Saturday, June 26, 2010

Books, Books & More Books


I have been continuing to cover books these last few days.  I plan to take them to Italy when we go in August and give them as gifts to our hosts, so I needed to get moving!!!

For the second book, I wanted to re-d0 the blue challenge quilt that I did a few months ago (original post is here)

First step was to pull out the bits drawer (pieces smaller than 1-1/2  inches) and  search for blue fabrics. _6215707 _6215708  

Second step…..cut a piece of extremely lightweight fusible interfacing.

Next, cut out shapes and place them on the interfacing.   Iron into place.



I failed to photograph the next part, but it included appliquing the white vase and flower and then stitching all of the pieces into place.

When I finished the book, I wasn’t happy with the fabric on the spine.  So, after sleeping on it, I decided to stamp some gold flowers on the fabric and I think that it helped to pull it all together.

Here is the finished product……..




When I was starting the next book, I decided to use some of the fabrics that I had painted many months ago.    I simply did some outline quilting / threadwork on the piece, added a few beads and glued it onto the book.

Here it is……


Looking at this photo, I realize that I dont like the white dots in the center…..I may put some dots of paint on them

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bye Bye Birdies


The last two baby birds flew away late yesterday afternoon.  The first one went and the second one followed within about 15 seconds.  I guess that the nest was just too lonely!!!

It has been strangely quiet at our front door today!!!!

Here is a family portrait that came from the video a couple of days ago…..

Bird Family Portrait

Bye birdies… long and prosper!!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Leaving Home


Well, two of the baby birds have flown the coop….so to speak.

The first one flew off yesterday, while I was standing on the porch.  He flew into a nearby tree and we were able to get a few photos of his first perch.

Here is the first place that he landed….you can see him in the crook of the middle branches……_6215702

He then proceeded to fly/walk up the branch to a new perch……

_6215703The Dad showed up and talked to the baby and followed him from tree to tree.  We were concerned because this was NOT the oldest bird and may not have been quite ready to fledge, but we were encouraged by the care that Dad showed for him!!!

THEN, this morning I set up the camera, and lo and behold, one of them left while I was filming.

If you are watching the video, you will notice that the camera sways slightly about 15 seconds into it.  This is because Dad lands on the tripod bar and starts chirping to the baby.    When you see the flowers on the right move, he flies to the top of the wreath and then you can hear him fly away from the nest.

At this point the Baby bird looks like he is trying to get up his courage!!!  He does a bit of scratching ( displacement activity!!), looks over the edge a couple of times, takes a deep breath and off he goes!!!!!


The other two are still in the nest.  We are hoping that they fly away this afternoon as we have roofers coming to our house EARLY in the morning.  We have put them off for over a week  hoping that the birds would be gone, but we cant afford to wait any longer.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Charity Quilts

The charity group of our  guild has agreed to make quilts for the local Senior Center.  They have a brand new, gorgeous building, but the dining room has vaulted ceilings and is almost entirely white…..can you say boring and echo-ey!!!

We are planning to make six or seven quilts, each measuring 60-65 inches square.  We had been putting back tops that might work and I had been given the chore of figuring out how to make them all fit together.  After staring at them for DAYS, I decided that it was an impossible task and so I started over. 

I first looked for border fabrics, trying to pick floral prints that might go together.  I then added fabrics for the inner borders and built the quilts around the borders.

These were the original sets of border fabrics, however I had to make a few changes as it went on because there wasn’t enough of a couple of the fabrics……

_6065589I moved to the computer and used EQ5 to design traditional  blocks for the quilts.  I pieced the first one myself to see who they were going to look……

_6195664 I am not super fond of the inner border and may change it, but everyone said that we should just leave it for now and see how it looks when all of the quilts are finished. 

After making the first top, I put together 5 kits and various guild members are going to take the kit and finish a top.  I warned them all to try the inner border before sewing it on just in case I have made another boo-boo.  I found that it was really hard to select that particular border without actually seeing the quilt top first.

Here is the result of my efforts……



I cant wait to see the finished tops!!!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Of books and birds

First of all….the bird update.   My daughter and some of my friends are starting to call me the “bird lady”….oh well, I have been called worse!!!!

Here is a video of one of the feeding times today.  Notice how big the birds are now…….

This video shows lots of movement in the nest.  I am wondering how they are all fitting……. 

