Thursday, December 29, 2016

" I LIke" Thursdays #16 ---the last of 2016

1. I Like my TV-watching-reading-cuddle quilt. It is flannel and about 50 X 60.   I like needing a quilt because the weather is chilly, because I'd rather be cold than hot.

This quilt was made with a simple block. After I arranged them the way I liked I appliqued flannel hearts on them. Puh-leeze note the pieced in flannel dog and cow fabrics!
Check out the back...

2. I like getting fabric from friends... who know my taste!  Nancy  gave me the lush flamingos and Mary
gave me the birch with cardinals and drinks fabric.

Totally taking me by surprise was this from my good friend Gayle at mangofeet  who said "this little piggy wanted to live with you!" Her pig quilt is awesome!
3.I like cows! Boy howdy do I like cows! Lookie what else my friend Nancy gave me...

a Box O'Cows. (ooooo the bovine dancers! The little one with a tail handle needs to hold pins!)

She collected them for years, and somehow moved on to pug collection. Hmmm, interesting. Her car is called the pugmobile and she is called pugmom. I'm seeing a connection.
Look at the dancing couple... aweeee

4. I like my husband being home for the week between Christmas and New Year. We have the gift of time. We've spent it watching dvd's and home stuff and museum going and lots of walking.
5. After spending 2 hours that felt like ten minutes in an exhibit of Medieval objects at the Walters Art Gallery in downtown Baltimore, Mr. Not Afraid of Color suggested a trip to Dick Blick art supplies. He knows how I feel about art supplies! One of my favorite stores full of fun and possibility. I looked through all books, trinkets for artists, brushes, paints, and stopped at a display of pencils.
Recently I watched a tutorial comparing prismacolor pencils (which I use, love) to Faber Castell pencils. Prismacolor is wax based and FC is oil based. There are differences in application and blending.

Dick Blick had open stock, so I chose 4 favorite colors of FC to try, and 3 colors of watercolor pencil to try, just for Science,you know. Just doing my bit to add to information out there! (snicker) I work on paper as well as fabric with these pencils. The prismacolor have been good to me on fabric when heat set. I'll let you know how they compare.

6. I like this book of my entire first year of blogging.  Wow does it look good in print! My husband figured out the logistics and included a dedication that means a lot to me.

I have several books in me to write but am reluctant to call myself a writer. I've written short stories, long letters, humorous interpretations of my dog's opinions, and almost 800 blog posts.  I keep notebooks of my stories that my husband has read but I have not published yet. I aspire to be a published author.
His dedication made me realize I am a writer. I write. I use words to convey meaning and feeling in much the same way  I paint or quilt.
Pignolis, red cherry, and amaretti cookies from Vaccaros in Little Italy Baltimore
7.I sometimes include food items here. Today I will be general and say I like food.
 Recently on a visit to Air and Space museum, we rode in an elevator driven old school by an attendant. I asked him between floors if he got a Christmas gift.
He chuckled and said "yes, some clothes and... food".
He looked a bit sheepish and said he guessed not many people would include food as a gift.
I said I do. It's a gift to have enough to eat, then beyond that, food I like to eat.
I agreed with him about food. I left the elevator with a renewed sense of gratitude.

8. Just before Christmas on another shop around Frederick, we stopped in three stores with specialty food. We got homemade pimento cheese spread, (I LOVE that) some special drinks made with sugar not corn syrup, and these tiny mints.

Very special, very French, very powerful! I would not have bought them for myself but lingered over them, and my husband indulgently bought them for my stocking.

9. I'm thankful to have a generous husband who looked and found items I needed like quality magnifiers to wear doing handwork, tripods to hold my camera for doing tutorial videos, and a big surprise a mini ipad. I have a serviceable old one that is big and heavy and won't run current games or apps. It was fine, I'm no techie. Guess he wanted me to leave his ipad mini alone!

