Saturday, March 31, 2012

I'M FINE

Hey, I'm soooo touched to have gotten several emails asking if I'm okay!! Yes, my back is much better..... I have lot's to share with you but for the next two days I have to depend on only my iPad and for the life of me I can NOT figure out how to blog with photos from this darn thing.

Back at you all as soon as I can.

Tx's so much for caring!!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

MEET SOOTY

It's time to meet the new member of our family.....as you've gathered, I haven't been on board with adding the responsibility and work of bringing a dog into our household.  I must admit, I am not that much of a pet lover....actually pretty much not a pet lover.  However, our son's dog, Nali (who now lives in San Francisco) worked her way into my heart when we were her care takers for two months several years ago.

So, it was only a matter of time before 'the husband' found a "Nali" clone at Sarges, a no kill animal rescue program where he volunteers weekly taking photos of dogs/cats and posting to the Internet in hopes of finding them 'forever' homes. 

This 18 month old block head black lab was owner surrendered.....no reason was given.  She was crate trained and housebroken, already spayed, and had most of her shots.  She has the typical lab personality.....happy and wanting to please (most of the time until her hunting instincts take over!)


Notice how placid she looks.....certainly not the steam engine that hurt my back as I hauled her home by her collar after she ran off on Monday.  I'm still in big time pain.  She has become an escape artist who can't be allowed outside without a leash.  Sooty will be going through dog training soon!


I myself would probably never click on the following short video of her.....but you dog lovers might enjoy seeing the docile side of this lab!  And you'll wonder how she could possibly be responsible for hurting my back!  I'm hoping the pain will settle down and that I can get back into the studio to sew right quick....(right quick....another Southern expression I've picked up!)


video

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

MACHINE QUILTING

Because I have not spent the time to develop free-motion quilting skills, I hate the results when I try.  So...I was determined to put in some practice time.

Well....that did NOT go well....  I'll blame it on my machine....but only partly...I truly need to get it in for service but that requires a trip to TN.....about 90 mins. each way and then repeat that to pick it up.  So, I stall, and stall.

My needle threader is broken, the light bulb needs to be replaced, the foot petal sticks, and the thread tension is gone haywire when I drop the feed dogs.  Fortunately, it seems to work pretty well otherwise.

 I dug in anyway and after 5 passes doing little free-motion swirls, the results were a mess....bunchy, terrible uneven stitches....really!  So, I spent twice the amount of time ripping it out as I did sewing.


And yet again, I reverted to the tried and true built-in even feed foot on my machine. 
 Really, my excuses are just that....even with a finicky machine....I have ample room for the quilt to lay out flat while sewing.....I just need to sit down and practice.


With that said, I will complain further......my back is KILLING ME....  Our new rescue dog has gone from this quiet, obedient newcomer to a run away bride.  She is truly an escape artist and now can not go out w/o a leash....nor can we have our door open for a second if she's in the same room until she learns that this 'forever' house may not be 'forever' if she gets lost or hit by a car!  


I totally screwed up my back chasing her and then hauling this elephant back home by the collar.  She is STRONG....and once I got her back in the house I couldn't straighten up.  I've had years and years of back problems, followed by numerous surgeries and have not been in this kinda pain for 20 years.




Therefore, straight stitching the quilting lines while catching up with the antics of (fill in the blank) Housewives of ________ has been about all I can do for the moment.  And frankly, that's not such a bad way to pass time!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

SNOW ART

Feast for your eyes and imagination.....  Check out the snow art of Simon Beck here.


Monday, March 26, 2012

FIBER JUNKIES MARCH MEETING

The Fiber Junkies began with my notion to start a small 'working' group nearly 4 years ago.  We keep the membership to 6 which allows us to meet monthly in each other's homes to explore various fiber related techniques.

We try to set goals at the beginning of the year and lay out which methods are 'good weather' ones and reserve some ideas for indoors.  Due to the terrain here in the mountains, where travel time for some of us is 60+ minutes, one way....we try to make the best use of our time together.

 This month we met at Judy Simmon's house to explore fabric paints.  She has a wonderful large, well lighted space that all of us can work in.  Look how neatly we begin!
 Each of us brought paints from our stash....which rotated around the work table as we documented the results on muslin and with note taking.  Some were painted dry, others with a wet brush, others onto damp muslin.  It was such fun to see how each reacted.
 A favorite brand was Tuskineko...which is described as an ink.  Our friend Linda Cantrell uses it a lot in her work.  It's available in traditional and spray bottles.  The spray is a bit hard to control, but you can see how that looks in the upper right corner of the next photo.
 I labled each one and along with a full pad of notes, I now have a much better understanding of how to use these products.


