Friday, July 30, 2010

Separation Anxiety...

We're going to be traveling to Maine this weekend. I experience the usual pre-travel nervousness (what could I be forgetting?) and listmaking. But added to that, for some reason, I find it difficult to leave my sewing room. Of course it's hard to leave our animals as well. But we have an excellent caretaker here with them. But the sewing room...I look at all the projects I'm in the midst of, and consider all the progress I won't be making on them while I'm gone. Funny, but it doesn't bother me to have unfinished projects galore when I'm at home... just when I'm leaving. Go figure. It must be separation anxiety from my sewing room!

Shown above are just a few projects that are underway. There's a project from the book Quilted Symphony, a fabric art notebook cover, the Whirligig quilt, and a redwork holiday quilt.

My second issue is coming up with a handwork project to take with me, just so I'll feel the satisfaction of moving something along toward completion. I have one of those nifty Clover Thread Cutter Pendants that are so handy for air travel. However, I am a great under-estimator when it comes to deciding what I might actually work on away from home. But this redwork project looks like it fills the bill. It's a pattern by Crab-Apple Hill. This is one of three panels to embroider and incorporate into a quilt. This first panel is close to done. Just these branches and trees left to go. I think I can get this last bit done this week. Yes, I'm sure of it. I'll let you know.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer Stitching...

Our small local sewing circle in Citra made a new plan for the summer. We extended our meeting time by a couple of hours, bring our lunches, and happily sew on our various projects for much of the day. The gatherings have been well attended, and the additional time means that more of us bring our machines. Now we get to see different projects our fellow stitchers are working on, since we usually bring handwork for our shorter time together. Here's a sampling of the projects from this week's session. We get a lot of work done, and have fun doing it.

Nora's cute rooster pinushion sits on top of her collection of beautiful batiks, above.

I'm working on an Eleanor Burns pattern, Whirligig, above, which combines a Jelly Roll of 2 1/2" strips with strips cut from a single light fabric.

And Karen is working on an Eleanor Burns pattern also, top left. It's from her book titled Still Stripping. Gwen is piecing strata, above right, using all her scraps and small pieces of novelty prints. She'll make quilts to donate to a charity project for kids. Prairie Point Pinecones by Penny are shown at left. (I love alliteration). And Laura knit warm and hands-free toppers for her daughters-in-law, which Gwen models. It's going to be a creative and productive summer!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Heartfelt Patriotic Challenge Quilts...

Our local quilt guild recently held the reveal of a quilt challenge with the theme "Patriotic Quilts". This Log Cabin Star was made by Linda R. While I did not participate in this challenge, I was very moved by how personal and heartfelt the entries were. I'd like to share some of them here. Each of the quilts was unique, and each reflected the quiltmaker and those she holds dear.

Ann-Marie made "The Greatest Generation" quilt shown below. She included photo transfers of family who had served in WWII along with photo transfers depticting posters and significant events of the era. Even the back of her quilt was thoughtfully completed. It was made from sheet music fabric on which she had machine embroidered the titles of popular songs from the '40s. There was so much detail to look at.

And Freda, who was a career Navy nurse, made a quilt that was a tribute to those in her family who had served in the military. That included her husband, her father who never returned from being imprisoned in the war, and her step-father. Dot R. also made a tribute to the men in her family who were or are in the military. Her quilt included photos and memorabilia, and is shown below left.

Quilt guilds are so inspiring!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Embellished Journal Completed...

And they say quilters don't sew buttons! For the last several weeks I've been working on this journal project for my online class with Carole Brungar of Madness and Mess. My classmates and I learned everthing from creating journal pages, to using transfers, to sewing the pages into a cohesive book form. Carole is an outstanding instructor and offers easy-to-follow videos on each technique needed to complete the projects. Now that we've finished up this class, Carole is ready to begin her next one entitled "I'll Make You Smile". You can learn more here on her blog.

