Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Quilting Queue - Putting 2013 To Bed!


2013 was the most productive year yet in regards to FINISHED quilting projects!  The catalyst behind these amazing TWENTY finished projects was this awesome table my husband made me for Christmas 2012.  This gave me the dedicated space to 'start-do-finish' anything I set my mind to.  Over the year my studio has also added a dedicated cutting table and 2 1/2x6 foot ironing table, both on bed risers so I'm not hunched over my work.  Life is so good...

Now, that doesn't mean everything I started, I finished. There is a canine character in the movie 'Up' that keeps getting distracted - even in mid-sentence - by a squirrel sighting. I've begun calling my unplanned quilt projects 'squirrels' because they interrupted many other projects mid-stitch.

Some of these you've seen in previous blogs, so I won't go into detail on them.  Some of these are quite large - others are quite small.  The key here is THEY ARE FINISHED!  


My first finish was the Block of the Month (BOM) I did online through Craftsy.com taught by Amy Gibson.


The back was inspired by another Craftsy.com class, 'Creative Quilt Backs'.






Finish number two - General's Wives BOM from Keepsake Quilting.  Machine pieced and hand quilted for my husband.  (It's hanging sideways - doh!)


Number three - I Spy for my niece Allison, modeled by Miss Polly.



Number four - I made this top ages ago but had never quilted it.  DONE!


Number five - my name badge for my quilt guild.


Number six was my first squirrel.  Retro Rubies, front and back. Read more about this project in my May-June blogpost.












Number seven - a test drive of the I Spy I wanted to make my Granddaughter.  Cells were too small for what I wanted...


Number eight - Penny's I Spy quilt finished.


Number nine - Meowing in the Rain.  
You can read about this creative process in a previous post.


Number ten. Another squirrel.  
Saw the fabric and pattern at my favorite quilt shop, The Crazy Cousin, and had to make it!


 Number eleven - This top was almost completed years ago.
Finished it up, bound, quilted DONE!  Used a bunch of scraps for the back.














Number twelve.  This is Caesar.  He will get his own blog post soon.  
When you read more about him you will be in love with him.  I am!


Number 13. Went to a Quilt Expo here in town and took every class I could squeeze into a two and half day period.  This is called 'Flower Seeds'.


Number 14. My first zippered pouch, also from a class I took at the Expo.


Number 15. Also from the Expo - Penny's Christmas present.


Number 16. A mug rug. Materials from a goodie bag I got at a Quilt-in.


Number 17.  Mug rug front and back I made for a family ornament swap.  My husband's cousin Amber received this. Her parents have a Christmas tree farm, so I made this in honor of Bakersfield Tree Farm.




Number 18. This one is out of order. I made this iPad rug in October for my office out of a bunch of scraps I discovered when I was making the window pane squirrel above.


Number 19. Another squirrel. I couldn't resist....

Which then inspired number 20.  I used the rest of the colors to make this long wall/door hanging for my mom.

On both of these I used primary variegated thread.  I put a light colored backing on mom's so we can see the quilting.  Fun from the front and the back!!!



I've made my UFO list for 2014 and have actually FINISHED one already!  You can track my progress on my Flickr page at:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/ppaq614/











Sunday, October 20, 2013

Quilting Queue July 2013

I had great plans this summer. All the BOMs I had started in February/March were going to be caught up so when school started in September I'd have my momentum going and would be able to sail through to Christmas break.  

Wrong.

My daughter had a baby. 
I became a Grandma, with all the rights and privileges awarded that esteemed office. 


Miss Penelope Riese Vaughn was born on July 21, 2013. 

I spent the week before and many weeks after just staring off into space. I guess, if you read my last post, you saw I was attributing the staring to being some step in the creative process, and I'd like to think some of it was just allowing my brain to churn out some direction to take with that cute kitty quilt I made. But frankly? A lot of time was spend reeling from a kind of paradigm/tectonic plate shift - a shift in the universe that only I was aware of. 

The English language has one word for love, but we all know there are many meanings for love. I love Utz Kettle-cooked Potato Chips, and I love my husband. I love my children and I love my job.  But I don't love them in all the same way.  Then Miss Penny arrived on the scene and folks - holy cow - there is yet aNOTHer kind of love.  



And this flavor of love also extends to my daughter, Adrienne, and son-in-law, Jeremy, now parents themselves. 


The big question on everyone's mind leading up to her birth was '
what kind of quilt am I going to make her???'  
I love 'I Spy' quilts for little ones.  Jeremy is a big Star Trek fan and I ran across some Star Trek fabric months ago and snatched it up, knowing I was going to use it for this baby.  I test drove the pattern I wanted to use with just the Star Trek figures.


This piece is only about 12x12". To make a whole crib sized quilt out of this size of figures would have been visually numbing.  So I expanded the height of the strips in order to make bigger 'mouse holes'.  (That's what I think they look like!)



I am pleased with how it turned out.  Do you see Grandpa with his tuba???  I had it hanging in my office for a week and got a lot of vocabulary out of my students, so I know it works!


And as you can see, Miss Penny has already figured out how to use it!