Later in the day, we realized that they were moving around a LOT so I went outside to set up the camera again.  As I set it up, one of the babies just sat very still and watched me.  I knew Michael was just inside the door, so I whispered for him to bring the still camera.  The bird eyed me off carefully as I took this photo, but didn’t attempt to hide like they normally do……

Best bird

Now, onto the fun that I have had this weekend…….

On Saturday, I spent some time looking thru the book “Fabric Art Collage” by Rebekah Meier.  As usual, it inspired me to get into the studio and try a few things.

My first step was to use one of the dyed silk hankies that I bought when we were in Australia.  If you haven’t seen these before, the large hankie is made of many fine layers of silk mesh. 

Here it is with all of the layers in tact……


This is what it looks like when a layer is peeled off.  One hint that was in the book was to use lotion on your hands before you pick up the silk layers as they are very sheer and will stick to rough spots on your hands.


Following the instructions in the book, I laid it onto parchment paper, sprayed it with starch (the book called for a fancy stiffener, but I just used what I had), covered it with more parchment and ironed the daylights out of it.


The result was a slightly fused, stiff piece of fabric that could easily be picked up and moved.

I then pulled out some stamps and started stamping the silk with various colors.  These stamps were NOT designed for fabric, so I wasn’t sure what would happen.


I also read in the book about using batting as the backing for felting, so I decided to try that this time.  I added some wisps of wool and felted the background down, using the Felting Machine that I bought too long ago and never used!!!

I then placed the silk piece over the top and felted away again.


One unexpected thing happened here……the felting needles disturbed the stamps so that the designs disappeared, but it left wonderful little dots of ink through out the piece.

_6195677I added a few more stamps on the top and tried to figure out what to do next.  My husband suggested that I start by following the blue blob in the middle of the piece and I went from there to adding a couple of flowers and lots of free motion lines.

It was time to move into the living room to spend time with hubby, so I grabbed my box of lace and paint and did some more playing.  I started with some tatting that my Grandmother had made.  After trying to color it with stamps (and not liking it), I ended up painting it with gold.    I used some gold thread to attach the lace to the top and then added french knots to the center of each flower…..

_6195682  The final step was to take the brush that still had gold paint on it and brush it around in various places…..waste not, want not!!!!

This morning I added a backing fabric and used the piece to cover a journal book.

_6205685 I loved the idea of trying some new ideas and really like that I was able to put the new ideas to good use and get a finished product from it!!!!

Now….back to bird watching!!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Stretching their wings

The baby birds are really growing now and are starting to try their wings and flap around in the nest.  It is amazing that there is room for all four of them!!!!

To best enjoy this video, double click on it so that it goes to You Tube and then watch it on as large a screen as possible.




Sunday, June 13, 2010

More birds

OK….I know that you are going to get tired of these, but my husband and I are having SO much fun watching and listening to the finches!!!  

Just before this video started, the Mama bird was cleaning up the nest and two of the babies kept poking their heads above the nest edge. ……so cute!!!  When the Dad arrives, he feeds all four of the babies (we have finally determined that there are four) and also feeds Mom.    She is VERY loud during the feeding time.  We can hear them all thru our house and both run to the door when feeding time begins. 


I took this video this morning, right before a cat tried to scale the door and get to the nest.   Fortunately, Michael saw what was going on and shooed it away.  After some thought, we decided to try to find something slick to put over the door so that the cat wouldn’t have anything to climb.  I toodled off to my favorite Lowes store and the salesman helped me to find a sheet of paneling that has a really slick surface.  He cut it to the correct size and we taped it to the front of the door.  So far, no more cats.


By the way, I really am doing a little  bit of sewing and will hopefully post that soon!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Feeding Time


I was able to set up my video camera on a tripod today and caught a few minutes of “Daddy’s Feeding Time”……

It looks like there are only three baby birds.  There were originally 5 eggs, so I am not sure if two didn’t make it or if they are just not strong enough yet to hold their heads up.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Day to Remember

My Dad passed away almost 11 years ago, and today would have been his 90th birthday.  As soon as I heard the date on the radio, I started thinking about him and all of the memories of our good times together.


He was a sports nut, especially when kids were involved.  He coached Pony League Baseball before I was born and had team photos of many of the men who were leaders in the area.  I often wondered if  that was just a coincidence!!

When I was a kid, there weren’t a lot of opportunities for girls to be involved in sports,  but he made sure that I knew how to catch and throw a softball and that I understood all of the rules to Football, Baseball and Basketball!!! 

He taught me how to drive and I spent many weekends going with him to our farm (30 miles away) so that I could drive.  He laughingly said that he was going to enjoy the time while he could because he knew that I wouldn’t be going with him once I got my driver’s license.  I remembered those words and enjoyed the time with my kids as well.