As satisfying as it is to have the journal completed... well, 75% completed because I still need to add some stamping and journaling... I feel very good about finally using some of the many laces, hankies, embellishments I've gathered over the years. I noted to a quilt guild friend that I'm hesitant to write in the journal after all that work. What if my writing detracts from a page rather than enhances it? She came up with a great idea. She suggested writing on some vintage-looking paper outside the journal, using a variety of pens and practicing until I find bits or pages of writing that I like. Then I can glue them in. Now that's a good solution, and I'm going to give it a try. Will show more pages when I add the journaling.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Thing for Pincushions..

There's something about sewing that draws me to everything that's related. Take pincushions for instance. I love to look at old ones in antiques shops, and I love finding patterns for quirky ones like this "Crazy Daisy Pincushion" by Kim Borowy. Sorry, I don't have a link for her pattern, but check with your local quilt shop if you'd like to find it. This one is stitched and stuffed, with twirly little tendrils added. Almost Venus-Flytrap like...yikes! But I saw one made by another guild member, and was so taken with it, I had to make one for myself. It's mounted on a candle holder.

The Crazy Daisy is keeping company in my sewing room with several other pincushions. The little spring hat was crocheted by Gwen Hill-Hearn, who is also in the guild. Cute, isn't it? What can I say about the pin doll? She's a popular participant at quilting retreats where she presides over the festivities. And I love Dresden Plates. This little pincushion version, below, is a free pattern from The Quilt Show.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dressing up the Humble Tin...

You might think people purchase Altoids because they like their strong minty taste. But some of us purchase them to obtain the tin, and the mints are just a bonus. Why? Because we want to alter the tins into tiny works of art, of course. That's what happened in a recent swap among members of the mmartfriends on Yahoo. We designed and altered a tin, filled it with little treasures our partner might enjoy and use in her own projects, and sent the tin off to its new home. Mine went to Marrianna in Flagstaff.

I painted the outside with acrylic paint to which I added gold webbing. The tin is topped with hand-painted paper and an ArtChix Studio collage image. It's edge-trimmed with yarn. Inside is some of the scrapbook paper from the Scrap Paper Pack Challenge and an image from Elizabeth at The Last Door Down the Hall blog.

And Kristi in Michigan sent me this one. She really loaded it with little goodies, too. I especially love the bird on the front and her handmade paper beads. So colorful and happy.

This swap was my first attempt at the altered tin, but won't be the last!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Star-Spangled Weekend... Part 2

How cute is this little guy in his sporty Corvette? Looks like he's driving, doesn't it? He was part of the 4th of July Parade in honor of our nations' birthday in Micanopy, FL. Here are some additional photos of the festivities.

Every year a group of Cracker Cowboys ride in the parade. They got their name from the long whips they snap in the air to keep cattle moving. You can see that two of them are cracking their whips in the photo. Jack had just commented to me that it would be a good idea for them to keep a bit more space between their horses. Seconds later, one cracked his whip and took the hat right off the other cowboy!

The Florida Cracker Horse is a registered breed. They are lean and smooth-gaited, and known for stamina and endurance. And they are generally solid colors.

People bring all sorts of dogs to the parade, many sporting bandanas and other patriotic regalia. But this is the first time I've seen people with wild birds. It was hard to see, but I think these are owls.

Oh yes, and Smokey the Bear was there driving this heavy equipment. Can you see him up there in the cab?

Floats and marching groups galore.

And I'll close with the fabric-paper Faded Denim Star I made for the Scrap Paper Pack Challenge at The Creative Place a week or so ago.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Star-Spangled Weekend... Part 1

Stitched these patriotic fabric-paper birds in time for the 4th of July, Independence Day. They look cute hung in a window.

And Saturday we went to the quaint village of Micanopy near Gainesville, FL, for their annual 4th of July Parade. It's the best small town parade... great fun. The event includes all sorts of groups and displays.

Micanopy is a beautiful village where the movie Doc Hollywood was filmed, and it's also the home of the historic Herlong Mansion B&B shown here. Interesting shops and antiques dealers line the streets under the shady oaks. And the place comes alive with families,friends, and patriotic displays every year on the 4th.

There were lots of vintage cars in the parade, many in red, white and blue. I love these old cars. And there were bikers, too. Plus much more to show you, including the popular "Cracker Cowboys", coming soon in Part 2! It was a fine day.