Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Little More Christmas

Welcome back!  Here are a few more photos of our home at Christmas. . .

And thank you so much for all of your lovely comments, e-mails, and holiday wishes!  I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas holiday and may you cherish the time with your family and friends!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015!

Merry Christmas everyone!  Hope you are in the holiday mood by now, we are officially less than a week away!  It certainly creeps up on us quickly, doesn't it? 
There are so many beautiful homes on blog tours right now, I have enjoyed seeing how others decorate during the holidays.  I love seeing the creativity, talent and originality these women express through their homes.  Their inspiration is just what I needed to get in the holiday mood myself.  Since I haven't done a bit quilting in several weeks (and have nothing new in the way of quilts to share), I thought I would share some photos of our home with you.  Enjoy!

I will share the rest of the photos in my next blog post.  Until then, thank you for stopping by and Merry Christmas! 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Hope you are ready for the holiday weekend, it certainly snuck up quickly this year. Up until today, we have been having July-like weather which has made any holiday prep hard to get excited about.  But we finally have more "fall like" weather for Florida, below 75 degrees, and it is a welcome change!
I am actually ahead of schedule for a change.  I have been cleaning my house over the last couple of weeks to get a jump on the to-do list before the holidays.  What a great feeling to be done with all of it.  The grocery shopping is completed, the dining table is set, and the kitchen prep will begin on Wednesday.

Over the last month or so I have been tackling my endless list of DIY projects.  We needed additional seating in our dining room for the holidays and my husband found four of these chairs at a Good Will store for only $5.00 each!  You can see they were originally Harvest Gold circa 1968!  The fabric on the seats was even uglier.  But with several coats of white paint and a pretty blue stripe fabric, I transformed them into something that will work for us as well as blend in with our existing dining d├ęcor. 
I haven't done a whole lot of sewing but I did finish one quilt top since my last post, a simple red and white nine-patch snowball quilt. 
I got so inspired to make this quilt after I received the book, Red &White Quilts Infinite Variety.  If you haven't gotten your copy of this fabulous book yet, definitely put this at the TOP of your wish list, it is by far one of the best quilt books EVER!  I take it to bed with me at night and drool over this fabulous quilt collection, (then dream about the quilts!).  This isn't a "how-to" or instructional quilt book, but it is probably the best I have seen as far as photos, with over 653 pictures of the quilts.  Incredible doesn't begin to describe it!  It will inspire you beyond belief, every quilter needs this book! 
My only red room in my house is our laundry room, so eventually I want to make several crib-size red and white quilts for in there.  Of course, I will also use them at Christmas, too! 
In the evenings I have been trying to work on projects to reduce my boxes of 1 1/4" fabric strips.  The fabric hoarding is getting out of control!  This locker-hooked rag rug was made from all the leftovers from the log cabin quilt I made my husband last year.  Since his study is the only room in our house that has darker colors in it, I knew the likelihood of making other quilts with these was slim.
It worked out perfectly since his study has an exterior door that opens onto our back porch, and the colors match his eclectic taste and things that he likes to collect.  And the best part is, it used up over 10 yards of fabric!
I also finished up a small hexagon flower quilt top I've been English paper-piecing for awhile now.  This is made only from small bits of scraps from my scrap bins, I did not cut into yardage at all for this.  It was a blast to make, I absolutely love doing the hand piecing.  I took it with me everywhere, in the car, on the plane, in hotel rooms, in front of the television in the evenings.  Before you know it, you have hundreds of these little flowers made.     
I still need to quilt it, but in the mean time, it hangs proudly with some of my other vintage quilt tops.  And it the colors blend perfectly!
So that brings you up-to-date on some of what I've been up to.  And once Thanksgiving is over, we will be jumping head first into Christmas decorations!  But I WILL NOT be hitting the Black Friday sales, that is one thing I definitely choose to steer clear from.
Here's to wishing each and every one of you a wonderful, safe and Happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones, family and friends!  Cheers!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Grandmother's Cabin

