Sunday, September 18, 2016

Tulare County Fair

I spent a few hours at the TCFair on both Friday and Saturday.  I didn't venture out of the Home Arts building, just sat and hand-quilted with other Valley Oak Quilt Guild members.  We are an annual "display," filling a corner of the building.  I think we were probably the largest exhibit in the building, since the number of entries has dropped to next to nothing.  What once was a building stuffed to overflowing now echoes with the memories of past years.  I'm not sure on the numbers, but the quilt entries have been decimated.  It's not that people aren't quilting, it's that the Powers That Be have made entering more difficult and costly, with very little reward.

Because I have a decades-long fondness for the Fair, I entered three little quilts.  Really, I didn't have anything more to enter.  I've made a dozen baby quilts this year, but every one that has been finished has also been given away.  Here's what I had left:
 "Inspired by Oceanside," "Oceans," and "Wheel of Color."  Can you see how empty the room is?  There used to be cables strung across the building, draped with back to back quilts.  Now?  They've taken down half of the cables, and the remaining cables are for the most part empty.  How far we've fallen!  What a sad sad thing.  Also stunning is the lack of people.  The Fair had been open for hours when I took this picture.  Do you see anyone looking at the entries?  No?  I don't either.  :(
In other news, I finished another baby quilt.  It will go into the possession of FedEx tomorrow morning, chugging its way to Washington State.  Baby Travis is already 5+ weeks old.  How did that happen?!!
 You can't see the print in the overall photo.  It's a cute little Noah's Ark goes to the circus sort of design. I chuckle every time I look at it.
And that's what I've been up to this week.  Lesson #6 mocks me, as I know that I have a mere 4 days to throw it together.  My daughter and granddaughter will be visiting this weekend, and there's a bridal shower for my soon-to-be daughter-in-law.  Lots to do, and most of it does not involve my Bernina.  Better get a wiggle on!  :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

As Done As It's Going To Get...For Now

I am astounded by the work that I am producing in this class.  wow.  I didn't think the pots were distinct enough with my nose 18" from the quilt top, but in a photo?  I think I did all right.  wow.  The entire piece is hand appliqued, which makes me think that it needs hand quilting to complement it.  Or compliment it.  My hand quilting is better than my machine quilting, and this piece is only about 15" x 18" or thereabouts.  It shouldn't take forever to quilt, should it?

This is just the top.  I cropped the raw edges from the image.

If anyone is looking for a major challenge to get their creative juices flowing, I have to say that Katie Pasquini Masopust worked for me.  I never thought that I would still be hanging in there at Lesson #6, but here I am.  Six more weeks and three more lessons.  I got my money's worth way back on Lesson #2.  The rest?  It is icing upon icing upon icing on the cake.  Sweet!  :)

Then again, the next assignment is Abstract Landscape.  There's that "A" word again, the one that makes me cringe and want to curl up in a fetal position and suck my thumb.  Or not.  I do get a very visceral reaction to the word.  To say it's a struggle for me is to speak truth.  But to say that the struggle is good for me, is also to speak truth.  Let's hope I have something good to show for that enlightenment, when the next due date rolls around.  Goals are good!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Lesson #5

I seem to have fallen into a pattern with my Katie Pasquini Masopust class, and it's not necessarily a good one.  I develop an idea, I work feverishly on the idea, start chopping fabric and sewing...and then abandon the idea for a new one, with only a smattering of days left to complete it.  Lesson #5 is due tomorrow.

When last I left you, I was trying to make an iris in black and white.  This is what I had going:
 I came to the conclusion that I would never be happy trying to recreate nature in black and white.  It just wasn't working for me.  I went back to my photo folders, and found this pic, taken in Laguna Beach either last year or the year before.
 I cropped it, and made a new pattern.  This time, despite the time crunch, I am using only hand applique, not trying to piece it on the machine.  It's easier that way.
 This is what I had on Friday.  This morning, I'm down to cutting out two large pots, and sewing three together.  Oh, and the little table under the black pot in the center, that needs to be cut and sewn as well.  And I need to pick a background to set it on.
Working with black and white has proven to be a LOT more difficult than I expected.  I didn't think I'd like it, but I also did not think it would be such a challenge, especially using black and white prints.  I have a much greater appreciation for those who intentionally work in black and white, and do it successfully.  It's hard work!

