so you have to take that into consideration. The quilt is nearly done, though


I finally decided to make a pieced background for the lilly appliques since I didn't have enough of any one fabric to use for this "trial-run". It needs more work, but this is a practice piece so I can have fun and play around with it without any pressure.

Fabric Dyeing Experiment

Sunday afternoon I decided to try dyeing a piece of white cotton to another option for the lilly quilt. I use Procion MX dyes and sometimes Rit dyes for fabric, but I didn't have orange or red & yellow to make orange of either of these dyes. My solution was to use my Setacolor fabric paints.

I mixed up the red and yellow to make a medium orange, then thinned it with water and painted it onto the wet fabric with a 2" sponge brush. My piece of fabric is 36" x 60" and I had to really spread that paint out to cover the entire piece. The color was too light so I mixed up more paint in a larger quantity and added more red, then painted it on over top the lighter orange. Yes, I now need to purchase more red and yellow paint!

Since I wanted a textured look, I bunched up the fabric and let it dry on my work surface which is a piece of cardboard covered with heavy plastic. The next morning the fabric was mostly dry so I took the entire piece of cardboard outside and let the…

Auditioning Background Fabrics

I'm working on a new quilt and making a test-run of fabric colors. This will also be a test-run to see where I need to tweek the design to get the shading right. The final quilt will have different fabrics in it, but with similar colors. I don't have enough of those fabrics to make 2 quilts, so I'm making due with other fabrics. This test-quilt is also 50% smaller than the final quilt will be.

Last night I finished making the lilly appliques and can see where I need to make changes to get the shading to look better. I'm also auditioning backgrounds to see where I need to go.

This is my first choice of background fabrics. I think the complementary orange color works well, and there is enough texture in it to make it interesting. Unfortunately, I only have a fat quarter of this fabric so I would need to locate more or a similar fabric in yardage. That is the problem with all the fabrics I auditioned.

This is a commercial solid. I think it's too flat and needs some textu…

Color Play

While on vacation at the beach last month, DD's and I did some painting with water colors one rainy day. These photos are some of what I painted. They are lessons out of "Color and Composition" by Katie Pasquini Masopust & Brett Barker. It was an exercise in non-representational design using a triadic color scheme.

I made 3 paintings using a different triadic color scheme in each one.

Of course, these exercises were to be done with fabric, but I didn't have any with me. Watercolors was the best option at the time. I didn't take a lot of time with these either, so they are pretty loose. It did give me a chance to try out different color schemes than what I tend to use, and it was a quick project. Just right for a rainy day.

Machine Embroidery

Isn't this gorgeous! This is a machine embroidered customer quilt that I finished on Saturday. I can only imagine the number of hours the customer put into creating this quilt top. It just blows me away!

Quilter's Tools & My History of Quilting

These are my new PrismaColor colored pencils. I decided to add to my collection and purchased an array of purples, 2 greens, a light blue, and a yellow ochre. I'm going to continue to work on the flower sampler from earlier this week.

This purchase got me to thinking about the tools quilters use now-a-days as opposed to what my grandmother used. The tools we have access to as quilters today are endless. I think about how my Grandmother quilted with just a needle, thimble, thread and a wooden quilt frame, and using pieces of cardboard for templates and a pencil for tracing them as well as marking quilting lines on the pieced top. Wait! That's how I started out quilting!

My paternal grandmother was the only other quilting family member that I knew of when I started quilting, and she died when I was 2 years old. I learned to quilt from the descriptions in the "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My first quilt was made from embroidered blocks - the kind you coul…

Coloring on Fabric

Last week I bought 2 sets of fabric markers and finally got around to trying them out yesterday. I pulled out a Dover copyright-free coloring book and traced the pages onto a piece of white muslin with the black marker. 

These are "FabricMate" markers and they work well putting down the color without bleeding. They dry fast which is good to prevent smearing.

This flower was done primarily with the FabricMate markers. It gives a different look than what I was looking for, but I still like it. It's a bit more of an animated look. I added a bit of "Pentel Fabric Dye Sticks" for the yellow and some of the green. I bought these a year or so ago but haven't used them much.

I reverted back to Prismacolor colored pencils for the most part. The Morning Glory and the Hibiscus both have marker for the dark blue and dark red, then are blended with colored pencil. I liked that look. The other flowers are all colored pencil - Prismacolor, Crayola, and RoseArt pencils.

