Wednesday, June 21, 2017

HH Hall Building--the Beginning

HH Hall Building
This week, I've started a project that is due the first of August. Eight of us are recreating a photo into a quilt. We were assigned a section. My section is to the left of the of the light and sign post. I get some of the banner in my part.
You can see part of the copy of my assigned section above the photo.

The rules are:
1. Keep the size of the project the same as the photographic copy of the section we were given.
2. Follow the color of the photograph.
3.  Leave our piece two inches larger than our pattern.
4. Return the quilted unbound piece by August 1.

I haven't participated in this sort of project. Although I have had the paper photo and pattern master since December, I hadn't started. One person is finished already. A couple others are quilting. I may be the only one of the group still stalled in the fabric selection stage.

Fabrics that may appear in the project
I have shopped for fabrics. I have rummaged through my stash; but, my creative muse has yet to engage. In my experience, if my muse isn't engaged, this process is challenging. I am forging ahead. I have selected enough fabrics to get a start. Thanks JoJo for letting me raid your stash of yellows!

I spent some time searching for grays since I have a number of windows in my section; but, I couldn't find what I thought was "right." JoJo suggested that I do a little painting to achieve the shade of gray that I wanted.

I thought that was a great idea. I ordered a set of prisma color art duel tip markers from Dick Blick. Of course, the set I had in mind, was on back order! It should ship at the end of the month.

The prismacolor marker set 
In the meantime, I plan to get my pattern ready and begin placing some of the appliqués. I'm planning to machine appliqué these pieces.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to quilt, stitch, sleep, sit or stand long this past week because of neck and back issues. It might be next week before this "flare" calms enough so that I can hold a pencil! Ice, massage, chiropractic treatments, rest, Alleve haven't had much effect . . .yet. Tomorrow is another day and I have high hopes, I'll feel better.




















Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day

Taking a photo of the view at Green Lake in Seattle, WA
The patient continues to heal and his excitement this week was that he was able to mow the lawn with the walk behind mower. Of course, he took a break--mandatory by my standards--just to be sure that he wasn't overdoing it.

He is a terrific dad. He went to dance performances, swim meets and water polo matches when the two daughters lived at home. Even now, he counts laps for A when she does the postal swims and does activities like power washing her steps when she asks.
Excited about seeing his first grandchild for the first time
When N comes to visit, he spends a lot of time planning her favorite dishes and then passes it off like it was no big deal! He always wants to FaceTime with her first when she calls.

He takes grandparenthood most seriously, he reads stories, drives the grands to the library and "convinces" me when they really "need" to have lunch at McDonald's!  He is really a softie underneath that exterior; but, you didn't hear that from me! 😃

Playground antics with the grands
He is all about family and there is nothing that he wouldn't do to make life easier for his daughters, his granddaughters or the men in his daughters' lives. Today though, he is kicking back and taking it easy, although he tells me that by this evening, he is cooking his famous burgers on the grill for dinner!

This afternoon, I met a friend whose dad died a few weeks after mine. We met at his favorite pub and we had a beer, some food and told stories. My dad would have approved and I bet had they met one another, they would have been friends. They shared the same work ethic and fishing/camping/hunting hobbies. I do miss my dad; but, I am glad that he isn't struggling to breathe. We're planning to get together on our dad's birthdays and Father's Day when we can. 

Work is progressing on the chicken; but because progress is slow, I won't bore you with a photo of those pebbles! I will tell you that I will blog about another project that I need to complete soon in my next post.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Endless Pebbles

It's been a couple of posts since I've shared my progress with the chicken. I've been pebbling. Quilting pebbles over the entire background wasn't my original intention. I had lots of other ideas and plans. I tried each. I ripped or I erased each idea and each plan. I began again. I repeated the ripping and erasing. I posted here about getting into the zone and forgetting about where I was stitching.

 I posed this question to my readers, was I into pebbling full time or had I an out? Several of you commented that I could do other background fills. I tried. The quilt replied, "no, No, NO, no, No, NO!!!!!!" I gave in and listened to what the quilt has been telling me all along--"I want pebbles!!!" I've been stitching endless pebbles! I am closing in on the half way point. When I need a break, I quilt the leaves and the chicken bodies. The final quilting will be the border; but, the focus of this post is pebbles.

Making progress a few pebbles at a time
Quilting pebbles takes a long time and a lot of thread. It's taken me 10 1/2 years to be at this point in the project. So what is another month or two or three?  My goal has been to stitch a couple hours a day which is about all my body can handle and I take breaks about every 15 minutes!

I have absolutely no doubt that I will finish this project. Lately,  I've pondered why it has taken me so long.  I've considered that this project is bigger than I had thought. It is one of the last projects that I shared my progress each evening with my dad. So maybe, the time it is taking me to finish is part of my grieving process as well as my remembrance of him. There is a lot to remember about him!

