Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Web of Fun... this year's Halloween quilt

Look at all the fun fabrics! I make a Halloween quilt each year, and this post is about sewing again!
web of fun   36" X 36"

The pillow kit got me going again in my new studio space.

I thought I should get the place organized first, so I knew where things were to use, but abandoned that in my need to "make"

The pillow kit was the stimulus to sew, and expensive and incomplete as the kit was, it did that.

On to the pattern I saw in Quiltmaker magazine in October 2018 issue, named SPOOKY
I chose about 4 patterns this year I wanted to try, and really I have no business trying to follow patterns. I'm much better at coming up with my own, but I've been experimenting with Dresden plates since the move to Colorado.

Isn't it intriguing how some ideas stay just that, plans, and some get made into art?

this moved from should do to gotta do because
1. I could use my cool Halloween fabric collection and show them off
2. I knew where they were
3. It's just under 40" square, so small enough to finish for this year, since I started it a week before Halloween!
4. I knew how to do it, but it had a twist on the trad pattern, so that would be fun

Into the fray, I pulled out all the possible fabrics, and bought a few fresh ones this year, and needed 12 for the blades, the focus. Because they are pretty busy designs, and all want to be the stars, I had fun choosing which ones would go together best in this one little quilt. I tried to get a mix of some purple, some lime, some black, some cream. Then tried to get a mix of some witches, some ghosts, some skeletons, and some pumpkins. I loved the new fabrics with big bold designs like the crystal ball.

I cut one blade and put it on the design wall, then went light dark around. I paid attention to cutting the blade to maximize the design I wanted (fussy cut) and the angle it would be in the finished quilt, for instance I didn't want the witches flying upside down if possible.

By the end of the first afternoon I had all the blades cut and arranged, at which point the wall blew over and tumbled my careful placement to the ground. Grrr. But by stopping point I had the blades sewn to make the points. The next morning I sewed all blades together, and sewed the plate to a black background along the ditches outward.

Now I had to decide to follow the pattern and fold the curves outward to round out the scallops or press them inward so as not to change the look of my cool fabrics. I decided inward then quickly learned why the pattern called for pressing to the front. Seam allowances on the blade points are thick and hard to press another layer under.

Not one to give up, I spritzed with water and bent them to my will. I decided to release perfectionism and not worry about perfect points on each blade as I got the look I wanted by doing it this way.

Plus I knew the quilting process could define the points and most viewers look from about 12" away at most and wouldn't notice a slight bump... nor would I when it was done. I would notice the cool fabrics and now they weren't disturbed by a visible folded edge.

As to the borders, I had to decide, after the plate was carefully sewn with curves to the background with a straight stitch, whether to go with tasteful or wackadoodle. Both looked good to me, but I kind of wanted the center fabrics to stand out so I went with an older Hoffman celestial print. I've had this a long time, and get weird about using good fabrics in a quilt just for me, that won't be shown anywhere but after moving it all here, I realized, I have to let go and enjoy them whenever I want.

Know what I mean?

 I am quilting it with sulky hologram mylar thread in silver.

It's very strong, unlike other sulky thread, and well behaved on quilts.

 I went along each blade and off on the points as a start to quilting the web along the black outside edges. 

Last night I looked at spider web images online, and want to decide whether or not to do that in my background. I don't want the focus pulled out too much. And will I keep the webby look into the border?

 It's the day before Halloween and I like to make things with colors of the actual season, so I don't plan too much ahead. Next up will be my abstract fall colors piece. Then in December I might do a Christmas colors piece, even if it's not done for this Christmas.

I like using colors I see around me at the moment, are you like that?

the back was some Halloweend fabric I don't love, truth is it's kind of frightening

the binding will be some precious black fabric shot through with metallic gold

My snooper-visor is exhausted of all the decisions he's been called on to make...

 but it's been worth it to sew again!
linking with these parties!

design wall Mondays at smallquiltsanddollquilts
off the wall Fridays
can I get a whoop whoop Fridays 
Esther's blog Wednesdays 
Let's be social Wednesdays 
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 Free motion by the River Tuesdays   

Monday, October 29, 2018

The week ahead #8 going around in circles

Going around in circles
Welcome to my version of Happy Homemaker

the weather in Aurora today
Changeable. Mercurial. Hot and cold. The weather can't make up it's mind. It was a  hot week with the sun beating down making the feels like temps in the 80's with nights in the 40's. It would be nearly perfect if I hadn't overreacted to the quick change to 19F a couple weeks ago and traded my closet for all winter clothes!