And with that, I'd better get back to it.  Next time I check in, I expect the top to be finished.  Goals are good!  :)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Oh, Fiddle!

I tried fiddling with the header yesterday, and now I'm in a state of frustration.  I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to move the blog title, change the font size, or change the color.  If I could do that, I might be satisfied, but I can't, so, grrr.  SO frustrating!

Sorry about the gold on gold.  I can't seem to find my original image of More Glorious Than Solomon to revert to the green background, so gold on gold, it is. 

So much for trying to update.  I should have stuck with what worked.  grrr.  My apologies to those who find the change less than satisfactory. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

WooHoo! I'm a Winner!!

 A few weeks ago, Vicki Welsh, of Colorways by Vicki, had a week filled with daily giveaways.  I love reading her blog.  One day she's quilting, another day she's dyeing, another day she's doing glasswork, and on another day she's working on a full-wall mosaic.  Never a dull moment with her, that's for sure!  I had no expectations when entering the giveaway, but wow!  I won Monday's bonanza!  It arrived yesterday in my mailbox.  Thank you, Vicki!  Thank you SO much!!  :)

In other news, I'm working on Lesson #5 for my Katie Pasquini Masopust online class.  groan.  The current assignment is to be achromatic, i.e., all done in black and white and greys.  Not being a fan of b&w&g, this is really a struggle for me.  I began by choosing a photo, cropping it, and then drawing a pattern.
 Next, I made my freezer paper pattern, that I will use to cut pieces and follow to assemble the quilt.
 As I was working, I realized that what I really needed was another design wall.  I've been wanting one for a long time.  I went to Lowe's and bought some insulation.  It wasn't until I was cutting it that I realized I bought the wrong stuff.  What I wanted was foam sheathing.  What I purchased was styrofoam.  I didn't think it would make a difference, so I taped on the flannel surface.
 Here it is, looking beautiful.  Unfortunately, my pins do not like the styrofoam surface.  I am going to have to go back to the hardware/lumber store and find the right stuff.  I think I'll go to Home Depot, as I only saw styrofoam at Lowe's. 
At this point, I've got 1, 2, 3, 4...5 days left before my Lesson #5 deadline.  Today's job:  to see if I can cover the pattern with all of the cut pieces needed to complete the quilt.  On Monday, I thought I would make the iris grey and the backgrounds black and white.
 Once I had some of the background up, it was clear that it was a mess.  Yesterday, I tried to switch, using the black and white for the iris and grey for the background.  Neither is pleasing to me, but perhaps I'll be able to work through this and get the thing finished by Monday.
Goals are good!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Knock Off Another UFO

In the lull created by the completion of Lesson #4 and the contemplation of Lesson #5, it seemed like a good time to finish quilting a half-quilted baby quilt.  It's been pushed aside since when?  Probably November.  I don't do "modern" very well, and this was a half-hearted attempt. 
 I thought it would be fun to take pictures of it the way I used to.  Nice legs on that quilt holder, eh?  The top picture is of the front, the bottom is of the back.  I put together that pink color run, set in pink, back at Asilomar YEARS ago.  I'm glad to finally put it to use!
wow.  Afternoon lighting makes the yard look tropical.  It's actually mostly dry bark.  I kind of like the way it looks in these pictures.  It's all an illusion.

Finishing this one makes me feel worthy of the button Elaine bestowed upon me last week.  (She bought a variety for our little group, and let everyone else pick theirs.  Mine was assigned.  :)
 Yesterday as I was driving through Tulare, I saw 2 of these guys gliding over the corn.  Where did they come from?  Where were they going?  When I finally looked at the image on my computer, I was relieved to note that they have fans attached to their backsides...much better than thinking they'd jumped from an airplane!!
And that's all I've got for now.  I'm working on my pattern and have selected the fabrics for Lesson #5.  All I'll tell you at this point is that it's ACHROMATIC.  The lack of color is doing a number on me.  I've got 9 days to complete the top.  The clock is ticking!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Lesson #4 Complete

whew!  After ditching my original idea for Lesson #4 in the online Katie Pasquini Masopust class, I found myself with 4 days to work my second idea.  It went together fairly quickly, once I just started sewing.  The main idea of this assignment was disappearing lines.

