Saturday, December 31, 2011

Welcome 2012!!!

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

 

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Choices

Remember back to my posts at the beginning of the year when I mentioned that instead of making a New Year’s Resolution, I was going to pick a “Word for the year”.   And, my word was “Choices”.

I had visions that this would mean choosing to spend time in the studio,  happily creating and blogging afterwards…..but life had a different idea in mind!!!

I have found this year that my choices had to be different.  They tended more to taking care of family, helping clients that were in need, working in the yard, and on and on.  Instead of trying to do everything, I chose to miss certain events in order to participate in others. 

The biggest and most important choice was to not get angry because I wasn’t getting into the studio, but instead to enjoy what life was bringing along, even if it wasn’t what I had planned!!

One of the many perks of these new choices was that I have been so very relaxed during the holidays, organized early and actually able to have a nap on Christmas Eve afternoon…..something that has NEVER happened before.

Now don’t get me wrong, I hope to spend many wonderful creative hours in the new year, but it is so relaxing to take that out of the “must” column and put it into the “choose” column.

A friend shared this quote on Facebook and I think that it fits here……

 

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I am looking forward to a new year of choices, chances and changes!!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Keeping Mom Busy – part 3

My Mom quickly returned the blocks that I had sent her.  They look great with her wonderful blanket stitching around the edges.

Now it was time to finish up the designs so I spent a fun day working in my studio, once again pulling out every piece of fabric that I owned!!!!  Here are the resulting blocks…..

DSC01539  DSC01533DSC01535   DSC01536 DSC01537 DSC01538 I changed the last block some and had to add a few blossoms and leaves to make it fit the double size block, but I  think it worked ok…..

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I laid all of the blocks out just to see if the colors would work…..DSC01532

…..and then wrapped it up in Christmas paper and sent it to Mom as yet another present for her to open!!!

My task in the next month will be to decide how to set the quilt together and what kind of border to put on it.   I have been thinking about doing a flower vine around the edge with lots of the different flowers on it, but I will need to see how Mom feels about sewing  MORE flowers!!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

 

From me and my family to you and yours…………

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MERRY

CHRISTMAS!!!!

 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another Ducky…..

 

I showed the first of my “Rubber Ducky” quilts a couple of weeks ago (check HERE for the post).  

The day before I was due to return to the Charity Bee I had an extra hour and thought “why not make another one”!!!

This time I took some of the leftover squares and rectangles of Ducky fabric,  added squares and rectangles of a coordinating fabric, sewed on a border and voila……

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Another top to be quilted and given to a needy child!!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Stocking for Amber

Eighteen months ago our son Brian married Amber, a wonderful young woman!!!  It dawned on me this year that I had not made her a Christmas stocking so I set out to rectify that.

The first step was to come up with a design to use.  Our family stockings were made when we were living in Australia and reflected that time of our life…..

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I knew that I wanted something that would fit  Amber  but also wanted to keep the same design of the previous stockings.

Since Brian and Amber are recent cat owners, I started looking for a Christmas kitten pattern that would work.   The first that I came across was this needlepoint design…..

DSC01540I covered it with a transparency and traced the general outline…..

DSC01543  I realized that he needed to face the other direction to best fit on the stocking so I simply turned the paper over, being sure to mark which was the front.

I then placed the transparency on the light box, placed a Teflon pressing sheet on top of the transparency and began to build the design.  It was very easy to see where the pieces were to be placed….

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After I ironed the design onto the Teflon sheet, I peeled the entire picture off in one piece and placed it onto the stocking…..DSC01546 

The final step was to outline all of the pieces, quilting at the same time…..

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The final embellishment was to add a bell for the kitten to be pawing at. 

I am looking forward to filling this new stocking with goodies on Christmas morning!!!!

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy Blog-i-versary!!

As of yesterday, I have been writing a blog for 3 whole years.   When I started I didn’t know if it would endure, but I have truly enjoyed my time of communicating with friends, old and new, and from all around the world.

There hasn’t been much quilting going on in my life as my DD had major shoulder surgery this past Tuesday and spent three days in the hospital.  She is now at home and functioning mostly by herself, but my husband and I are still on call at any time, day or night.