On the walk yesterday, Milo just plopped down in shade and panted, refusing to walk one more step!
He was upset to be wearing his black fur coat in the sun. He is concerned about the increasingly hot days and hopes humans can fix the problems before it's too late for poodles to survive.

On the to do list
OMG, isn't it annoying when you have plans and life drives up and hits you sideways?
I wanted to finish this year's halloween quilt, go to be aligned, and watch dancing with the stars.
My husband broke his car yesterday when someone turned in front of him causing him to swerve and hit the curb.
Just like that his car is at the car-spital for who knows how long, he's catching rides and my week is derailed too.

I need to decide whether to go for my own body work, because I might have to drive dh downtown to the Denver car repair , which stresses me.
We checked some things off the list this weekend though... putting out some of my Halloween decorations,

 buying candy, vacuuming.

Today I have the usual daily maintenance things to do, (empty the dishwasher, load the dishwasher, water the plants, breathe in and out)  and still need to sort the paper piles that accumulated on my kitchen desk so we can use the table again. I still want to baste the quilt and start the quilting at least.
Oh and I should get dressed.
And drink more water as I started getting that dehydrated bladder pain this weekend. Cranberry juice in it's natural form is torture.

In the craft basket 

I wouldn't call it craft, as it's a big part of my life not just a hobby, but on Friday last I started cutting precious Halloween fabrics for this year's art quilt, and am ready to get it done so I can start on my latest challenge.
Interpret a painting by Vermeer in fiber.

On writing fiction
I love doing weekly prompts and wrote the next installment of my novel in this post (sunday-stories.)

Tips and Tricks

someone online suggested using tie backs (that I never used) for iron cords. Perfecto! Those unruly cords are tied to the handle with pretty fabric, with a button hole that I'd not try these days.

Lessons learned
Maybe not spiritual, but realistic.
If you're going to follow a pattern, then invest. Go ahead and read it before you start. I don't often follow patterns or recipes as I am old and have been to the rodeo before and pretty much get the idea of how to sew and cook, plus I want to do my own thing.
This week I learned some sewing lessons from mistakes I made, and learning from doing is usually fine for me. I'll include those in my post on the Halloween quilt

I suppose the other lesson came from dh's car caper. Be patient while driving, and be alert to other people who aren't alert.And when a spouse messes up the car, be patient as it can happen to any of us. And be alert to the details of handling the problems.

I also jumpstarted an online quilting group discussion as the group had become too quiet. Now I have interesting discussions to read and connections to make. Yea! Win win. Others said they had missed hearing from the members but I risked ridicule by starting a new discussion. brave...

I'm trying to stay awake long enough to finish my tea shop mystery as it's overdue. I also checked out this book on returning to art school in your 60's. I would like to get a master's degree but probably in sociology mixed with art... if I can stand to have a young thing critique my work, maybe writing.

boohoo we finished Brokenwood season, and I finished the Prime show Forever which was so much fun. So thought provoking funny, clever and weird. I'll miss it.

I spent some time this week listening to music new to me, from YoYoMa's two groups, Goat Rodeo and Silkroad. I discovered a female singer I liked named Aiofe O Donovan (prounounced eva)

enjoy the week!

Linking to

design wall Mondays at smallquiltsanddollquilts

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sunday Stories...

the word prompt this week comes from The Sunday Whirl

Audie knew she should put down her morning coffee and go collect the eggs for breakfast but the breeze coming off the porch was so nice and cool.

It reminded her of her childhood here on the farm, misty mornings running around on the porch while the adults sat and quietly chatted, their coffee creating swirls of smoke over chipped mugs. It felt very secure like it would always be this way. Her gran would rock, sip, and sing an old hymn softly under her breath.

Mornings were a time to be slow. To be slower than a 4 year old could be.
 Loud voices were not appreciated, but a snuggle in gran's lap as she quietly rocked back and forth, looking out on the corn fields, was a good thing.

If she chattered on too loudly her gran would hug her closer, take a sip of coffee, and ask her, "Can you find a bird in the corn, Audie? look and tell me where!"

 Gran made life fun and she missed her now.

When you're a kid you hardly think about life in the future except when you play grown ups.

 Audie used to open the trunk in the attic and try on old dance costumes she found there. One never knew what you'd find in that attic! Dusty with cobwebs, it was a secret place full of unusual items. If it was quiet around the farm, and gran told her to go play, she often chose the attic where she felt like she was in a movie herself.