I ha…

My First Quilting With the Retro-Fit

Here is a photo of the first quilting I did with my newly retro-fitted Gammill Classic Plus. I put some muslin on the machine and drew some borders and blocks with a water soluble pen. Once I started quilting I realized that the verticle and horizontal channel locks would do a much better job at quilting straight, parallel lines than what I could do with a ruler and pen. So, away I went!

The feathers quilted up smoothly, too. It is so much easier to backtrack now that I can slow down in those places. I still need practice to get used to the way this machine quilts and moves, though.

Part of the retro-fit package included the Easy Glider wheels and 4 of the new beveled wheels. They are great and quilting is much smoother on the diagonal now. The machine goes where I want it to go and I don't have to get a strangle hold on the handles to keep the machine going on the diagonal. I had the older wheels with the white writing on the sides of them and had been contemplating switching to th…

AAQI Quilts Sold!

"Autumn Sunset" sold at Houston for AAQI for $94.79! I'm thrilled!

"Vermillion Cliffs" also sold at Houston, but the selling price isn't listed yet. With the number of quilts they sold, it will take time to update their website.

AAQI reports that 969 quilts (more or less) sold at Houston. This is such a great cause to be involved in. Consider making and donating a small art quilt to Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative to help raise funds for Alzheimer's research.

Congratulations to Ami Simms and everyone at AAQI for a job well done!

On the Way Home

Our last day at the beach was overcast with a few quick sprinkles. We spent as much time at the beach as we could, building sand castles, swimming, and beach combing.

These are my last photos of Dauphin Island - for now. I'm sure we'll be back again some time. We're half way home and trying to adjust to views without the ocean right outside our window.

Tomorrow we'll make a stop in West Plains, Missouri to pick up my newly retro-fitted Gammill Classic Plus! I'm also going to purchase the newer "Easy Glider" wheels and an open toe foot as well as a few spare parts for the machine.

I have ideas for new quilts swirling around in my head and am anxious to get started on designing them. I need to try out a few of my ideas in small quilts before committing to a larger quilt. I want to enter a few quilts in MQS again this year, so I need to get started so I can work on them between customer quilts.

The girls are looking forward to seeing their pets again. We had a …

USS Alabama

With the end of our vacation coming up quickly, we decided we had better make a trip to Mobile to see the USS Alabama since the weather was cooperating yesterday. The weather has been rainy so much of the time that we never know when we'll get drenched.

DH has been to the USS Alabama a couple of times, but the girls and I have never seen it. It was quite impressive in size as well as how they are able to put an entire city in one of these ships. They have everything from a laundry, to a barber shop, to a butcher shop inside that ship.

Several fighter planes are are the park grounds. I liked the painting on this one.

I was surprised to see the wood deck.

A view of Mobile's skyline from the gang plank.

One last shot of the ocean before we leave.

We'll be heading home in the morning. I think I could get used to living here permanently - if that were ever an option!

At least I'll have my newly retro-fitted Gammill Classic Plus to play with when I get home. I'm really looking…

Walking on the Beach

Yesterday morning we started out for a walk along the beach, heading towards the west end of the island. This is the end that received the most damage from Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. There are still many vacant lots on the Gulf side of the west end of the island as this photo shows. These houses are on the bay side (north side) of the island. I took this photo from the Gulf side across the vacant lots, across the Bieneville Ave., and to the houses on the Bay side of the island.

Here are some of the shells that we picked up yesterday on our beach combing excursions.

Last evening while we were swimming, a lot of seaweed washed up to shore. It was all along the beach. It made us wonder what had torn up the seabed. We haven't been out yet today, but it will be interesting to see if it was washed back to sea with the high tide, or if there is more. We had a thunderstorm after dark last night and today it is cloudy and looks like it will start raining again any minute.

Here is a close…

Quilting at the Beach

I woke up early this morning to this sunrise! It is really warm and humid out this morning and I had trouble with humidity collecting on my camera lense so the photo is a bit blurry. The beach house we are staying in is the 2nd one from the beach-front. This shot was taken between 2 beach-front properties.

I also took this shot this morning - at 6am - from the deck. The brown sand is the driveway of the house next to us - the beach-front house. We have just a short walk to the beach from here.

Here is another grainy shot taken yesterday at the beach - one of the shore birds looking for his breakfast.

DD#2 and I spent most of the day at the beach. It was cool yesterday with low humidity. In the morning the water was warmer than the air temperature, and once you got out of the water it felt cold! It was actually in the upper 70's. In the afternoon, the air temps shot up to 87 so it was a lot more comfortable to swim. The air temp this morning is already 82, and it is humid! Looks like …