Archive for November, 2006

Take Heart!

It’s finished!  Well, almost — it still needs a hanging sleeve, but…it’s done enough for me to want to show it off.

Click on the picture to view it larger.

The impetus for this piece came from two sources.  First off, the Fast Friday Challenge group’s challenge last Friday was to create an odd-shaped small quilt.  The only "rule" was the shape — everything else was maker’s choice.  The second idea behind the quilt was to maybe make something that would fit the guidelines for the Have a Heart contest sponsored by Unlimited Possibilities.  Keep in mind, that I already had an idea for that contest, and the start of that quilt is still on my design wall where I abandoned it last week to work on this idea. 

OK, a third idea that came into play was wanting to continue playing with red.  Can you imagine?

As part of the challenge, the moderator gave us a website to visit for pictures of quilts that are most definitely rectangles or squares or anything close.  The artist is Sonji, and she creates some very wonderful, unique pieces. 

Several weeks ago, I had written down all of the sayings with the word "heart" in them that I could think of.  I picked one of them (take heart) and started doodling.  I didn’t want to imitate Sonji’s pieces, so I tried to think of other ways I could use the words and create something that was oddly shaped.  One of my original sketches was to have the quilt itself be a rectangle, with the some of the letters hanging off the edges.

I picked a font, printed the letters out and went into my studio to get busy.

Dsc00427 I threw the background fabric up on my design wall and cut out the letters.  I stuck them up and just started playing.  Eventually I decided to contain the letters on the background, but took my chalk and started drawing outlines that sort of vaguely followed the overall line of the words.  Vaguely.  I cut it out (freehand with the rotary cutter…).  Layered with batting and did the applique.  Then I got the wild idea to make the tabs for the outer edges to mimic the letters.  And of course, my heart had to have the same tabs.

Figured out how to make the tabs, enveloped the quilt and turned it right side out and stitched in the ditch around the letters on my DSM with clear thread.  I thought it would be faster than trying to figure out how to load it up on the longarm.  I was reminded of exactly why I’m a longarmer…..

This is the point at which the quilt started talking to me.  I tried beads, but those were too subtle.  I’m not even entirely sure what possessed me with the buttons, but I started laying out long lines of them and eventually drew in some chalk lines I liked and started sewing them on. 

Dsc00426 The hardest part was deciding what to do on the heart itself.  I have some letter charms that I tried to use, but they weren’t cutting it.    I wanted to add in the words "care of your" to add extra meaning to the phrase.  I’m feeling especially clever about the many meanings that the words on this quilt have.   I wanted the TAKE HEART to mostly stand out, and the rest to be there, but not be as important or as obvious.  I wish it were a little more subtle, but I’m OK with what I did end up with. 

Well.  If you have actually gotten this far, I applaud you!  Most of that was probably really boring, but it’s been interesting for me to sit here and think about how I got from point A to point B.  There are a few leaps in there that I’m not sure I can exactly explain even to myself.  One thing I did was to not let myself think too hard about the decisions.  No agonizing allowed.

So now that it is all done, I’ve actually gotten quite attached to it, and I’m not sure I’m going to use it for the Unlimited Possibilities contest.  Part of that is because the only machine quilting is that poor edge stitching around the letters.  It’s a machine quilting magazine!  I’d like to show off a little more than this does, I think.

I’m thinking about going back to my previous idea and seeing if I can make it work.  I also have another idea to do this piece again but different.  More quilting (on the longarm), less buttons.

By the way.  The total button count is 203. 

All but 2 were by hand.  I started doing them on my Bernina and decided that was using too much thread (they don’t actually have to be functional, so they don’t need to be *that* secure!) and it was taking longer to fuss with getting the button placed, the quilt under the needle, etc, etc, etc, than if I were to do them by hand.  I’m not sure if I’m right or not, but the satisfaction of being able to say they are all by hand is pretty high!


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NOthing to show for myself

Inspite of a busy day, I have nothing to show for myself (yet)….

I did make a fabric postcard, but I can’t post it yet.

I got a lot done on my odd-shaped quilt challenge piece, but I don’t want to post it until it is completely finished.  Don’t you just love it when quilts talk to you?  This one told me it wanted red buttons.  I don’t know why I listened to it, but I’m about 16 buttons away from being finished — which makes a total of about 125 buttons.  Sewn on by hand, even!

