Monday, June 29, 2015

Out and About

Over the weekend, hubby and I celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary.  oh. my. goodness.  How did we get to be so old?!  He indulged me with a week at the beach, and he's actually come a long way in learning to enjoy it.  He's more of a mountains/river guy, but this year?  The mountains are too dry, and the rivers...hard to enjoy.  And so, it's beach for the both of us, and I'm not the only one smiling.  See?
There was a roving photographer at our lunch destination, and we took her up on her offer of a "free photo."  The first one was awful - who were those old people?!! - but when I told her it was our anniversary, she ushered us out to the harbor for something special.  This one is a keeper.

We've been walking the beach, miles each day.  Hubby is getting his exercise, I stop every few steps to watch a surfer or a bird, or to pick up a shell or stone, or to snap a photo of this that or the other thing.  Here are a few examples:  This guy had a fan strapped to his backside, and he was buzzing back and forth past where the surfers hang out.  If he went down, it would not be good.
 This gull was one of the most regal I've seen.  Most of them remind me of flying rats.  I'm not usually a fan.
 The pelicans trade off lifeguard duty.  Some are banded, some are not.  That's how we know they're taking turns.
And then there is the worry about poachers.  Apparently it's a problem.  (Check that bird's beak!  I think he's an offender!)
 I only brought along handwork.  This old quilt top, which I bought and began quilting back in the mid-90's, is almost finished.
 See?  I'm down to the last corner.  woohoo!
And finally, I've got to share some of my sunset shots.  On our anniversary, evening we were out for a stroll.  The photo ops just kept on coming.
 There was the distant sailboat, and the lifeguard tower.
 But I think our favorite was the chairs/umbrellas tableau.  The furniture was up for a couple of days, and then it disappeared.  Simply lovely.
The best part of the beach escape is that at home, they're in the midst of a 100+ heat wave.  I think it was supposed to last 12 days, but I haven't even looked at the forecast.  I'm just assuming it's been horrendously hot, and I am not.  Whatever it takes, to survive another summer.  :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

More Postcards

Over the weekend, I worked on another batch of postcards, for the Postmark'd Art exchange.  My theme?  "Single Color."  The colors were not assigned, we got to choose our own.  I thought an idea would come easier than it did, silly me.  :)

I was originally going to do blue, then turquoise, but with the weather we've been having?  I went with yellow, and thought, "SUN!" as I cut and stitched and tried to empty my box of yellow scraps.  Here is the result:
 First I selected all of the background scraps, and cut the sun shape.  For some reason, I already had the center circles marked on scraps.
 Once all the scraps were in place, I fused them down.
 Next, I stitched down the "suns."  I spiraled around the centers, then quilted the petals a bit like a spirograph.  Do you remember those?  I just went around and around, making points here and there, skipping a few on each go-around.
 Next, I quilted the backgrounds, to secure them in place, then I added two sides of lace, to perk them up a bit.
 Last step?  I fused on the back, picked some yellow rattail, and zigzagged twice around the perimeter.  The next thing I knew, I'd finished the cards and was ready to address them.  Easy peasy, though a bit time-consuming.
The other thing I did yesterday, was track down my baby book.  Of course it was in the last place I thought to look.  All of the pictures posted on Facebook for Father's Day made me want to find that one photo of me and my dad.  I was 6 weeks old, in a swimsuit, on his lap, at Santa Monica beach.  But I can't find the photo anywhere.  I'm not sure where I've put it.  But I found this one, that I don't remember ever seeing.

huh.  For some reason, Blogger has put itself into a tailspin, and can't seem to upload the photo.

I guess it will have to wait until next time.

Oh, and one more thing.  I'm not sure if you noticed, but a few months ago, I added a "follow by email" widget on my sidebar.  If you enter your email address, my new posts will automatically pop up in your inbox.  I've been signing up for a number of different blogs, and it saves lots of time.  No longer do I have to remember to check them, to find out if there's anything new.  Love it!

Okay, it's been 10 minutes, and the photo-uploader still isn't working.  maybe next time.  Happy Quilting!

Friday, June 19, 2015

How I Did That

I frequently have people ask, "How did you do that?" regarding one project or another.  Today, I sat down to make a batch of Spring-themed postcards.  I thought it might be prudent to photo-document the process, just in case someone wants to know "how I did that."

I started with my postcard-making box.  Here are the photos AFTER I have pored through and straightened the contents.  I cut the fusible peltex into 4x6" "blanks," almost as soon as I buy it.  This saves time when I'm ready to sit down and make postcards.  To the side are some 4x6" pieces of batting, and muslin, in case I want to do crazy quilting or poofy quilting on the postcard.
 I sorted my scraps into colors.  I forgot to take this picture right after sorting, so I've already taken out the larger chunks of green.
The first thing I did was to fuse the scraps onto one side of the peltex.
 Next, I stippled them in place, using green thread on top, and white thread in the bobbin.
 Once the base is secure, I'm ready to start playing.
 I bought this stiff green "lace" at a quilt show last year.  I thought it would add interest to the card, so I stitched around the edges, again with green on top, and white in the bobbin.
Next, I fussy cut some birds, from a fabric purchased with this task in mind.
 When the bird was where I wanted it, I raw-edge stitched it in place, then repeated the same on the other cards.
 At this point, the tops look finished to me.  I can't think of anything else to add, so I cut backs, again 4x6".  It is best to use a very light-colored, barely printed fabric, so that the address will show up when you write it on.  Or, you can use address labels.  I happen to think handwriting is a bit more personal.
 The bottom card shows the back fused in place.
The last step is to finish the edges.  I chose a green yarn, and a variegated green Valdani thread for the task.
 Laying the yarn alongside the postcard, and using a walking foot, I zigzagged the edge of the card, being careful to catch the yarn in the stitch.  A stiletto is useful to guide the yarn as close to the edge as possible.
 I zigzag the edges a second time, using a slightly wider and slightly shorter stitch.  At the corners, I stitch to the edge, then backstitch 2-3 stitches, pivot, stitch forward, backstitch, then stitch forward to the next corner.  I like the smooth turn that backstitching gives to the corner.
 When I am finished, this is what the back looks like.  It can be addressed like any other postcard, though it takes about 71 cents to mail it.  (That's a forever stamp, plus the "special handling" fee.)  The price has increased since I last mailed a postcard, so I'm a bit fuzzy on the cost.
 Finally, this is what my finished "Spring" cards look like.
Why did I make these cards?  Oh!  They are for a postcard exchange with Postmark'd Art.  I have until August 31 to complete the trades that I signed up for.  One down, two to go.