Judy has been stamping/painting/ for years......here's her modest collection.  Don't you want to be her friend too?


We learned that many of the older paints had become too thick to use, so what the heck, we diluted them with water.....and ta da....they still worked.  Which brings us to our terrific idea for our next meeting....  Since each of us had lots of old and frankly unwanted paints, we are going to dilute them and using spray bottles.....transform both solid and print fabrics.  I'll report back....

Sunday, March 25, 2012

WOW!

Those of us who've had the privilege to scamper about the world sharing our love of quilting know just how lucky we are.

If one has their head screwed on straight....they also realize we aren't solving the world's problems (though if everyone WAS a quilter....perhaps we'd play better with each other!)  Instead, we generally spend a few days with like minded new friends and move on.  And of course, our new friends move on to new ideas as well.  

I can't count the number of times I've sat in a guild meeting during show and tell when members proudly display a finished piece from a workshop and oops...with great embarrassment, they can't recall the name of the instructor. It happens....no worries....it's that's probably due to the fact that the class took place 12 months ago!

So.....when I hear from a quilter who does remember me.....I'm so very, very touched.  This has happened twice this month...my heart is swelling!

This beautiful scissors fob was made for me by Jo in Millerville, NJ who writes....."thanks for being so inspirational to me and my hand work".  


No, it's you Jo that I owe my appreciation...if it wasn't for quilters like you.....I'd be home 24-7 with 'the retired husband'.....you all give me the opportunity and incentive to continue to create.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

SEA SHELLS COMPLETE

Do you feel grumpy when you aren't stitching?  I sure do.....happily I was able to squeeze in some time between attending to the 18 month old dog we just adopted (who has taken over the household) to finish this piece. More about 'the dog' coming soon.  And yes, for those who've been asking via email...she now has a name!

But let's look at my newest piece, shall we?

Sea Shells  9" x 12" 2012
Woolfelt and bamboo rayon felt, machine quilted, and embellished with sea shells and beads.

The back story of this piece appeared in my blogs on Feb. 14-17, 2012, here,

I started it with the intention of donating it to AAQI for their big quilt sale at Quilt Festival in the fall.  The idea was to make several less time consuming pieces this year, rather than the one major beaded piece I've donated in past years.  Thus....making it possible for more folks to be able to purchase one of my beaded pieces for such a great cause.

However, I'm now reconsidering, simply because a great design inspiration has hit me that would be perfect for the fall sale instead.  Heck, I may donate both....  For now however, this piece will be offered for sale here. if you are interested.

 Detail
Detail - beaded edging

Friday, March 23, 2012

LAST (I PROMISE) PHOTOS FROM LANCASTER

YUP.....I admit it.  I'm a total hotel snob!  'The husband' accepts this fetish and we now make hotel reservations prior to our trips so that we aren't caught having to stop at one where I'm walking backwards out of the room as soon as we've crossed the threshold!

 So....imagine my delight when I checked into my very grand king bed hotel room at the Marriott in Lancaster.  I always rate each stay...silly but I do, and do that in specific categories. I give high rating of 5 bed pillows (like a restaurant critic awarding 5 forks or stars) for the comfort and convenience of the bed.  For instance...it needn't actually have 5 bed pillows....though this one had 6 and I was in LOVE.  Double sheeting will always push the rating up, reading lamps built into the headboard are a super big bonus.  When the bed is placed so one can easily see the TV while reclining...that's extra points and even better when the overhead a/c heat vents aren't over my head!
 The bathroom was fab too.....loved the large mirror...frame was etched metal...granite counter top....with lots of room.  One negative was poor lighting.  I think hotels sometimes don't remember that men are not their only customers!
This space got a 4 toilet tank rating (down from the potential high of 5 due to the dim light).  The toilet didn't run when flushed, and sorry if this is too graphic.....it flushed the first time AND the toilet seat was a full one....not those nasty new cheap seats with cut out in the front...yuck.
 This seems to be the new thing..... wood coffee/tea catty......makes one feel very high end.  The coffee maker actually made hot, delicious coffee w/o leaking.  A rating of 5 coffee cups!
And finally.....don't ya love the carpet.....it looks like a lovely quilt design.  The decor and cleanliness got a rating of 5 white gloves!!


I'm finishing a project today......well, I hope today....seriously with this new house guest (the dog that now has a forever home) my routine has been very interrupted.  Hopefully tomorrow I can get back on track and share some fiber with you.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

AWESOME STUDENTS

I was so proud of the hard working students who took my scissors sheath workshop in Lancaster last week.

It was a project class, developed for the purpose of learning the bead embroidery stitch, an edging technique, and most importantly, the even count flat peyote stitch which was worked around flat mirrors.