Perhaps, he's been helping me as I work towards completing  his final wishes. The repetitious pebbling is his way of helping me through the process. (We already know how much my brain wonders while I'm pebbling!)

Perhaps, this project is even bigger than my dad. Maybe God provided this project and timeline to help me at this very time. God is great ALL of the time! On that note, I'll leave you with a close up of my pebbles.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Organizing. . . .a Beginning and an Olive Memory


One binder a day!
Two years ago, a group of six of us, met and worked through the lessons in "The Artist's Way." It was an eye opening experience into how I could develop my creativity. I have continued to write a bit every day as journaling was a part of the process. I'm still working through my plans that I developed through that process. Yes, I've refined some plans, eliminated some plans and changed priorities; but, the initial plans are still in place!

One of my goals was to really organize my studio. At the beginning of the year, I blogged that my word for the year was organize. I've thought about it. I've looked at my ever increasing piles; but, I haven't done a thing. This week I started.

Mind you, I didn't start with a big task. Rather, I began with a small task. I started with the magazines that I've collected over the years. These are in binders, in magazine holders or stacked in piles. I think you get the picture without one!

Miss K's sporting a "thumb" olive
The reason that I had collected so many magazines was that I used them for inspiration. Also, it was so more economical for me to have the pattern or the technique in a magazine than it was to buy the book!

My goal is to sort through one binder or stack each day. I leafed through the magazines one more time to see if there was an article or pattern that particularly spoke to me. Most of the time there wasn't. I might finish this part of the process by the end of the month as I have saved many magazines over the years. In fact, I had been storing those magazines since 2003. I hadn't cracked the cover on them in . . . .well, I don't know! I am enjoying seeing tiny bits of open space!

My quilting journey has evolved. Now my inspiration comes from seeing a view in nature, reading a passage in a book, listening to laughter, feeling the wind against my skin, enjoying a meal with family or smelling the scent of the earth after a spring rain.

Miss J's olived index finger
On another note, the grands and I haven't done any sewing or stitching in months. Their interest has been in other activities. While it brings joy to my heart when they are creating in the studio, I realize they must participate in activities that bring them joy too. I know from experience how difficult life can be when there isn't some joy in every day.

To that end, we've cooked or baked every day that they are here. We learned how to spit cherry pits. (One of the grands had taken to spitting in not so appropriate situations.) Seeing the look on their faces while I spit a few seeds with all the joy I had when I was a kid. . .well, first it was shock which quickly transferred to wonderment which then morphed to show me how! The fun this week was olives.

As a kid, I'd decorate each finger with an olive and then with dramatic flair munch each one off my fingers! Consequently, my brothers and I would go through quite a few olives in a short time.

Miss J trying the technique
My mom had a can or two of olives in the cupboard; but, because we went through a can in such a short time, we only had olives at Thanksgiving, Christmas and maybe Easter.

I even remember her telling us that we could decorate our fingers once this way and if we were caught doing it twice punishment would be involved!

I don't remember how or why we learned to eat olives that way. Quite possibly, an aunt shared that technique with us. I hadn't seen the grands do it. So what is a grandmother to do? Share the olive finger process!

What a hoot and what joy they bring to my day. I hope they leave each day with joy in their hearts from playing with their papa and their gran.

Last, I'm sharing a patient update. He continues to heal and the hip replacement recovery process is going well. The other morning at breakfast, Miss K reminded him of the "rules." She took great care before his surgery to line her papa out on what kind of behavior she expected from him! We took a moment to write each one so we can "remember." As we were writing, the girls wanted to see his wound, so he obliged. They were surprised at how big it was. Miss J was surprised at hard it was. Miss K quickly responded, "Yes, it's metal!" Clearly, she thinks the hardness is a metal plate under the skin. Ahh, the thought process of a child is truly priceless!


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Multnomah County Fair

42 Minis
The Multnomah County Fair is held over Memorial Day weekend. This year, I didn't have many entries. I didn't finish nearly as many projects as I thought that I could. . . .hmmmm . . .this happens to me often!

The fair is managed by a board of volunteers as is the needlework department. Last year, I offered my time this year to help organize the entries for the judges on judging day.  Forty years ago, I judged 4-H horsemanship classes and twenty years ago I judged kids cooking. I was also a 4-H member for ten years in cooking, sewing, horses and livestock! I've entered a number of years on our guild quilt show and had my entries judged so I have an idea of what the criteria is for a blue, red or white ribbon.

I enjoyed working with the judges and providing input. I did not offer input if I had an entry in a category. I was awarded a blue ribbon for 42 Minis in the group category and a blue ribbon for Winter Ice in the pieced/machine quilted category.
Winter Ice

What I was not prepared for was their discussion on awarding the Judged Best of Show award as it was between these two quilts. I bet the three judges bantered back and forth between these two pieces for about ten minutes before two of them said that Winter Ice was their choice.  Winter Ice became the Judged Best of Show. Then they learned that I had stitched it on my domestic machine no less! They had a lot of questions and it was fun to answer their questions.