Dust motes would swirl around her making her nose runny. The old dresser up there had a mirror with black spots, but she could just see how she looked in the hat she found. Cool. Very grown up!

When she was a big lady she would wear hats like this, put on lipstick and earrings and spray her hair with Aquanet. She'd drive a fancy car, and go to card nights, sing to her baby, and go wherever she wanted.

She remembered pulling out an old baby doll from a box with writing on it. It had an old fashioned dress on, and one eye wouldn't open. She sat down on the dusty floor, and rocked it in her lap like she was the gran.

Now that Audie remembered that feathered hat from the trunk, she wondered if it was still up there. Gran was gone, but the trunk might still be up in the attic. Yes, she would rock a few moments longer, look out at the corn field and see if there was a bird out there, first.

Then she'd go look...

Linking to
all seasons

Friday, October 26, 2018

when music, or art, transports you

How can a song presented by a group unknown to me but famous individually, create such a place in my heart?


Listen to the Silk Road Ensemble with YoYo Ma


I was introduced to this group by Tom the Back roads traveler, who's posts of beautiful entrancing photos and commentary each week, lifts me up from the mundane. He seems to create a mood with each post, by showing common views of life in America that one might miss if they are hurrying by.

He has introduced me to some mighty fine musicians too. Thank you Tom.

How is it, that a group of people, all very accomplished in their own way, could come together and create a piece of performance art that brings me to tears?

This work is powerful, and haunting.

What causes a person to love art?
What touches our hearts, and brings all our senses to a place of softness?

It's not someone bragging they are the best although I suspect the musicians in this group are each the best in their field. There is something about a musician who is so into their instrument that they lose themselves in the moment.

I spoke to a friend this week, who is seeking that feeling in her art. The moment when you are in the studio, and thinking and planning and take out your materials, then you are transported to someplace that feels like time stops. You are into the moment of creation and that's all that matters.

All artists know what I am saying about that glorious feeling of being lost in the process.

You can't find a roadmap there, you can't force it.
Like so much that is truly transporting, it just happens while you allow it.

The words to this song according to one interpretation are:

Anyone interested in the lyrics: Way to home, way to home; my way to home; quiet, quiet and my quiet my way home; it's not a long way in front of me, while door is open to me; I bear no agony (stress) and I don't have to wait long any more; mom is expecting me; dad is also anticipating; when I think of the reunion; I am filled with love..... The Chinese lyrics is a lot more beautiful than my translation

Ahhhhh, now I know that these words spoken in Chinese somehow made themselves understood to  my heart. I long for a home, a safe place, a place to thrive.

I am not alone in feeling like I've never fit in. I was adopted into a family who had no idea who I was inside, and tried to bully and change me to fit into their way of thinking. It was no home for sissies, and no home for a tender-hearted spirit such as me.  I often wondered what life would be like, if someone recognized my value as a person. My childhood home was not a safe place. My workplaces were not safe for women when I was younger either. Sometimes even quilting groups are not safe places for someone with a need to express themselves artistically.

I strive to make each of my  homes,  my safe place, and it's important to me. Peace and acceptance are hard to find, and must be watered daily with nurturing, they must be allowed to thrive.

There is so much to be gained by sharing art culturally.

Because Tom shared the group with us, and I researched them finding this song, I have been lifted to a soft place today. I hope you enjoy the music too.

Please find Tom's post for more beauty HERE

Thursday, October 25, 2018

I Like Thursday number 112 trips, books, candy apples and a poodle

Welcome to this week's list of likes!
We went to Colorado springs this weekend, and walked around the oldest part, Colorado City. How about these caramel apples?? Who loves apples?
yes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away!
rip out your fillings with caramel and chocolate???
We didn't get one but we loved the tiny shops and how cute they all were.
I liked both quilt stores we went into and purchased a couple pieces of fabric to give at Christmas.

Despite this, they were not pre-washed
We did purchase two bottles of wine however. We haven't had wine since we gave it up to help me fight off the pesticides in MD.
It was fun to try local wines again. Would you like to come over for a glass??
Milo here, I loved the wine tasting, because this guy was there too and we compared notes....
"my peeps are amusing with a hint of sweetness"
"My people are full bodied, with a slight caramel color"

I like the shirt I  bought at a craft show...
the craftswoman added the beautiful sheer fabric to sleeves.

I liked writing my happy homemaker post for Monday... it's here if you missed it
Mick Mouse became a vampire for Halloween
 Milo here, man some of these decorations are downright scary!
I mean, this thing was swaying in the wind... Mama went right up to it and put her hand on it!!!!!