When I got involved in the pep-squad, he was always there in the parents section yelling for the team too.  He ran a gas station on a prominent corner in Abilene, Texas and many of my friends and fellow students would go by and talk to him.

He was a handy-man deluxe and I spent many, many hours in the garage helping him with his various projects.  I think of him every time I  need to pry something apart (he had a wonderful lecture on using levers), spackle a hole in the wall, or fix a venetian blind.  Most of these projects were performed while listening to the Houston Astro’s on the radio.




He loved our kids and were so proud of them.  He loved it when they got old enough to  start playing baseball and softball.  When Brian decided to switch to Soccer, Dad immediately started to watch it on TV and learn the rules to the game.  Unfortunately, he never got to see Brian play in person, although he did see a few videos.


His health deteriorated and he was seldom able to play with the kids, but he loved to watch them when they were together.  He always talked about the day that he told Jenny to “choke up on the bat” and then she went out and hit a home run!!P9110154 (2)

Jenny continued to play Fastpitch softball all during school, and was named the Georgia State Player of the Year after her senior season.  After one particular game, I remember her saying that she wished G-Pa could have been there to see her play because he would have been proud of her!!!






His service flag was used at the softball field during all of the home games and she said that it felt like he was there too!! 

He was known as “Uncle Buddy” to all of my cousins and I remember the fun that we had at the funeral home remembering all of his antics!!  


……..that is what I am remembering now!!!

Friday, June 4, 2010


We had one baby bird this morning, and when I chased Mama off of her nest this afternoon, there were TWO.    I love the little open mouths!!!!!!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Blew Two - part 2


Yesterday I posted about the making of this quilt top……


Now I had to figure out how to quilt it…..

I figured that I wanted to having the quilting represent wind, but wasn’t sure enough about it to just sit down and start quilting.  Then, I started thinking about some of the ideas that I tell my students and decided to actually use one  of them myself….shocking!!!!

I took a photo of the top and  made several photocopies of it and started doodling to see what I would like.  Here are several of my first tries…..

 Scan_Pic0020 Scan_Pic0018 Scan_Pic0019

Well, I wasn’t happy with any of these and couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so I put it aside for a couple of days.

When I picked it up again, I immediately knew what was wrong…..wind would be blowing all in the same direction… wouldn’t go all over the place!!!!  Once I realized that, it was a simple matter to design the quilting.Scan_Pic0021

I used a metallic thread to do the quilting and am quite happy with the results._6015562

I decided to face the quilt rather than bind it.  If you are interested in learning an easy way to face a quilt, check out this website.   The only thing that I would change would be to make the facing a little bit narrower, especially for a small quilt like this one.


After I had completely finished the quilt, I remembered that I had thought of putting a swishy bead border at the  bottom of the quilt.  If I get REALLY energetic, I may take off the facing and add the beads, but dont hold your breath!!

In the long run, this is not only a good addition to the “Blue” challenge, but a fun reminder of our time in Kunming, China.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Blew Two

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, our guild is in the middle of a challenge project which is due at our June meeting next week.  The challenge is called “Am I Blue” and the idea is to make a quilt somehow related to the word blue.

Well,  I got inspired a few weeks ago and completed a quilt for the challenge.  Then I had lunch with my friend Sue T, and she off-handedly said that she immediately thought of the word “BLEW”  as in someone blowing on a dandelion.

When we were in Kunming China 2 weeks ago, I took a photo of a statue that had this wonderful little boy in it…..

_5135285 I immediately thought of Sue’s idea for the challenge!!!

When I returned to the US, I contacted her and asked if she had followed thru on her idea and she said that she had moved on to another idea and that I could use it if I wanted.

SO, I printed out the photo and headed to my studio.  I first pulled out any fabrics that I thought might work with the photo and then started playing around with blocks to go with it.  I knew that I wanted to do pinwheels of some sort  and started out with a three-dimensional pinwheel that was presented last year on the British Quilt List Calendar Challenge.   It was perfect for the quilt.

I had planned to graph out the entire quilt before I started piecing, but ended up getting too excited and just started making pinwheels of various sizes.  The nice thing about them was that I made them too big and I could easily cut them down to the size that I wanted.

I wanted something to echo the stick that the pinwheel is on so decided to use some beads to make my own stick with. 

Here is the completed top……..Cropped

Tomorrow I will fill you in on the quilting problems and solutions!!!

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