I learned what to look for in a knitting and hand embroidery work. I listened to the clothing and quilt judge and picked up lots of tidbits of how to judge a category. It was a great experience. Best yet, Winter Ice was also the viewer's choice for best of show!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Month 5 of 8 QAYG (Quilt As You Go)

Nice; but, not what was intended!
This was the toughest month for me to complete with the Quilt As You Go (QAYG) lessons so far. We used the 6" spiral template for block one and two. Truly, the first block was straightforward. The challenge for me was that I needed to reverse the design. Reversing the design after I have stitched it in one direction is a challenge for my thought process. I carefully followed the video instructions. . .although I couldn't see the whole part of the project, so of course, the first time through I didn't manage to actually reverse the pattern. It is a mirror image though!



Better orientation
The second time through, I got it mostly right. If I were beginning again, I would chalk the design. Hindsight is so crystal clear! Had I chalked the design, I would have seen that I had the orientation of the second swirl going in the same direction! I also would have saved time ripping!















Seed pod
The second block created a sort of seed pod design. I had some challenges with this one too! Again, I had a difficult time orienting the ruler to get the design to line up where it was supposed to be. Mostly, I stitched in the correct "area."

I write "area" because I didn't realize that the third and fourth lines of the seed pod aren't a mirror image. This caused my design to not be quite centered when I stitched the vertical lines in the background. I can live with this spacing issue.











Clamshell variation
Block three, now that one was a bugger. We used the clamshell template and I ripped this block more times than all the other blocks together! I'm not pleased with my rendition of the block; but, it is finished and that is what counts most! I sure couldn't figure out how to line up the template so that I had the results that I wanted.














Straight line design
Stitching block four, was a piece of cake. We were to use the 12 inch arc template. I could see this straight line pattern on a log cabin block. I didn't stitch it perfectly. Again there were some times when I needed to flip the design and I ended up stitching it the same way instead of a mirror image! I'm consistent when it comes to making mistakes!

We have four blocks to stitch next month and then it will be time to put all the blocks together!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Retreat Stars--Finish #1 for 2nd Quarter 2017 FAL

Fabrics cut and ready for pressing!
I was planning to attend our guild's fall retreat in September 2017 and I even signed up to go; but, then I realized that the retreat was the same weekend as when our alma mater college football team had a home game. I knew then I wouldn't be going to retreat; but, earlier, I had said that I would make a little something for each retreater. I decided I would make these folded stars

Even though, I haven't been to a retreat in about three years. I remember how much fun and inspiring the event was. I made new friends, learned alternate techniques and giggled until my sides ached. I like to support an event that provides so much fellow fellowship. Following through on my commitment is important to me too. I'll share the story about that in another blog.

The stars folded and ready for the hanger!
Making 45 folded stars was number 10 on my 2nd quarter goals for FAL. You can see my list here.  I've been concentrating on that darn chicken project for weeks now; but, when June 1 came and went, I realized I had finished NOTHING for this quarter yet! I decided that I'd better get a project finished before June was gone too!!!!

The quote printed on a tag.




















I have been pressing and folding fabrics since the beginning of the quarter so this has been an ongoing project. I know that it is good for me to take a break from working on that chicken!!!! Thursday, I finished folding the final star. (I realized that my math is poor. . .I ended up with 49 stars!) I like the variety and these fabrics are pieces that have been leftovers from previous projects or a couple fat quarters that have been in my stash for more years than I want to admit! I needed to stop petting the fabrics and USE them in a project or recycle them!

Black and gold trim ready for gluing.
The theme for the retreat is "Where The Wild Things Are." I asked the retreat chair if she had a favorite quote or two from the book because perhaps that would make a nice tie in to the theme. She sent me a list. I chose, "Let the rumpus start." She also told me that because of the space at the retreat, just 40 retreaters would be attending.

Of course, I'm thinking in my head that I'll have a few leftover to use as little gifts or package tags for Christmas next year!

But, I digress!!! Back to the process. I printed the quote on a return address label, mounted the label on card stock and punched a hole in the card stock. Next, I glued the hanger which was a from a roll of trim that I purchased years ago. On some of the stars, I used some different ribbons; but, I liked the black and gold trim too! I inserted the quote on the trim and I had a finished star!

I stacked up the stars into piles of five and took a photo of all the twinkling stars.  I hope that these are well received at retreat. The recipient could also hang the star in their studio to remind them of the fun that they had.
Finished Stars





































I think the quote, "Let the rumpus start!" fits me as I work in my studio. Goodness, I create some crazy messes and have some wild times before I arrive at the finish point!

Oh, I used six and a quarter yards of "bits" from my stash which brings the total yardage I've used from my stash to 27! My goal is to use 50 yards from my stash in 2017.

By the way, these stars are fun to make. If you decide to make a few, realize that that you probably won't be able to stop at a few!!!!