For starters, I clicked through some photos from a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  I settled on this as my target image:
 I quickly pieced together the background, and started trying to make jellyfish without using transparent fabrics.  It was an immediate fail, so I pulled up this piece of inspiration in its place.
 I appliqued some kelp in the background, but it needed something more.  Last year, when we were in Oceanside, we(I) collected a bowl of mussel shells.  Perfect!
My son tells me that "Kelp is green, Mom," but I tell him he is WRONG.  I grew up fighting kelp in SoCal beaches, and it's always been that orangey-brown color, not green.  harumpf.  Anyway, this is what I came up with:
 I was particularly smitten with the mussel, and will be making some more in the not-too-distant future.  (The color of the full quilt is accurate.  The color of the detail is washed out.)
And in other sewing, I made a card for my husband's birthday, which he celebrated over the weekend.
He's into cows.  hubba hubba.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Now What?

I've got the house and hillside together, now to set it on fire.  Ideas #1 and 2 did not work.  On to option #3.  This is much bigger than intended, at 51 x 47".  yikes!  Then again, it was a very big house!  :)

If this doesn't work out, I'll still have 5 days to come up with another plan for Lesson #4.  oh my.  Goals are good, but this challenging lesson is a doozy!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Still Stitching

My threads came in from Superior Threads.  Their turn-around time for orders is pretty quick!  My first order was for all of the variegations of purple that I didn't already have in my thread box.  ooh!  aah!
 My next order was for all of the variegations of pink that I didn't already have.  Obviously I'm not so much a fan of the pinks, eh?
While I was waiting for the thread to arrive, I started to work on Lesson #4.  I've grabbed that idea, and I'm going with it, even if it doesn't work out well.  I'm in this to learn, and I'm guessing I'm going to learn more than a thing or two in the process.  I'm working off of a few photos of my grandfather's house, taken in 1979.
 I have very few photos of his house, though many, many memories.  He built it himself, back in the 50's, acting as contractor, and actually hiring a couple of people to help him.  I'm not sure how many houses he built for his family to live in.  This is the third that I know of.  Back then, you didn't need all that licensing and stuff, though he was a Mechanical Engineer.
 Here is the final house, with the garage, kitchen window, living room window, and bedroom windows.  It is not to scale, but it's the right color, and it's got the windows I remember.
The house was set back, in the hills of Malibu.  My grandfather used to stand at the picture window, looking out across the ocean.  He told me, "I stand here, and wonder, 'Is there a man in Japan, looking out his window at me?' "  Perhaps there was, though my grandfather was pretty much one of a kind.

I'm debating back and forth as to how much of the hill to include.  The house came out much bigger than I expected.  In reality, it was dwarfed by the hill it sat upon.  And the hill wasn't of that much interest.  It was primarily sagebrush, with palm trees (planted from seeds) lining the driveway. 

Well, that's it for now.  I'm lost on Memory Lane.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Quick Stitches

Birthdays and Anniversaries have come and gone this year with only rare acknowledgments sent on time.  I'm not sure what I've been doing, but I certainly haven't been keeping on top of things!  My dad's 88th birthday came this week, and I made myself sit down and sew him a card.  It went together easily enough, from the leftover background piecework from Lesson #3.  The shell and "sand dollar" had already been prepped and cast aside from a different project.
 My son and his wife had their second anniversary last month.  I'd pieced the background for this card back when I made the cow baby quilt, but it needed something special.  Ms. BoVine added just the right touch.  I hope they get a kick out of it like I did.  Either that, or they'll shake their heads and wonder what I was thinking.
Postmark'd Art is nearing the deadline for Round 25.  I've got until the end of September to get all of my cards sent.  I made my "Houses" cards yesterday, and sent them out in today's mail.  Notice anything familiar?
 I'm beginning to run out of tiny trim scraps from Lesson #2.  Nothing goes to waste around here, unless it's really waste!  :)
 I love these little houses!  I could have used them in that Lesson #3 abstract...except that I went with fish instead.  :)
And now, I'm working on Lesson #4.  I had an idea that I'd tossed around until Thursday, and decided that I really needed to get to work on it.  When I started drawing up a plan/pattern, I realized that there was no way I could do justice to the project within the time constraints.  I thought and thought and thought some more.  Then the sky turned orange, reflecting the fires that are burning the mountains surrounding our valley.  I had an Eureka! moment, and know exactly what I'm going to try to do for Lesson #4.  I started cutting and sewing this afternoon.  If I can get a couple of good chunks of time together, I might even get the top finished quickly enough to actually begin quilting it this time.  oh, yes, goals are good.  I can't wait to get started!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Pushing Through Barriers