Please, help my mama, she has no sense of self preservation!

LeeAnna: I love seeing the new decorations showing up daily around the neighborhood and have more pictures to share next week! Woooooooo!
like to cook? Eye of newt?
I liked this book, and found out I'm a "questioner" and my husband is an "obliger/upholder" and how our strengths and weaknesses can be dealt with.

I am very much enjoying this book by Anne Lamott  who marvels at the human spirit that can worry about the current political situation and still plant tulips with expectation of flowers in the spring.
I could find it because my kitchen desk is on it's way to being organized
look a there! A countertop to use was under all that stuff!
I wanted it to stay cleared off but decided I like my cute things too much to put them away! Ah, the conflict between clear space and fun stuff...
 flamingos and poodles... Mary Englebreit "don't look back", lovely container from the container store and a hand made object from Maryland craft show.
lovely pink poinsettias for the howlidays

Miracle! I sewed again... got the pillow kit top embroidery done, and the top sewn 

with prairie points... facing in and out. I'll finish and stuff it tomorrow hopefully, and start my big halloween star piece.

I am in love with Jake Shimabukuru and the ukelele. My fave might be "while my guitar gently weeps"

                                      Milo's Moment
I liked touring the town last weekend with my peeps and leaving calling cards on lamposts.

I like getting my alligator (whimzees dog chews) egg-sack-ly at 8pm every night. That way I can chew it before watching a little tv. If Mama forgets, I remind her with my intense poodle stare.I hear, Milo what the fizzy? What's wrong with you? Oh, he probably wants his chew" then I head over to the alligator cabinet to wait for one of the pawrents to paw open the bag and (finally) give me my treat.

 I only eat them because I want my teeth to stay nice and white!

that's my whimzee, I'm busy chewing it now, leave a message!
Then I go for a last walk every night with my Dad. Then...

I like him to sit on the floor and let me wallow all over him while I chew the ear off of a squirrel
Notice that squirrel is now no-feeted and almost nose-less.( don't tell mama I swallowed the arm)

 (I know Milo)

I like keeping to a schedule otherwise you miss stuff.
Now, y'all sit, stay, and visit Mama's friends here keeping it paw-sitive!

 musings of a menopausal melon

http://3poodlesandanana.blogspot.com/  (not posting this week)


Minou's Minute 

Linking to these parties... go see!
pet parade
Wednesday around the World

https://comedy-plus.com/ Awe Mondays
Our World Tuesday

sundays in the city

Willy nilly Fridays
can I get a whoop whoop Fridays  
Thankful Thursdays pet parade
myquiltinfatuation Thursdays

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Return to creative work ! Yea!

I'm not gonna lie moving house took my mojo away.
I learned, I need a tidy-ish space to work, and a tidy-ish mind to work with.

I can't say it's tidy yet, but I needed to sew again, so I bought this kit for too much money at a local quilt store...

I opened the kit, ...

I found my little light box and traced the pattern onto the muslin

and since they hadn't included floss, I looked and found some of my embroidery threads, not the right colors of course. I blame the kit maker for not including the colors I needed in the kit. grrr.

I made do with thread colors I had. I couldn't find my embroidery needle threader so I found some self threading needles to use, and found a hoop in the mess, and stitched the embroidery.

The back stitch is fairly new to me, and I don't quite like how the threads nested this time, creating some wonkiness but it was good to use needle and thread again. I also liked choosing my own colors, and playing with different weight threads.

Now it's done and I need to follow the pattern for making the pillow.
it's white muslin not blue... bad lighting

Live and learn and move on (LALAMO) note to self: do not buy another kit from that store

When I opened it, there was a note that there wasn't the amount of fabric called for in the pattern but there was enough to make the pillow. No floss, less fabric, and cost $26. Anyway, LALAMO.

In other news...

I found a great free pattern this week online, and thought it might be pretty in my neutral fall colored hand dyes purchased recently.Link is EPP bow tie blocks

The National quilt museum has a free block of the month and great tutorials and I enjoyed looking at them, then decided to play with the EPP blocks.
these plus black for the centers to look like a mosaic floor
 I printed the pattern on heavy cardstock, cut out the EPP pieces and hope to make a table runner to use in November. It will be nice to put pretty colors together.

I had hoped to make two Halloween pieces, a mug rug and a row by row... maybe next year?

gotta get to the replacement zip in the IKEA blue slipcover first!

Linking to
Let's be social Wednesdays 
Midweek makers wednesdays
 Free motion by the River Tuesdays