The upside of this event is that, knowing this was coming up, I am the most prepared for Christmas that I have EVER been.  It is a wonderful feeling to be a week out and know that everything is in order.

At our last Fiber Frenzy meeting, Shirley brought out gifts for all of us….she always comes up with something fun!!  This year it is a “Just Do It” hanger for our studios.  She said that the first stitch or cut is the hardest to make in each project so this is our reminder to…..

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Maybe I will get the hint!!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Keeping Mom Busy --- part 2

Since Mom finished up the House blocks so quickly, I immediately began looking for another project to get her started on.

I suggested that we start making a quilt  together.  The plan is that I will put the fusible applique’s together and she will do the blanket stitch around the shapes.  The blocks will return to me and I will put them together into a quilt top.  Then we will discuss whether she will hand quilt it or whether I will machine quilt it.

When it is finished we will decide exactly what we want to do with it.  It may be a donation to the West Texas Rehabilitation Center or it may be a gift for someone, or WHO KNOWS…….

SO, I started looking thru patterns and remembered this one from “Piece O’ Cake Designs”…..

FreshPicked-250 As I  started pulling out fabrics and trying to decide what color way to use, I came across this wonderful piece of fabric……

 

…..and decided to make it the basis for my quilt, and to cut each of the pots out of this fabric.

Here are the first four blocks that I put together and sent off to Mom…..

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Hopefully before Christmas I can get the next 8 blocks ready to go to her and also spend some time thinking about how I am going to set this together into a Queen Size Quilt.

Incidentally, I am always amazed at just how messy things can get when I am in the planning stage of a quilt…..

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Keeping Mom busy –part 1…

As I have mentioned before, my Mom is 87 years old and has been quilting since she was 13!!  She still enjoys doing hand work, but finds the planning and piecing a bit hard to do.

When I was visiting back in October, I found a “block of the month” quilt that she had started a long time ago.  She had appliqued three cute blocks but then had lost interest.   I told her how cute I thought they were and encouraged her to finish them up.  Well, a month later I received a package containing the following…..

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So now I have yet another UFO!!!!   I will start trying to come up with a quick, but effective method of turning these into a cute quilt!!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sewing again….finally

Well, it has been quite a while since I have either had time to quilt or had the desire to quilt!!!   I have definitely been in the doldrums when it comes to being creative!!

As a result, I have a large stack of partially finished projects that I should really be working on…..

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So when I finally found that the mood was on me, what did I do……started another project!!!

I had visited with our guild Charity Bee this past Wednesday and was handed some scraps of a cute “Rubber Ducky” fabric, and it got my creative juices to working.

I first picked out a few coordinating fabrics….

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And then set out to add strips to each of the rectangles to form a large block….

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….the next step was to cut out the blocks, setting each at a slight angle.  In order to get them all the same, I cut the first one and then put masking tape on top of the ruler…..

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When I had the top together I showed it to my husband, telling him that I needed to figure out a way to make it larger…….

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His first words were  “why don’t you put it at an angle”.    A PERFECT idea.   I first added a small border and then found the perfect green fabric to make the border from.  Fortunately, there was JUST enough to cut two wide strips and then cut the angled pieces….

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The final top is so cute and was just what I needed for a quick Saturday afternoon project…..

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The top will now be given to the charity group to be quilted and given to a needy child!!!

Maybe this will be the piece that primes the pump…..we will see!!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Words of advice from Lyric Kinard……

I subscribe to the Lyric Kinard newsletter and loved this post from her about creative slump……

“When you're in a Slump, you're not in for much fun.   Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.   You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.   Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Every once in a while you need a change of pace. You feel that you are in a slump, are feeling blue, or you’re just plain tired. Too many deadlines, too much pressure, too much on your plate. You feel creatively blocked. It happens to the best of us once in a while.

I believe it’s part of the process and part of life. Energy and enthusiasm can wax and wane.

It’s what you do with yourself once you hit that slump that matters.

The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping stone in the pathway of the strong. ~Thomas Carlyle

Go for a long walk. Breathe. Look up at the sky. Notice beautiful fallen leaves or fascinating cracks in the sidewalk. Take your camera. Getting out of your narrow environment and looking at the wider world can work wonders.