I got a shirt cut out and partially sewn together.  That’s probably the most impressive thing on the list.   I have tried garment sewing in the past and have given it up for a mostly lost cause, but… I’ve got this bug in my ear lately.  Ideas and more ideas.  So I bought a new pattern yesterday, and some fabric and have gotten a lot of it done.  It’s pretty simple, but it’s knit fabric — I have never made anything out of a stretch knit before.  So far, so good, but I am a little concerned about my finishing technique, so I don’t know how the hems are going to turn out.  We’ll see tomorrow, and maybe there will be a picture to share!

And last, and most definitely least (well, least interesting…) is the computer time.  Lots done there, too….

And now to go finish a binding and go to bed….

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Ever since my boys have been big enough to talk, we have asked them "What was your favorite part?" We ask them this question after we see movies, visit museums or zoos, or go on vacations, etc, etc…It’s a nice way to get them to think about things, and as they get older, I’d like to expand on the question — why was it your favorite…what was your least favorite part….what did you think about this particular part….

Of course, they are actually the ones that initiate the "favorite" part conversation these days.  Mom and Dad also have to answer the question, and it’s been good for us, too, I think. 

After the Christmas decorations went up this past weekend, the inevitable question was asked.
"What’s your favorite Christmas ornament, Mom?"

I wasn’t able to answer them that day — there are too many options!  I have been thinking about it, though, and have come up with an answer of sorts.  I haven’t been able to narrow it down to just one thing, though, and have a couple of categories.

Dsc00406First off, my Favorite New Christmas Decoration.  I bought this last year.  I love Mary Englebreit’s style, and fell in love with this.  I have a few other snowmen and Santa’s, so I guess this can also qualify as my Favorite Santa and my Favorite Snowman.  At least for now….

Dsc00408_1Next up
is my  Favorite Angel.  I have a small angel collection that is displayed year round.  Some of my angels are specifically Christmas (i.e. their clothing…) and so they only come out at Christmas time.  This is actually one of the ones that stays out all the time, but she truly is my favorite.  My mom gave her to me several years ago, and I sort of thought that she was the start of a series, but apparently I’m the only one that remembers that….

Her name is "Carol" and the artist is Sherry Buck Baldwin.  I guess I should turn to my favorite search engine and see if I can find any more to add to my collection…

Dsc00410Yes, this is another angel, but this category is actually My Favorite Musical Decoration.  Oddly enough, this is also a piece that has been out full time and would you believe it was actually a birthday gift?  My darling boys gave it to me for my birthday this past year and it didn’t seem right not to leave it out all the time.  He sits over my kitchen sink.  I just realized that I haven’t wound him up in a long time, and I’m not really sure what tune he plays….

OK, just checked…Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

Speaking of music, in the category of Favorite Christmas Music…this is a toughie.    I’m not actually sure I could name a single piece that is my favorite.  I like a variety of songs for different reasons, so I guess I’m going to have to pass on this one for now.  It’s sort of the case that whichever song I’m listening to at the moment is my favorite….

I had another ornament that I wanted to include as my Favorite Old Decoration, but I’m a little concerned — I can’t find it!  Not all of the decorations got put on the tree this year, and I didn’t have anything to do with putting them away last year, so I don’t really know exactly where it might be.  So, hopefully tomorrow I’ll uncover it and be able to add it.  It’s a very special ornament that I think my parents got for me when I was pretty small.

Dsc00366_1I suppose I should include the decoration that the boys are considering their favorite this year.  Naturally, it’s something they made, and even better — it’s made out of Legos.  It’s a little hard to read in this picture, and we need to work on a better presentation so I can get better pictures.  They asked me how to spell Christmas, and then they got to work creating Lego words.  They also made Rudolph, Santa (and an elf) in Santa’s Sleigh, a tree (with a star on top), and children sitting on benches around the tree waiting to open their presents.  (The letters spell out "IT IS CHRISTMAS" — clicking on the picture to view it larger might help…)

So, what are YOUR favorite Christmas Things?  Leave me a comment or put something on your blog — and make sure to tell me so I can come read about it!

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Cold season

Ugh.  I was having such a great day, and then I started sneezing and my nose started dripping, and my throat started getting sore….

Phooey.  I am just barely recovered from the last cold, and now I’ve got another one.  Sure makes it hard to want to do anything but crawl under the covers. 

It’s really tempting to just go to bed, and not bother posting, but I’m afraid to take a day off — if I take one day off, it might extend to 2, and then pretty soon it’ll be 6 months later and nothing will have been posted.