Happy stitching!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


I think the little starfish quiltlet is finished.  I've considered adding a fish or two, but really, this quilt is about the starfish.  Fish beads or buttons would distract from the star of the show, don't you think?
 "Star of the Show"
5" x 8.5"
Suzanne Kister, 2015

Here's a close-up.  Once I'd done the embroidered seaweed, I added some shredding.  I don't know what else to call it.  It's the threads that shred from fabric, when you pre-wash it.  I've been saving them for a while, and love putting them to use.  Once that was in place, I dug into my shell/ocean-themed goodie box, and started stitching.
So there you go, a quick and easy project, that was finished in less than a week.  Really, it was probably finished in less than 6 hours.  Piece of cake!

And now, I'm on to the next thing.  HappyQuilting!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Progress Report

The tidepool quiltlet has moved forward a bit.  First I trimmed the stabilizer, hoping that I'd get a bit more loft when I quilted it.
 Then I layered it with a scrap of cotton batting,
 And quickly, I quilted it, going around the seaweed and the starfish, and then filling in the background.
Then I trimmed and squared it.
 Oh, doesn't it look nice?!
 You can see the quilting on the back.  Not too shabby.
Then I faced it.  Here, you can see the four pieces of facing, as I'm preparing to tack them down.
 It's so cute!  As you can see, it's not overly large.
 Next up:  Embellishment.  I've got my initial selections picked out.  Now, to pick up a needle.
In other news, my Shutterfly book has arrived.  I'm so excited!  Well, I was REALLY excited, until I realized I hadn't gone over the fonts carefully enough.  I meant to enlarge them on every page, but only remembered on the first few.  Also, some of the text is printed in black.  I thought I'd changed it all to white.  But other than that, and a few not-quite-perfect photo choices, I love it!
 The cover should have had the title in all caps.  oops.  And my name should be white.  oops again.
 I focused on pictures of ocean inspiration, more than I did the quilts.  I snuck in a few finished quilts, as well as a few that are not yet finished.
 The next to the last page looks unbalanced.  After 3.5 hours of working on the book, and the looming expiration of the coupon, I decided, "How bad can it be?"  It's not bad, but it's definitely not best.
I'm now debating whether to do this one over again, only with the changes I'd wish to see, or to start on the next one.  Any guesses as to what book 2 will showcase?  If you're thinking "Garden-Inspired Quilting," you might be right.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Bits and Pieces

Well, well, well.  This week, I actually spent some quality time with my sewing machine.  The number one challenge was to test-sew a pattern for a friend.  I finally finished yesterday.  whew!  This is Charlotte's Hawaiian Bag, pattern to be available sometime soon.
 It is big, and roomy, and can carry a large quilt, or knitting, or anything you like.  The side-ties allow for lots of expansion.  There are also two inner pockets, for those things that tend to drop to the bottom.
A second project that I tackled was a box of scraps that my sister gave me a few Christmases ago.  They don't match anything in my stash, so I've kept them aside, waiting for just the right project.  That project appeared this week.  I decided to recover a chair.  I should have taken a "before" picture, with the original green vinyl seat.

I started by sorting fabrics.  These are what remain.  I may or may not have enough for the second chair.
 Here is a test, to see if the top is big enough to cover the seat.
 Here it is quilted, and stapled in place.  Joann's sells a chair foam pad, that is perfect for this sort of project.  I bought two, so that if/when I get to the other chair, I'll be able to finish it in a similar manner.
I had a bit of time yesterday afternoon, and didn't want to start anything big.  I've had this little piece bouncing around my Studio for quite a while, and finally figured out just what I wanted to do with it.
 I fussy cut a piece of seaweed and a starfish, from a couple of fabrics in my stash.
 I raw-edge stitched the seaweed in place.  It doesn't need to be perfect.  It's seaweed!  I also cut out some wool batting, to make the starfish a bit poofy.
 I used a sew-in interfacing as a stabilizer for the thread-sketching on the seaweed.  It sewed like a dream.  I used sulky 40wt rayon thread.
I was so pleased with the result, that I decided to stitch down the starfish as well.  This is the before, with the piece in place, on top of the wool.
 And here it is, hand-appliqued.  Some of the white background is peeking out, but I'm not worried about that.  I expect to add a lot of embellishment to this quilt, once it's quilted.  I don't think the white will be an issue at all.
And that's what happened in the Studio this week.  I hope your week has been equally or even more productive!