As you probably know by now, I'm taking an online class with Katie Pasquini Masopust.  oh. my. goodness.  Does that woman love to issue a challenge!!  Eight lessons, sent out every two weeks.  Not only are we challenged quiltily, we're challenged by time management.  The past two weeks have been filled with thoughts of both, as I've struggled to complete Lesson #3.

What was my barrier?  It was to be an ABSTRACT creation, within certain color and composition parameters.  You may have noticed by my sidebar of quilts:  I don't do abstract.  Or Abstract.  And especially not ABSTRACT. 

This was my first move:
 I knew I wanted a pale background, but the foreground?  What to do?  "Organic Shapes," that's what.  I cut the green fabric so that little parrots are featured in the wobbles.  But there were to be primary shapes and secondary shapes.  I wanted something vertical, so I cut some strips.
 I thought the snowflake-cut flowers were going to be in the final quilt, but no, they just didn't work.  I had a great time piecing the "negative space" of the background.  But the foreground?  The primary composition?  Not so easy.  By Saturday, I was ready to just sew it together, to meet Monday's deadline.
Notice that the flowers ended up as fishies?  A friend said they look like Goldfish crackers.  hahaha!!  They do, don't they?  I'd actually put the second one "tail up" because I thought it looked a bit like an ancient Greek vase shape.  However, it still reads as fish.  Funny, right?

I've already received my critique, and once again it was really encouraging.  My favorite line had to be, "I usually don't like big outer borders, but the blue of the outer border really gives everything an underwater feel so it works in this instance."

wow.

The dark green middle border is a bit messed up.  I'd forgotten that I'd cut the strips as possible vertical inserts in one of my original design attempts, and they are all different widths.  I realized that as I was sewing them on at 11pm Sunday evening, so I just went with it.  Now I'm thinking that I should go back, trim them all to the same width, and then put the outer borders back on.  If I do that, I might actually finish the piece.  whew!

With Lesson #3 down, Lesson #4 is already in my inbox.  I'm moving down this road of creativity whether I want to or not.  I can't believe how good it feels to consistently be making fabric art.  woohoo!

In the meantime, I've pieced another baby quilt, for a baby that arrived a week early.  But I'm not caught up, not by a long shot, because last night, I found out that another veterinary wife is due in 6 weeks. 

Sew faster!  Sew faster!!
Goals are good.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Delicious Color

Hancocks of Paducah sent me an email advertising a $6.99/yard sale.  With free shipping included for a $70 purchase, well, I was hooked.  The batik fabrics arrived last week.  Aren't they yummy?
 The guidelines for Lesson #3 arrived.  I will be working with 2 cool colors and 1 warm.  Isn't it funny to see that it's the same color scheme that arrived on my doorstep?  I've since swapped the yellow greens (too warm) for blue greens.  All of the super-dark fabrics are actually blues.
I really should be working on Lesson #3, but instead, I've been doing some hand applique.  Penny's Pinwheel is still on my portable design wall, and I am gradually piecing the back of her jacket.  I am hopeful that I will have the quilt top done by the end of the year.

I also made some more very skinny strips for railings on the Lesson #2 lifeguard tower.  Perhaps I'll get the top finished this weekend, and be able to quilt it soon.  Goals are good, and the cooler weather this week is truly helping me move towards them.  Happy Stitching!