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."


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!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Using Scraps

The Postmark'd Art postcard trades are due by the end of next month.  I signed up for 3 themes this time, and had yet to make a single card.  All that changed, once I submitted Lesson #2 to Katie Pasquini Masopust.  I scooped up some of the leftover cuttings, and put them to use for my "Boats" postcards.

They will go into the mail tomorrow morning.

And now, it's time to think about Lesson #3.  yikes.  Time is slipping away, and I haven't yet picked fabric.  Better get to work!  Stay cool!  Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Pseudo-Finish

Lesson #2 of my Katie Pasquini Masopust class was due yesterday.  I've already received the assignment for Lesson #3.  oh my.  I was looking for something to spur me on, and this is absolutely doing it!

This is what I turned in at about 11pm last night:
I had planned to add more detail to the lifeguard tower, but now I'm having second thoughts.  The background is machine pieced, the people, tower, and sand are hand appliqued.  Yes, the small poles were tough, at just over 1/8" finished width.  Call me crazy.  I deserve it.

I didn't have time to quilt it, and don't know when I will.  Another baby is due in 2 weeks, as is Lesson #3.  This next lesson is going to be particularly challenging, because it is specifically ABSTRACT.  If you're familiar with my work, I just don't do abstract.  I wanted to be stretched, but I feel like I'm getting ready to be attached to the rack, a device of torture from Medieval times.  I'm not sure I wanted to stretch THIS much!  :)

In other developments, our new well is finally functional, and the walnuts are getting watered much more efficiently.  I talked to our farmer last week, and he said, "It's almost time for harvest!"  wow.  I guess harvest does start in September, so, wow.  Time passes SO quickly!!
Pretty soon, it will nuts to you!  woohoo!  :)