Check out the creativity below.....none are difficult stitches......perhaps time consuming..... but worth it!





 Now this is funny......so back at the hotel, I get off the elevator on my floor and I notice small sequins on the carpet.....leading to a room near mine.  I could just imagine someone coming back from an embellishment class trailing these items behind her....or was she leaving a trail for her buddies to find her room??



I now realize I should have photographed some reference points like the elevator door and the hotel room door......  oh well.....I had all I could do to pull out my camera as I juggled a huge teaching suitcase and my ubber heavy video/camera/computer bag.


The hotel staff was probably also vacuuming up thread for a week following our invasion of their facilities!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

PAPER ART

Years and years traveling the quilting highway has allowed me to visit many quilt guilds all across the US and in other countries.  And...not surprising....I could list a top 10 favorite if pressed.  AND....not surprising again...it's generally due to one or two individuals who went out of their way to make my trip so special.  The biggest bonus is that I can now call these thoughtful and kind quilters a friend.

Trina Zimmerman, Gloversville, NY is one exceptionally talented quilter, paper artist, wife, mother, and non-stop volunteer not only in her quilt guild....but in her community.

Two of the Gloversville guild members were in a workshop of mine at the AQS Lancaster show.....more gal pals for me to love!!  They brought a surprise gift to me from Trina.....   Feast your eyes...below are just a sample of the fabulous note cards she made.  Sorry everyone...she doesn't sell them.....which makes my gift even more special.

 The cup looks to be vellum....love the real straw and the tasteful embossing....
 Every envelop is personalized with the card's theme....
 Trina utilizes rivets, colored strings, and 3-D (or raised) motifs to add interest to the cards.
 No two are alike.......each with their own special theme...this one all tied up with a ribbon.
My feet were tapping as I read the record labels....Hound Dog by Elvis, Baby Love by the Supremes, etc.  The background of this card was embossed with musical notes.  I wonder just how big Trina's rubber stamp & embossing plate collection is??


One card featured motorcycles......you may know that 'the husband' rides (I won't....I totally refuse to get on the thing!).....and even after his life threatening accident....the lure of the open road calls him.  That card has already been snuck out of my collection by 'the husband'!


Thank you, thank you Trina....  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

SOLD, SOLD, SOLD

Though I'll probably always teach (I love it so much).....as some of you are aware, I've been cutting back on the number of invitations I commit to.  Instead of so much time traveling, my attention is turning more and more toward selling my work.

It pleases me so much when I have the opportunity to get acquainted with the 'keepers' of my work....  During my trip to the AQS show in Lancaster, 3 pieces were sold and will now be living in PA, NY, & GA....

 Olivia purchased "A Tisket, a Tasket" - the original quilt which appeared in my book, "Embellishing With Felted Wool".  Others from that book are available here.
 Nancy took home "Captured" - a newer piece made with felted wool and bamboo rayon felt.  The making of this piece was featured in past blogs.
And last but not least..... O.V., who loves angels....promised to love and cherish "Let's Go Left".  It's a hand appliqued, hand quilted and 3-D applique quilt featuring angels turning left toward Paduch (oh my...instead of right toward heaven!!)


You can view other pieces for purchase in my shop.....many of which have been published either in books or magazines and exhibited in quilt shows.  

Monday, March 19, 2012

THEFT FROM VEHICLES

It's happened again......another quilt instructor has had her car broken into....quilts, teaching materials and in one case even sewing machines were stolen.  Both instances happened while they were on the road.


Please visit Karen Combs to see the details....the more eyes we have looking the better.  She was visiting a guild in New Braunfels, Tx when her rental car was broken into.


Patsy Thompson is a master at machine quilting and embroidery....she lost an embroidery machine and lots and lots of samples.  Though her website doesn't show exactly which ones were stolen.....you can see her style here.

So for anyone who has ever hosted me at their guild......this is why I'm so fussing about leaving my suitcases in your cars when we go to dinner etc.  It only takes a few seconds to have one's teaching career severely impacted by criminals.....  



Sunday, March 18, 2012

BACK HOME WITH 'THE DOG'

Miss me???  At $12.95 per day for Internet service.....I wasn't able to post during my teaching trip to the AQS show in Lancaster.  They kept me too busy with judging/teaching/lecturing at different locations....none of which had free Internet either..... 

I'm home now with the new dog....who is still nameless (though apparently her name was Bailey when she was surrendered.....our neighbor has a dog named Bailey so we want to rename ours)  She will get chipped on Tuesday so a decision must be made before then.  

She got some PR in our local paper.....which is great for the animal rescue program 'the husband' volunteers at.  See here and here.