10.I love old buildings and architecture. Recently we visited the old patent office which now houses the Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian Art Museum. The building is amazingly beautiful, unlike the square sterile style building of today. Thank goodness someone valued it and saved it from being knocked down and replaced with yet another boring squared off building. Functional without beauty or grace. People need beauty to remain human.

***I want to send my condolences to Mickie at 3poodles blog. She usually links here but...Her beloved standard poodle Seamus was taken by cancer over the holidays. I have to believe Cole welcomed him to Heaven, they compared stories of their cancer battles and their people. They are together chasing critters, and telling each other stories of their funny people, and how much they miss us***

*** I just found out another poodle passed. D'Art another beautiful boy, over at Forest Poodles. Too many poodles left this year... too many beloved sons. We feel the grief with you Eliza***

If you also played along and did an I Like post, let me know and I'll include a link. I like that this idea is catching on and thankful that so many of you are also doing posts of likes.
Please enjoy a visit to these folks who also did one:

That's it for today. What did you find to like this week?

Sunday, December 25, 2016

We all need a laugh...

National gallery of art Rooftop gallery
 Which came first??? Looks like the Chicken came first and as to why he crossed the road your guess is as good as mine. 

  I thought we could use a laugh. I like to laugh and life can be hard this time of year for a lot of us. I watch Hallmark movies and long  for family. A place to belong and be loved.
Well, this post will be my attempt to make you chuckle along with me today.

First of all that's a tree made of seashells found in Newport RI recently. Love a tree, especially an artist's interpretation of a tree. We should protect artists, and encourage free thought don't you agree?
I saw these coasters available at the store PrimaVera Newport, and I related
Click on them to read if you need to.
I've made unfortunate jokes with enforcement officers before. I used to work with them in the juvenile detention facility. 
They didn't feel I was all that funny. 

I recently mailed packages overseas and shocked at the cost said, "first class? no! Send them third class, no, FIFTH class! Put them on the back of a donkey! Ask someone already going to Europe to carry them!" 

The poor postal clerk laughed and laughed, and shook her little head. Sorry Charlie! 

Yesssssss, I suppose so...
Tired of getting manicures? Just buy these gloves available at the National Gallery of art...
Have you ever seen anything like this? The second floor of the entire house is up on jacks, and I guess some construction crew will come in and build a bottom floor now.
Hmmm we need a new home. We like the great outdoors. You'd have great views.
We caught this guy in the Smithsonian Dinosaur lab... merry Christmas

I'll leave you with a video of skaters going in circles at the Washington DC sculpture Garden on Christmas Eve... enjoy!
If you cannot play it from here, this is the youtube link   Click here!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

I Like Thursday #15

Welcome to this week's " I Like" list  !
 1. I like this shade of poinsettia. I actually like every shade of poinsettia!

2.I like Cuddle Duds.
It's the softest stretchiest long underwear. Feels like air on and keeps me warm not hot. I've been collecting them for years, adding to my cozy stash of layers. This year they have longer tunic styles that look great under a sweater. The leggings are now in wild stripes as well as solid colors.

3.I Like the writer's almanac  
 I subscribe and receive a daily mix of history about events and authors.  A quote from Flaubert resonated with me today:
   "Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be (violent and) original in your work."
He is a writer (Madame Bovary ) who agonized over his work overcoming self doubt. I can relate.
I wonder if he's right., the more organized you are, the more able you are to create in the studio? Nah!

4.  I Like receiving Christmas cards in the mail each day! Thank you!

5. I Like Essie nail polish in Forever Yummy with it's gel topcoat that really works. My husband gave me the gift set last Christmas and it's the perfect shade of red for my hands, a little darker than it looks here. Amazing really that a person who is, if not color blind, at least color challenged chose this for his wife who loves polish.
Could he have gone on the title?
This year I picked out the new one, Sexy Divide that is a wonderful purple metallic shade.
I wash my hands a lot, and my skin dries out in winter, so keeping my nails polished helps keep them strong.