Meowing in the Rain

I participated in my first ever challenge this past summer.
Our awesome, new quilt shop, The Crazy Cousin, presented a challenge to the customers based on the book: 


The purpose here is to take a block that has been sitting in great-auntie's hope chest waiting to be turned into a quilt, and re-purposing it.  We were each given this block and were to derive inspiration from the block and make a wall hanging-sized quilt from it.  Rhonda, our shop-keeper, told us ours needed to be 24x24"

I had this block loitering on my sewing table for a few months.


I think I received the block in April, and if you remember, April was my bluest month - the month leading up to taking Dominique to the convent.  The only thing I was able to do in April was to sketch and make my quilt guild name tag and and I sketched a few options for this block.  My name tag ended up being fabulous, so I figured I ought to stick with my inspiration for this block as well.  I came up with two scenarios: an umbrella or a bird bath.  I really wanted to incorporate a cat or two in my scene somewhere.

I've never 'designed' anything like this before and was a little surprised at myself when I realized - duh
that had to come up with a background! I decided to use some of my Sue Spargo inspiration. She uses a lot of muted background: tone on tone, mixing fibers, which makes her Dancing Birds take the focus.  She has had us use linens on the wools which the more I thought about linen, the more I liked the loose 'watery' effect it has.  But I didn't really want to spend a ton of money on yardages of linen if I ended up not using it. So I hit a thrift store and bought four linen blazers of varying neutral shades and weave for $2.00 each.  Can't beat that!


I then used the lining from the blazer to give the scene a horizon and to act as the 'puddle' the cats were sitting in. I liked how the shininess of the nylon looked 'wet'.  I auditioned a few different borders, and up to this minute was planning on making the kitties out of wool. I really wanted to show off some of my fabulous Sue Spargo wool and stitching skills.

I ended up choosing the border on the left, just the green and blue 'bursts'. I began auditioning different wools to make the cats out of and nothing was popping.  At all.  It was very boring in fact.  I threw down some blue and green cotton and LOVED how it all came together. So now I was looking at needle-turn applique for the umbrella as well as the cats.  Oh well.

The pattern for the cats was really probably my biggest hurdle. I do not draw well.  At all.  For months I sketched cats, google-imaged cats, sought out cartoon cats. Nothing was inspiring me.  Then I noticed one day there was a drawing that was always in my way.

Gracie had drawn this a year or so ago. It was literally, like I said, always in my way. I'd just not managed to 'file' it away. I stopped and looked at the simple lines - I can applique this!  I traced it, blew it up, reversed it and voila! Two awesome cats!


Well. One awesome cat and one awesome cat helper...


Here we are! Two awesome cats, tails wrapped around the umbrella pole.


I quilted the background to look like rain pinging off the umbrella and the ground.  Quilted the puddle to look like they were sitting in the water.  I used my Sue Spargo threads to outline the cats and the umbrella - a little wool to do their eyes and collars.  A few buttons were added and here they are!

This was on display at Rhonda's shop for the last two months.  Customers were invited to vote for their favorite.  I did not win, but the competition was quite amazing.

I enjoyed the creative process, but boy does it take a while! My biggest obstacle is to stop second guessing myself! How many hours did I spend just staring? 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

CSA July 10, 17 and 24

July 10

1 dozen eggs
2 large bags of tomatoes
14 ears of corn
2 quarts of peaches
3 pounds of string beans
1 1/2 pound bag red potatoes
1 1/2 pound bag of yukon gold potatoes
2 egg plants
1 bag sweet peppers

I was out of town when this share arrived.  My kids shared a few things they made with the items:  


Toad in the Holes with sliced tomato from Adrienne and 




Skillet Surprise from Anne Marie


July 17

1/2 dozen eggs

2 large bags of tomatoes
14 ears of corn
2 bulbs of garlic
2 quarts of peaches
4 green peppers



 A yummy marinated corn salad

More eggs and tomatoes, one of my favorite combinations!


The kimchi I made in June was ready to eat - 
a little on the salty side but it didn't slow anyone down!


This was the summer for peaches - and they were soooo good!
My favorite breakfast was plain or vanilla greek yogurt with a sliced peach.


July 24

1/2 dozen eggs

1 quart of okra
1 eggplant
1 pepper
2 watermelons
1 heirloom cantaloupe
3 quarts of peaches
4 pints of grape tomatoes
1 bushel of corn
2 containers of berries
1 bag of italian peppers


Okra was not anything I'd ever eaten before. All I'd ever heard was a critical 
 'Ew yuck - those are so slimey!'
So what does one do with a potentially unpalatable food item?
FRY IT!!!
We all loved it!  I was recently told I should skewer them, then throw them on the grill with my favorite treatment: olive oil/salt/pepper.  Next year...


And these melons?  Amazing!


This is as far as my summer CSA attention span lasted.  I became a Grandma on the 21st  of July and my motivation for many things dropped out of sight.  Oh - we ate! We continued to try new recipes! But the stamina to maintain the blog was not a priority.  

I did sign up for Snead's CSA again next year. We'll see if I am interested in throwing out my grain of salt...