 To be perfectly honest, I'm not that much of a pet lover and would have preferred not to have a dog again......but I guess it's only a matter of time before one comes home with you when you volunteer at a rescue organization!


'The husband' a big dog lover & has longed for one of our own for years and years.  Knowing my negatives feelings about the dog hair, slobbers on floors, the responsibility, the expense, etc., 'the husband' started doling out tid bits about how 'the dog' was adapting to our household to me during my week away.  He'd say......."Oh, by the way.......she (our nameless girl) got a hold of _______ (fill in the blank).


Yup.....this stuffed heart made from an antique quilt that had seen better days was displayed at nose level....and too tempting for a 18 month old lab.


 This is a totally different story.....'the husband' mentioned....and I mean casually mentioned.....she 'nibbled' on a quilt.....but it was NOT A GOOD ONE!*!*!!  Are there ever any NOT GOOD ones....especially if they are hand quilted??
 I don't think two big bites out of a quilt is no big deal......  SEE....this is why I didn't want a dog.....


She also decided she liked the taste of my antique dovetailed pine blanket chest.....hummm...am I even speaking to 'the nameless girl'? Well yes, we've had a heart to heart conversation and she told me she will do better.


And....I'll be talking to you again tomorrow morning...



Monday, March 12, 2012

TRIALS OF A TRAVELING TEACHER

Our life has been in an upheaval since Saturday.....an unexpected guest will now be a member of our family.....   This event has been more time consuming than one can imagine and added to my preparations to fly to Lancaster today....I've been running in place....

  .....so yesterday around 4:00 PM I was ready to put the final touches to my packing and DRAT.....I discovered the latch was broken!*!*  


Yikes....I live in the middle of nowhere.  So where does one shop for a suitcase on Sunday afternoon?  Well.....25 mins. away to WalMart of course.  Even good quality suitcases can't hold up to the rigors of airline abuse.....so I purchased the best one there.  Hummmm this is cutting into my profits for this trip!!

 Everything had to be transferred from my already packed suitcase and then.....
 .....each suitcase is weighed.  One dare not exceed the 50 pound checked bag limit....especially if one is checking TWO bags, plus 2 carry ons!


 The drama wasn't over.......WHAT IS THIS??  A flat tire......  No time to change it.....so everything was moved to our other car (which is not designed for toting this much luggage)..... 
And here's the reason for all the last minute rushing around.  We adopted a black lab from our local rescue shelter on Saturday morning.  'the husband' volunteers weekly for this organization, photographing pets and posting to the internet for adoption.

This sweetie is 18 months old.  She was owner surrendered....amazing!  She's housebroken, crate trained, spayed, totally obedient....though she has a cold/virus which required a vet visit on Saturday afternoon.  Frankly, I'm not a pet lover and didn't want this responsibility but I was out voted....and of course she's already breaking my barrier!

Gotta go.....they are calling my flight to Charlotte......then I'll fly to Harrisburg and finally take a shuttle to Lancaster.....a long day but I'll be well rested for my judging duties Tuesday morning.

Will keep in touch as I can....

Sunday, March 11, 2012

AQS LANCASTER SHOW

I'll be heading off for a week in Lancaster, PA tomorrow to judge/lecture/teach, while 'the husband' holds down the fort at home.  My posting may be paused again due to the $12.95 daily for the hotel internet service.  I'll be looking for hotspots so we can stay in touch!

All of my technique beading classes are nearly full, however there is room in my all-day Thursday workshop....."What Goes Around" a scissors sheath project class. Supplies are easy as a kit is provided....so if you are going to the show and looking for an activity on Thurs., check this class out.  The main technique we will be studying is the even count peyote stitch which is used to surround and hold the mirrors to the fabric.

 I'll also be presenting an evening lecture that night at 7:00 PM.


 That same technique, with some variation, is highlighted on this quilt "Amethyst" 8.5" x8.5".
 Detail


I also used it on "Elements" 5.5" x 10", to attach the cabochon to fabric I'd rusted.

If you are coming to the show....be sure to look me up, I'd love to visit with you.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

PTA RETREAT CONCLUSION

Here are some final tidbits about our quilting retreat to share......

 Kate showed us surprising results about dye catchers.  She used two Shout Color Catcher clothes and two Carbona Grabbers in the same washer load. Notice how much better the Carbona cloth picked up the excess dye!
 Lynne Harrill was working on this lovely piece......we were transfixed watching her add all the highlights and shadows with oil sticks.
 Leigh Anne was making this colorful fun quilt for a gift.
.....and finally....Barbara was working on this scrap quilt.....dissatisfied...near the end of our sewing time she added some black strips to isolate some of the blocks.  To everyone's amazement...it was the perfect answer.  I hope to share a photo when it's completed.