6. I Like this little Olfa Barrel shaped mesh holder. I got it to give away but kept it (ever do that? lol!)

Anyway It is so useful on the round coffee table for remotes and nail files, and pens and glasses! All that with a handle to lift it up and look inside. Got it at Joann with a coupon. Best buy this week!

7. I Like "free-tables" at bee.Check out my recent post and giveaway Click to read and enter the drawing

8. I like Sonja in Hawaii. Her Link is: sonjahagemanndesigns
I like her and her blog about living a creative life in Hawaii.  It's full of the most beautiful pictures, and these painted Santas made from fabric.

9. I like really fresh citrus fruit. 
We get a box from our local  Lions's club (a service club who raises money for charity)  They bring in boxes of fresh fruit from Florida.
I grew up in Florida, in a fruit family. My adoptive father was a fruit broker and I rode along with him many times as he drove through groves counting fruit, measuring sugar content, and negotiating with owners. He often came home with bags of fruit for us. Little did he know I'd end up paying lots of dough for that now!
I have my favorites which I can't find up here, but I love Murcott Oranges and Duncan white grapefruit. They are full of seeds but the most tasty sweet and juicy. Lucky Floridians.
These are generic navals and ruby grapefruit all clean and shiny.

10. I like what my family called ambrosia. It is made of grapefruit segments, naval segments, fresh pineapple chunks, shredded coconut, cherries and banana slices. This box will be a good start on this year's.

11.  I Like the Great American Baking show on TV.
This is the same format as the Great British Baking show that I watch on PBS but done here in America.
I missed several episodes as it's on opposite to Project Runway.

P.R. is ending this week however, so I'll be taping the baking show this week. Never seen it? Oh it's so much fun. Home cooks are given three challenges each week, and famous bakers judge their efforts. VERY creative, and I've learned a lot by just enjoying the show.

Remember when I recommended The Durells in Corfu on PBS? It's back in rerun, so run over to see it!

Last but not least...

12. I like hand sewing while on road trips or in front of the TV.  I pieced the triangles I tried to give away a few months ago. They made 10 and a half circles.  Some unknown quilter cut them out and marked all sewing lines. I don't know what she planned for them but I saw little peppermints. I plan to finish their edges and applique them to a table runner as little Christmas Candies.
And your bonus little Christmas cheer... my friend Pat loves praying mantis, so she warmed one up this year by knitting him a sweater...

That's it for this week. Do you enjoy these lists? Do you write an "I like" post that I can list too? Let me know, either in comment or from my email on the right side of the blog.
Do you like my i like posts? more over HERE
Check out these fine people:

4. musings of a menopausal woman 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

a flock of cardinals

this year's stuffie is the cardinal  from this pattern source apineindustriose

Every year I make a stuffie from  sparkly red felt. If I have lots of fun I make many of them.

This year I made 4 cardinals, with beads and sequins and embroidery. I added on weird little scrap wings.
One of them went to my good art quilting friend Cynthia, and she said it would live on her table with a nativity scene since she loved cardinals best of all birds, and she loves birds! I put sequins in a flower shape on hers. (no picture)

Whee! Not often I get a gift right!

Anyway, not content to make one for the stuffie parade, I had to make a flock for the tree.
Wire legs and little scrappy wings

embroidery and gold eyes.
Here's looking at you! I put little wooden bead eyes and marker to make an iris. Looks great!
Sparkly red felt, perle cotton embroidery thread, wire bent into legs and feet, beads too!

"Chirp! Chirp chirp!", said the Christmas Cardinal Coop

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

One woman's UFO is another woman's treasure! And another giveaway!

First of all my apologies for this publishing before it was ready. I hope those of you who got it come back to see the finished version. My finger slipped and hit the space bar that published the whole stupid thing!!!
27 blocks!!! Jackpot!
my friends at bee brought some items to giveaway, and I had to leave with a few myself. Such as these hand pieced from feed sack fabrics blocks and setting fabric.
I am attracted to these in a big way, and so different from anything I would likely make. They came home with me.