I’m working on a small quilt for a challenge (the only "rule" for this challenge is that the quilt is supposed to be odd-shaped…).  I’m really happy with how it is turning out.  I’m very proud of myself for picking an idea, and just running with it.  Which, really, is the whole point of the challenge — to get it done within a week.  I’m at a point with it, though, where I’m starting to agonize over how to embellish it.  How much is too much?  Or really, how much is actually enough….I need to get some quilting for customers done tomorrow, so my challenge piece will probably get stuck up on the design wall for me to ponder.

Speaking of customer quilting…I did finish a nice piece over the weekend.  I posted pictures on my website

Dsc00400Here’s one of the detail shots of the motif I quilted.

I used Superior Gold Metallic thread to do all of the stitching.  On the white fabric, I actually stitched all of the lines twice, as a single stitch just didn’t show up well enough.

Ij741_lg1And last, but certainly not least, I found a cute jacket pattern at one of the quilt shops I visited today.  It’s an Indygo Junction pattern, designed by Mary Ann Donze.  I think one of the other jacket patterns I have is her design — I like her work.  This one is called Easy Silhouette Jacket

You don’t suppose I liked it because the jacket on the right is RED wool, do you?  The jacket is not lined or faced, and the collar is actually the reverse of the  fabric.  I didn’t quite realize this when I bought it, and of course, I don’t really have any fabric that’s appropriate.  Yet…..

Oh — one more thing….I did mean to work on the book today, but darn it, I’m going to bed, so I’ll do it tomorrow…..

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Katie, Then and Now


This afternoon, I was waiting for the boys to put their Halloween costumes on so that I could take their pictures.  Yes, I know that Halloween was a month ago, but for some reason, we forgot to take pictures that night, and we just never got around to doing it until today.  At least we didn’t wait until after Christmas!

Anyway, while I was waiting I snapped the bottom picture of Katie in her bed.  For comparison, I went looking for an older picture of her in the bed.  Look at how much she has grown!  The first picture is from January 2006. 

When we got her, she was only about 2 pounds, so even by January she had grown a ton.  Some day soon, I post a retrospective — Katie’s First Year.  I probably have more pictures of her than I do of my children….OK, not really, but she is just so photogenic!

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Even though my list over there on the right says that I’m working on book number 2, I have to admit that it really ought to say "Avoiding working on book number 2."  (Book number 1 is called Meandering Magic and can be found on my website).

I’m not really sure why I’m procrastinating about it.  I pretty much know exactly what’s going to be in it.  Based on the success of the first one, I’m pretty sure this one will do well, also.  I know what I did wrong (and right) with the first one, so I have a good idea of what to do this time. 

I’ve also made promises about when it will be ready, so I can’t put it off too long, if I don’t want to break those promises.

I also know exactly how much drawing and editing I have to do get this one ready, and I suspect that that is exactly why I’m putting it off.   About 2 weeks ago I made myself work on it every day for an hour.  That lasted about 2 days.  Starting tomorrow, I think I’d better start that again, or it’ll never get done!

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Red postcard

Most of you probably know about the Fiberart For A Cause fundraiser in which artists from around the world created fiber postcards.  These postcards were used as thank yous for a $30 donation to the American Cancer Society.  The project has raised over $110,000 in just 18 months. 

My friend Lynn got to go to Houston this year to Int’l Quilt Market and Festival, where the postcards were available. I asked her to make a donation and pick out a postcard for me.  I received mine today, and I’m very excited about what she picked:

Dsc00367Keep in mind that she picked this out for me almost a month ago.  Do you suppose she could see into the future and know that I would be on a red kick right now? (Thank you, Lynn, for picking out such a cool postcard for me…)


A few weeks ago, somebody somewhere (on one of the many lists I belong to) was talking about how to display fiber postcards.  One of the ideas was a photo album-y thing they had gotten at IKEA.  Well, guess what!  I have one just like it, only mine came from Target about a million years ago.  I had only ever managed to stick one picture in it (there is a frame on the other side that flips over, but I wouldn’t use it on the postcards, as it "mats" it to a smaller size).

Now all I need to do is fill it up with more postcards!  I’ve thought about joining the art2mail project, but I think that involves more postcards than I can commit to making at this time.

How’s this for a deal: if you send me a postcard to fill up my frame, I’ll send you a postcard in return.  If you are interested in trading with me, send me an e-mail and I’ll give you my mailing address!

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