Monday, August 29, 2011

Wedding Quilt - He's Still the One!

Today is our anniversary.  When Shania Twain released her CD Still the One, Gary bought it for me for our anniversary.  It's still true.

We were told when we got our marriage license that it was one of the last of the pretty ones being issued.  I think it is pretty.  This has always been one of my favorite wedding pictures.

Getting the license was a challenge.  We were being married in Logan County.  I lived in Tazwell County and Gary lived in Mason county.  This was when males were not considered adults until they were 21.  We were 18 so had to have one of his parents consent plus consent from the county he lived in to be married in another county.  Oh, did I mention the church was just two blocks from the county line?  The town was divided down the middle with half in Mason County and half in Logan County. Weird, huh?  So we ran all over the country to get permission to be married!  At least we got a beautiful license and have had a beautiful life together!

We received two quilts for the wedding.  The first was from my mom and has been worn out, but parts of it still exist as I made Christmas stockings and the skirt of an angel from the "good" parts.  It was a mostly pink lone star with a ruffle around the edge.  At Christmas I'll show you one of the stockings, but I'm not digging through the boxes in August!

The second quilt was made by Lena Higendorf Arnold -- Gary's grandmother.  I'm sure it was quilted by the ladies at the Lutheran church where Gary's grandmother quilted in a bee each week.

This is Gary's grandmother going through the receiving line.  I love this picture.  I think it is the only one we have of his grandmother. She made the most awesome ginger cookies!  She always wore her hair in a bun.  It must have been quite long hair, but I never saw her with it down.  You have to love grandmothers -- they are just sweet!

We used this quilt a lot.  The binding is worn.  The pattern is called "honey bee".  Appropriate for a wedding quilt, don't you think?  Oh, did you notice it has YELLOW in it?  Woo Hoo!  Even Gary's grandmother knew I love yellow!

Here is a close up of one block and the quilting.  It was, of course, hand quilted.  It would have been sacrilege at that time to machine quilt.

So there you have it.  Our wedding quilt, along with the marriage has survived the times!

Is there a wedding quilt in your future?  Did you receive a quilt for your wedding?

Until next time -- quilt 'til you wilt (which won't take long as it will be 111 degrees today!)


Monday, August 22, 2011

Rooster Tale

When in Maryland several years ago, I found these wonderful tea towels in a little shop that I could have spent hours in!

I think they were the beginning of my love of cobalt blue roosters.  I love the french coq au vin title.  I even love the fact that they are not quite the same blue.

Later in another state, I found this mosaic made from broken china with a cobalt blue rooster in the center.  Well, how could I resist adding this to my "collection"?

Though not cobalt blue, this little weather vane candle holder seems to fit in with the other roosters.

Of course, you have already seen the white ceramic rooster when I showed you Sheila's table runner.

This isn't such a great picture of him since the focus was the table runner.  In fact none of these photos are as good as I like as they are all straight off the camera except for this one.  I usually run photos through PhotoShop Elements to "clean them up" a bit, but time got away from me and it just didn't get done for this post.

Everyone has to have a cookie jar, right?  So why not one with a cobalt rooster on it?

That brings me to my latest little project.  While cleaning out old magazines I found some pillows that had wonderful roosters on them.  I knew that the graphics had to be available on the Internet as free downloads and I was correct! 

Hmm, I'm pretty sure I had the flash on, these look quite washed out.  Usually I shoot photos in natural light.  Sorry about that! 

Anyway, I downloaded the graphic, put it in PhotoShop to color it cobalt blue and then printed it on T-Shirt transfer paper.  After cutting the rooster and the background out close to the edges, I ironed it onto canvas fabric left over from some slipcovers I made a while back.  Then the blue and white checked fabric left over from a window treatment in the Alabama house was added.  Usually I add piping or cord to the outside of a pillow, but that would have meant having some on hand which I didn't.  Instead, after stitching the front and back of the pillow together, I stitched very close to the edge to make a sharp edge.  The back is the same blue check fabric with a zipper added for ease in cleaning the pillow when necessary. The next one I make, I'll do a tutorial so you can "see" the process.