Here's my theory. We start a project, learn what we want from it, and then it goes into the UFO pile. We have a hard time letting it go because :
1. we spent a lot of money on it
2. it's perfectly good/well made/ fine/useful
3. we mean to finish it some day
4. It will make a great quilt when finished
5. we feel terrible abut not finishing things we start
6. we hate wasting anything we make
yardage given along with the blocks!
We store these sometimes in very elaborate containers. We put aside yardage to finish them, yardage that is now out of the running for other projects. We stack UFO's neatly in closets, sometimes moving them around to find something we want.
They mock us.
They take up space and we all need space.
We sometimes feel guilty about them...

For Quilt's Sake Y'all, this is a Hobby!
 It's supposed to be fun!

 What if we just admit we are just no longer excited enough to finish them??

I wonder, isn't loss of interest a valid  reason to let it go?

My friend Cindy let these blocks go.
She let them go to another person who is excited anew about making the project.
She has more space, and I have another project I am jazzed to make. No reason to make it, no burning desire to express myself in it. I just thought it would be fun and teach me something.

I asked her why she was giving it up. She said she wanted to learn to hand piece. She did that and is now done. She also gave up some other quilt tops, books and fabrics. She's happy.

 I said, "You now have more space, and I'm leaving with your UFO!!!"
She said, "Well, my work here is done!"

Another friend brought a bag of notions. Did we all look through them? Yep.  Of course we did.

I left with some zippers, and other stuff I thought I could use. I have a lot of zippers waiting for projects like totes and dog leash carriers but zippers never go bad in their packaging. I took them happily.
extra feed sack fabric to make more blocks
I've been happy to share lately, even ideas and patterns and techniques on the blog. I love other bloggers who also openly share their bounty of ideas and supplies with others.
I'm also happy to receive from others.
I would love to fight the current trend to make a profit at any expense going on  right now.
Let's get out there and share so another quilter carries on.
Which brings me to your gift. A scissor keeper made with American flag fabric.
It has a few flaws, like me. The tension went off a wee bit with the quilting because my metallic gold thread was too loose. Still works and it cute!
I used the pattern going around here The Scissor Cozy!
I didn't follow the pattern. I made it much easier for me, a bit larger, and all in an hour. 
 Want to win? Entertain me somehow. I need a boost. If you leave a comment to win, make sure I know it's an entry and I can reach you. I want to have a giggle so try to entertain me. Good luck with that. I love you all. LeeAnna

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Beige and white are colors too, right?

remember my diamonds? 9 of these size diamonds sewn together into a clock of color?
All from tiny scraps a la improv?  if not, the link with pictures is CLICK HERE ! diamonds

I've done them all year for the rainbow scrap challenge. I need some setting diamonds to set the great big diamond of colored diamonds made of small diamonds made of tiny scraps...

So, here's the story...

One day I hear my husband very frustrated with the junk drawer.

(You know the junk drawer, the one in the kitchen that holds all the stuff that defies organization and has no "place" to live? it finds it's way into the junk drawer)

 When someone says where is a twist tie? or matches? or a skewer? it's likely in the junk drawer with a hammer, some nails, the plastic sliders you put under heavy furniture to move it, various old key chains, pens that are dry, old keys you have no idea to what, and lots of other stuff. What's in your junk drawer?

One day he pulled it open and Ka-boom! So he piled it in a laundry basket for me to sort thru.

I began putting "like with like" making lots of little piles on the counter. This went on for a while until suddenly I got a grip. I noticed I was looking for another rubber band to hold all the little flower powder packets that came with cut flowers and I didn't use.

Blink, blink.. wha??? I mean, I am a keeper but suddenly it occurred to me, I only needed maybe one or two packets not 20.

Insight! It takes space to store all the stuff you might need one day. It's easy to toss it in a drawer but not so easy to find anything. I began looking with new eyes, and got rid of about half the stuff which then left the drawer MERELY FULL. Not stuffed, but still full.

What if I looked at my craft supplies with these new eyes and insight?Might I be able to let things go???