Try something new. Take a class in an unfamiliar medium. If you are struggling with portraiture, try a wild abstract. If your usual palette is earth tones, do a quick exercise using only saturated brights. If you only machine quilt, pick up a scrap of cloth and some embroidery thread and randomly stitch by hand for a bit.

Clean your space. Methodically clear the clutter away and make space for new ideas and new projects. You will find materials you had forgotten that will inspire you. Cleaning might also become more unpleasant than the making of art - so you’ll want to get back to it.

Wait. Sometimes, it is best to just wait it out - Continue to just keep doing. Let the ideas stew in your subconscious. Studies of creative people show that many brilliant ideas come not during the period of intense study, but in the quiet resting time afterwards when the ideas have had time to mix and mull in the unconscious.

Stop. Sometimes, if you are still blocked, it is time to make a change and leave what you were doing.

There is the possibility that you will emerge a different, a better artist. Don’t wallow or fret - slumping may be a natural part of your growth process. Look up, look out, grow!

I’d love to hear what you do to “un-slump” yourself.

All my best wished to you!
~Lyric


Lyric Kinard, Artist, Author, and educator, can be found at www.LyricKinard.com.
You can sign up for her monthly newsletter there.
© 2011 Lyric Montgomery Kinard. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

How to Face a Quilt

 

When I was at Arrowmont, Elizabeth Barton gave us a fantastic demonstration of a different method of facing a quilt.  I used this as I was finishing “Wheatley”.  Here are the steps……

  -  Cut four, 6 inch squares of the facing fabric.  Mark 2 inches in from opposing corners and free-hand cut an arc between the two marks…..

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    -  Cut a 3 inch strip  from the facing fabric.  Fold in half lengthwise and press.

  -  Measure the sides of the quilt and subtract 11 inches from the measurement.  cut the strips in lengths equal to this.

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  -  Lay out the facing as shown…..

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  -  Sew each of the pieces together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Note that the arcs are slightly longer than the strips.

  -  Place the pieced facing (face down)   on the top of the quilt and pin in place…..

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  -  Sew around all four edges and then clip the corners….. DSC01231

  -  Gently turn the facing to the back of the quilt….DSC01232

  -  Press the edges straight, turn under the bias curves, matching them to the pieced strips.  Pin in place and then stitch by hand…..

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The finished piece lies flat and the corners are square …..DSC01236

…..and it is SO SO SO SO easy to do!!!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How to hang a quilt….

 

I love to make wall hangings to give to friends and relatives, but I always worry about how they will hang them.  A few weeks ago, Susan Brubaker Knapp posted a tutorial on her blog about how to hang a quilt on a nail (just like a picture).  Here is my version ……

  -  Cut a piece of fabric that is the same width as the finished quilt and about 2/3rds of the length of the piece.

  -  Fold all four edges in 1/4 inch, the fold them again and stitch in place…..

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  -  Place the piece on the back of the quilt, approximately 1/2 inch from the edges and top.  Pin in place…..

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  -  Measure 1/3 of the way from the top of the finished quilt and draw two lines, one inch apart.  Repeat on both sides……

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  -  Hand sew around the sides and top of the sleeve, leaving the 1 inch area between the marks open.

 

  -  Cut a piece of foam core board slightly smaller than the width of the sleeve, and about 2/3rds of the length of the finished quilt. 

  -  Carefully insert the board into the sleeve making sure that it doesn’t bind or stretch the quilt.

  -  Insert a pencil in the openings on the side and mark the edge of the board…..

DSC01214 Use this mark as a reference for where to punch the hole.

  -  Remove the board from the sleeve and  use a needle to poke a hole thru the board.  I stuck a piece of Duct Tape on the front and back to reinforce the area….

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  -  Cut two pieces of picture wire, each the width of the piece.  Thread each piece of wire thru a hole and twist off the end to secure it.

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  -  Place the board back into the sleeve, running the wires thru the holes….

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Tie the wires together and twist the ends to finish….DSC01222 

Now it hangs easily on a single nail and is flat and square and makes a wonderful addition to my husband’s office!!!!

 

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