I finally finished my quilt last week, Grandmother's Cabin, and thought I would share some photos with you, since I know I am long overdue for an update.  Some of these pictures are before I put the binding on, some are with a different camera so colors may vary, but you get the idea. 
I had hoped I'd finish it long before now, but a few of life's interruptions during the month of September pushed my finish date up a bit further than I originally planned.  However, I was still able to meet a deadline I had set for entering it into several shows coming up, so on that note, I am quite pleased it is done and ready to send off into the quilt show world.
"Grandmother's Cabin"
I made the top back in 2012 and it has been sitting in a closet waiting to be quilted up until a couple of months ago.  I knew I wanted a lot of quilting on it, but really wasn't certain as to how elaborate I wanted it to be.
The log cabin blocks were foundation-pieced on paper.  The hexagon flowers were made using the English paper-piecing method.  The Dresden plates and the hexagon flower vine are all hand-appliqued.  This is only the second quilt I have ever hand-appliqued.
Since the quilt is so busy visually with so many pieces and such a wide variety of different fabrics, I decided to keep the quilting clean and simple with lots of grid quilting and straight lines.  Although though there is still a ton of quilting, it tends to play a more supportive "background" role instead of obliterating the details of the quilt itself.   This is also the first time I have used a wool batting, which is Hobb's Tuscany Wool.  The top thread is Wonderfil Invisafil 100 weight and the bobbin thread is Wonderfil DecoBob 80 weight.  The quilt finishes at 91 inches square, the log cabin blocks are 9 inches and the border is approximately 9 1/2 inches wide.
I did mark every single line with a fine-tipped water-soluble blue pen.  The grid lines are a half-inch apart and all of the lines were quilted with free-motion quilting.  The only thing I used the walking foot on is the narrow cable in the border.  The log cabin blocks are free-motion quilted in the ditch, spiraling out from the center by quilting in the seam line of each strip.

My inspiration for this quilt came from my infatuation with traditional quilts from the 1930s.  After I finished the log cabin blocks and was deciding on a border, I got the idea to combine a couple of classic quilt motifs that are easily recognizable into a single quilt to pay tribute to the 30s era as well as to our grandmothers that made them.  Since I also love scrap quilts as well as collecting fabrics that are reminiscent of the Depression Era, I challenged myself to use as many fabrics in the quilt as possible.  I kept the overall values on the lighter side in order to evoke a sense of the pastel, candy colors associated with that time period.  This is an original design and there is no pattern available.

And finally I would like to send out a big thank you to all of you who have been e-mailing me as to my whereabouts, your various questions, and the lovely comments I receive on my tutorials.  I am so flattered and appreciative of all the e-mails, as well as being overwhelmed at the interest in my work.  You never really know how many people you reach when you blog, but I will say that the response from all of you is very gratifying and I wish there was a way I could meet you all in person to say thanks from the bottom of my heart!  Until next time. . . Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Southern Accents Exhibit Part 2 of 2

Welcome back!  Here is part two of the Southern Accents Exhibit at the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts in Melbourne, Florida, which ends this Saturday, August 22nd, 2015.  Once again, the following quilts are just some of what I thought was of interest and inspiring.
Sunshine State of Mind by Susan Rienzo of Vero Beach, FL
cotton fabric, batting, fabric dye crayon
Sunshine State of Mind (detail)

Jazz Rhythms by Cindy Grisdela of Reston, VA
cotton & batting

Jazz Rhythms (detail)
Anemone 2 by Maya Schonenberger of Miami, FL
fabrics, printed material, papers, paints, layered fabrics & papers

Anemone 2 (detail)

Butterfly Memories by Nancy Kay Smith of Belleview, FL
batik panels, cotton fabric, wool batting

Butterfly Memories (detail)
This next piece is a tribute to Ernest Hemingway.  It was so unusual and so well done, the pictures don't do it justice.  I was juggling two different cameras to capture the detail but the lighting wasn't the best for photography, so the camera didn't capture the three dimensional quality of the piece. 
A Note from Papa H by Jayne Bentley Gaskins of Fernandina Beach, FL
cotton broadcloth, thread, cotton batting, polyester stuffing
The hand and postcards were stuffed and came out of the background as if they were coming towards you.  Everything except the background image of the typewriter was free-motion embroidered or thread-painted down to the detail in the stamps, it was truly amazing. 

A Note from Papa H (detail)

A Note from Papa H (detail)
Dead Ladies Doilies by Sandra T. Donabed of Jupiter, FL
vintage and found lace tablecloths, dresser scarves, doilies, handkerchiefs, linens, repurposed crochet doilies and other lace items
Dead Ladies Doilies (detail)
This last piece was probably my favorite.  To actually see a work by Jane Burch Cochran up close and in person made my week!  She has been one of my favorite art quilters for over 20+ years but I had only seen her work in books up until now.  Her quilts remind me of old crazy quilts but are personal stories about her life.  I love her collection of found objects and they way she combines things, it appeals to the magpie in me!  Her work is such an inspiration for all of that "stuff" we hoard!  Sorry for so many photos, but I wanted you to appreciate all that is in this quilt.
And Then I Was the Only One Left by Jane Burch Cochran of Rabbit Hash, KY
fabric, upholstery samples, gloves, buttons, beads, cloth flowers, sequins, trims, words stamped with acrylic paint and ink, yo-yos

I hope that may have inspired you to travel to a gallery or museum in your area or even to expand your own quilt making in some new creative ways!  Happy Quilting!