Ha! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!
Well at least I did the junk drawer. So I took my two scrap bins worth of beige and white scraps to bee where I could look through it and organize sizes and see if there was anything I could throw out.

One by one my bee mates came over, attracted by the enormous spilling out everywhere pile of scraps
I carefully laid strips the same length together, squares over here, triangles over there. People began helping. Then they said how pretty some were. I said "Oh yes, I love that one. I used it in "xyz quilt"

They started their own piles that they thought I should throw away which I had to go through too.
Then they started discussing me as if I weren't there... "this has to be too small, let's throw it out! I will put it in the garbage so she can't pull it back out and keep it!" Huh?  Heyyyyyy

They just couldn't see the value in keeping small pieces. They use patterns and carefully cut  squares from yardage, all alike so it matches. They think 8th of a yard is scrap.

But I know... I know how valuable the small mix of tone and texture is to my quilts. You can't buy that. You CREATE that! I'm a happy piecer. I like to sew even really small pieces.

Anyway I went home that day with the bin MERELY FULL not overflowing. I felt very competent.
 Then I used those strips and small pieces to make 35 diamonds.
Happy happy me! I once made a winter quilt, one of my seasonal four, just this way with some brown thrown in for the scene.

I wanted to make one big quilt with these instead of using them to set my others.

And I still might.
Aren't they pretty? Even if they are just white and beige scraps? some with colors mixed in.

And the bin after it was all said and done? A very tidy one, too tidy, I'm a bit uncomfortable now...

Friday, December 16, 2016

A few Christmas quilts on the wall

This is last year's Christmas quilt, kaleidoscope technique by Ricky Tims. You draft your own pattern. I showed the details of it in last year's post Click HERE to see kaleidoscope-finish   
I was so  late to finish I forgot to do a sleeve so I added one this year.
I also did a sleeve for this from two years ago
and this one from 1990.
That was the year I took a class with my friend Cindy in Tampa on the "latest" technique of paper piecing.

(my grandmother foundation pieced many a string quilt onto old yellow pages from the phone book)

Paper piecing was like opening a window to a new quilting life for me. I loved it and this little hand quilted piece that finishes at 18" X 22"   (each block finishes at 3")

Since I was adding sleeves to a finished quilt I did them a bit differently.
I usually cut them 9" wide, fold them, catch in the binding (there's more to it but that's enough for now)

This time I just folded a 5" wide piece, finished the ends, folded in half WRONG sides together. Seamed it. Moved the seam to the center  of the tube, pressed it open, and sewed that tube with the seam to the quilt back. Can't see the seam and the insides are all smooth. I'm not entering this, so I needed a small opening.
 Make sure to measure so it's perfectly even after pressing. Take care catching the very edge when stitching

This year's Christmas quilt, the poinsettia from uneven log cabin blocks is STILL on the design wall.
I can't seem to make the simplest of decisions lately. I added log cabin style, two green fabrics to the sides, and today thought I might just do top and bottom borders in red, and bind the whole thing in green...
Maybe adding in this cool metallic ribbon top and bottom
The blocks are all scraps but the border is poinsettia fabric, and I had a half yard, just enough!

Can you see the ribbon if you click on the image to make it larger??

Then I left the room and when I came back I thought it looked unfinished.

I decided this is not for competition. It's not up for top awards, I'm just making it to sew happiness into my life. So...
just make it quilty. I wanted it to be more playful, or modern, or edgy but I also want it done.
See the one on the wall next to it?
While I knew how to use the ruler, I made more blocks with scraps but this time mixed green and red strips in each block.
I also mixed in one of my all time fave fabrics, just scraps left, and those are left because I used the fabric to line a vest, hated the vest, and tore out the lining to keep! Yea! Note this is an old time drunkard's path setting called lover's knot.
See the little flower ladies peeking through in the blocks???

I decided to "make it work" piecing if I needed to in order to border this one with my flower girls.

I'll have to save this Christmas Cow fabric for later!