The pillow form had been purchased with a 40% off coupon from Hobby Lobby.  So with all the left over from other projects fabric and T-shirt transfer paper I already had on hand, this was a fast and really inexpensive addition to the family room.

So now that I've shown you my little obsession  collection, what things have you almost accidentally started collecting?  The roosters have been fun and I see a LOT more pillows added to the accessories.  In fact, the old church pew needs to be re-accessorized, but that's another blog.

Until next time -- keep creating!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Still Life

Since it is still technically Summer even with the kiddos all back in school -- at least here in AZ -- I thought you might like to see this still life quilt done a while back.  Far enough back that I had not started using paint to enhance shading in my quilts, so I'm thinking it needs to be "fixed".

This was from a class I was lucky enough to be invited to attend.  Another chapter of the AZ Quilter's Guild was hosting the teacher and it was supposed to be for that group, but they had an opening or two and I got to take it.

We were to bring a photo either our own or of a completed art piece.  Not wanting to challenge the copyright laws, I chose a photo in the encyclopedia (remember those?) from an artist who lived long enough ago that the copyright law did not apply to her work.

The only shading is either creative use of the fabric or from the satin stitching around the edge.  We projected the image onto a wall where our batting was taped and "rough cut" the pieces.  I learned I did not like this method.  Later pieces where I projected an image onto the wall, there was poster board or freezer paper to use as templates.  That method, for me anyway, worked better.  It gave me more accuracy than the method used in this piece.

Bridal tulle and beads are used to give a more opaque look to the bowl.

You can see the selective use of fabrics particularly on the cherries.

Finding enough variation for the green grapes wasn't easy -- one place the paint accents would have helped.

I did like the fabric making the peach look very ripe as well as the marble for the table top.  Again, I see places that I may go back and add some paint for shading.

The strawberries needed more variation in the reds and there is definitely a need for more shading on the bowl. 

My apologies for the fuzzy image -- must have been a little close for the camera setting.  You can see the addition of the beads for the strawberry seeds, though.

So that is the still life.  Parts of it I like, and parts need to be improved.

What I learned --
  • I was not fond of the technique we used in class -- you can modify techniques to suit the way you like to work
  • Fabric can be used to create at least part of the shading
  • What you bring to class may not be what you need at all
  • Paint and beads and specialty fabrics can do a lot to create the effect you want
  • You can always go back and add paint and embellishments, even to a finished piece
As long as you learn something -- even one thing -- in a class you have gained knowledge that can be used in later pieces to make them better.

What have you learned in one class that made your later pieces better?

Have you noticed that sometimes what you intend to learn in a class is not what you do learn?

Sometimes you learn just watching what the other students are doing with their pieces.

Until next time,

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Vine & Stars Progress

The vine and stars quilt top is still in the works as well as the stacked bricks.  Although, I don't work on this one as much.  Since the stars are being hand pieced, I work on them only when I'm sitting which doesn't seem to happen all that often when I'm home.  Of course, I do sit at the sewing machine.  It's dark when I leave for work so no sewing in the morning.  I can read when it's not quite so light, but sewing with black thread on a black fabric -- not so good!

This is how you saw it last.  There were a few stars done.  Actually there are 4 strips with vines and leaves.  There just isn't room on the edge of the design wall for all of them with the Stacked Bricks quilt up there too. 

I haven't decided on the layout of the stars.  With this on-point layout it will only take 55 stars.  But it will also take at least 111 setting triangles.  I'm not sure there is enough of the black I purchased when I started this quilt to do those plus the corner triangles and all of the 55 blocks. 

So I put the star blocks straight.  It will take a LOT more star blocks to set them straight.  Probably about 20 more.  I haven't really done the math yet.  Which do you like best?

The brighter stars work better, too.  There is a love rust on black star that doesn't show up much from a distance as the values are too close.  Up close, it is a lovely block.  It is the second from the bottom on the photo previous to this one. See?  It just disappears!  I'll be more careful of the values from now on!

It's been a busy weekend with two grand kids spending Friday night and most of Saturday with us.  We love having them here, but it sure does cut the time for getting things done down to almost none!  How did I get the stuff done when our own 3 kids were around full time?  Hmm, I even baked all the bread then, too.  Of course, I didn't work full time away from home.

Hope you had time to do something creative this weekend.

We haven't had any rain.  It's still hot and a bit on the humid side.  I do wish it would just start to rain.  We sure need it!

Until next time,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stacked Bricks - Progress

The weekend was so busy I didn't get a chance to post the progress on the stacked bricks quilt top as intended.  Time!  There is so little of it available!  I know, I know, everyone gets 24 hours a day, it just seems like less.

Four of the rows of bricks are stitched together and ready.  Four more to go.

You can see that the fifth row has been started.  You can also see that the rows where the bricks have not been stitched together are longer than the design wall.  It is interesting to put rows together this way.

The end bricks need different sized triangles to "stop" the row as well as an angled off brick.  This reminds me of really neat brick sidewalks.  European sidewalks are the best!

Do you like the red strips to separate the rows?.  I'm sure another color would work as well, but next to blue and yellow in quilts, I LOVE red in quilts.  In fact I think I've made at least 7 quilts or quilt tops that are red and white/ecru/tan or red and green on a neutral background -- maybe more than that, but that's all I could think of.

So what do you think so far?  There will also be narrow red strips around the outside edge in addition to the separators and another larger border around that.  The last border fabric?  I'm not sure what that will be.  I do hope there is something in my stash that will work, though.  I'd love this to be an all stash quilt.

Progress is also being made on the vine and star quilt, but that's for another post.

So, how have you been?  What are you working on?  I'd love to hear from you, too!

Until next time,

Monday, August 1, 2011

Blog on Fire

I was totally blown away to given the Blog on Fire Award by Katherine over at amateur librarian ! In fact, I didn't even know such an award existed!

It is so nice to see that people are actually reading about my quilts and other good things.

Apparently part of the challenge is to write seven random things about myself, so here goes:

  1. My favorite coffee is Starbucks.  We grind the beans ourselves at home so as to have a fresh pot of coffee.
  2. My favorite thing to do is make quilts -- no surprise there, right?
  3. I once got run over with my own car.  I know, hard to believe, but it CAN be done.
  4. My favorite book series are written by Joanne Fluke, Diane Mott Davidson, Sue Grafton and Tess Gerritsen.  There are others, but those are my faves.
  5. I'm always working on at least 3 projects (quilts) at a time.  Currently it is four.
  6. I'm a Midwest born girl.  I still miss it -- especially the change of seasons.
  7. We have 3 kids, 11 grand kids and 1 great grand child.  It's a wild time at holidays and ye, they will all fit in the house at once, it just takes at least 3 tables for a sit down meal!
Now, I get to give the award to others.  The suggestion is 10.  I probably do follow 10 blogs.  Many don't know who I am, but I do love their blogs and read them whenever I get a chance.

1.  Lorinda at News from Lorinda A friend for a long time. The author of Heartfelt Applique
2.  Jo at Joquilter Another long time friend who has a quilt shop in Bellevue, IA
3.  Bonnie at Bonnie B's Blog Yep, another long time friend who is a quilter and is the Show Director for the American Quilt Society shows.
4.  Bonnie at Quiltville's Quips & Snips This is Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville's blog.  I've never met Bonnie, but I know she would be a friend if we ever met.
5. Julie at JulieKquilts  I've only met July online, but I know we'd be fast friends if we ever meet in person.  She's a nurse and a wonderful quilter.

I'm sure if I thought about it I could come up with more to give the blog on fire award to.  Many of the blogs I read have already received awards for one thing or another.  I like the idea of bloggers giving awards to other bloggers who may or may not have a readership of thousands.

In fact I like the idea of friends giving other friends awards for just being who they are -- friends -- bloggy friends or not. So you , my friend, are awarded the Friend on Fire award just for stopping by!

Until next time,