Sunday, November 27, 2016

BAM BOM Finish

Dan and I had a quiet Thanksgiving. It was just the two of us enjoying his talented cooking skills. He made us a 13 pound turkey, so there will be no dearth of leftovers (they're in the freezer). I contributed homemade French bread, and a no-bake pumpkin pie - the one in the graham cracker crust with cream cheese and vanilla pudding. It's a family favorite.

I also sewed a lot between turkey day and today, happily completing two of my three entries into QuiltCon East 2017. After last year's huge disappointment with "Prism" not being juried into QuiltCon 2016, I'm not allowing myself to be hopeful about any of these three quilts being accepted. The competition is quite stiff! I am a little smarter though, understanding now that accepted QuiltCon quilts are most often "original design." Well, all three of mine are original. This is one of them. The other two are entries in the Nine Patch Challenge, and the Michael Miller Luxe Fabric Challenge.

In October I finished my no-name Bay Area Modern Block of the Month. This quilt started as a 2013 block-of-the-month with Central Florida MQG members - though only four of us actually did it!

I took my blocks to an "Alternate Grid" workshop with Lee Heinrich, when she visited our chapter last February. From that class, I came up with the layout. The finished quilt size is 47" x 58".

Quilting designs were figured out as I went along, using some favorite quilting patterns, and designs from books by Angela Walters and Christa Watson.

The backing ended up being a hodgepodge of orphan blocks and fabric chunks. While I love the way it looks, it wasn't easy to quilt! When seams on the front were on top of seams on the back, my machine "chunked" it's way over them.

This is the first block we made in the series, and it's my favorite because of the Florida theme. Unfortunately, because the quilt front blocks are on point, this block worked only on the quilt back.

When I'd finished this quilt, I visited the Bay Area Modern website, and commented about my finish. Their blog editor asked for details and pictures, and ending up writing a post about my finish. So nice!

When I strike up a conversation with a new quilter, and I remark that I make modern quilts, I'm often asked, "What's a modern quilt?" That's when I become frustrated because it's difficult to define modern in tangible terms. Sure, I say, "Modern, clear-colored fabrics; asymmetrical designs; use of negative space; improvisation..." - all the buzz words - but that doesn't usually help their understanding. Then I end up saying, "Do a Google search and you'll find examples."

So when I recently received a newsletter from Make Modern magazine, an Australian digital publication, that provided a link to their modern quilts pattern gallery, I thought, this is where everyone should be looking to see great examples of modern quilts. Enjoy. Linda

Monday, November 21, 2016

Swirly Twirly Dresden

When the Central Florida MQG came up with a member challenge - "Traditional Made Modern" - due at the November 14 meeting, I needed to do something quick and fairly easy. I remembered a foundation paper-pieced design I had bookmarked months ago, and it suited my purposes perfectly - a Dresden Plate design made modern.

It was fun to go through my stack of Blueberry Park fabrics - still a favorite collection - to come up with a rainbow range of colors. The FPP was easy to do, though I stitched beyond the edge of the design, past the perimeter of the circle, so as to make my circle slightly larger. 

After the FPP, I cut a circle from linen fabric to hand-appliqué to the center, on top of the FPP. Then I cut a circle from a large square of background linen to lay on top of the FPP for reverse appliqué. Because I left some extra seam allowance, I could turn back the outer circle to the size I needed, hand-appliqué it, and turn the piece over to trim away the excess seam allowance.

I picked a bright backing, and made an envelop finish with binding, per this tutorial by FreshlyPieced. It's my favorite way to put a pillow together.

This free foundation paper-pieced pattern is from Vicki at Orchid Owl Quilts. You can find it here on the QuiltingLodgeBlog.

By the way, per a viewer's choice ballot, my pillow placed fourth in our Central Florida MQG challenge. First place went to my friend Karen, also formerly from Iowa, who's holding the aqua quilt on the left. She quilted it beautifully on her sit-down Tiara machine. Friend Cindy, formerly from Montana, placed second with her broken herringbone pillow. Susan's hanging placed third.
L-R: Karen, me, Cindy, Susan

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Home Improvement

Our home improvement jobs never take the form of do-it-yourself. My hubs is blessed with skill in the kitchen, but none at all when it homes to fixing up. I can live with hiring out.

Such was the case when last week the house exterior was painted, and I got my orange wall in the living room. Next up was to have the old carpet removed from the master bedroom closet that comes off the master bathroom. Before and after. We really like this, but it didn't - poof! - appear. The tile color is "sand" and when some of the tiles didn't match, it took a while to figure out that the installer didn't have a die lot problem, but a box of "mushroom" - the wrong color! Of course, those tiles had to be taken back out. Then there was grouting three days later, followed by caulking. The closet didn't look normal for five days. 

After tiling came laminate. The builder's grade carpeting put in five years ago when the house was built (come February), was showing dirt and wear, in spite of cleaning. Time to make it better.

However, I really didn't think through how much work it would be to empty my sewing room, that being the first room to be tackled. Piles of machines, chairs, notions, tools, fabric, bins, etc. were everywhere in the living area.

We also emptied the guest room, since that was flooring room number two.

To make it easier to move the fabric cabinet in my sewing room, I unloaded it. That was the easy part! What was way more effort was putting it all back again. But see how much more organized it is? In fact, I had enough space to move a few closet fabrics - like text prints, and my new Eureka collection by Emma Jean Jansen - into the cabinet too. I'm not kidding myself that this will stay looking so good, but I'm admiring it while I can.

It's been a ton of work to do this, as I was sorting and reorganizing everything that came out of and went back into the rooms, and then wiping off, vacuuming, and mopping the rooms as the work was done. Everything had a fine layer of dust on it, including furniture in the living room.

This is the finished guest room. I do think the room looks richer now.

And the master bedroom. I love white furniture and think it looks even better with the wood floor. 

Bill did a beautiful job laying flooring in all three rooms.

The sewing room change from carpeting to laminate. 

But the room isn't yet settled. Because the floor needs to be protected, everything now has felt pads underneath. Except those two black, home improvement store, plastic sawhorses aren't going to work anymore. So, it's off to IKEA to get two more of the white wooden "trestles," like on the left. They're adjustable height too, so that's a bonus. Also, I need a rug at the end of the cutting table, for long-term standing. I've ordered new rubber casters for my two sewing chairs to replace the hard plastic ones that could damage the floor. Until those arrive, I won't be sewing in here. 😒

What we didn't anticipate was how not having carpeting would affect Hogan! He seems a little lost, as today's he's wandered into the guest room and my sewing room, and back out again, looking for a soft lay-down spot. And, he wasn't totally successful at jumping up on his window bench in the sewing room. He couldn't get traction. The borrowed rug will suffice until I find something better.

I sat down to write this blog post after using the Hoover floor scrubber to clean all the tile in the house because, rightly so, the paths from the front door to the bedrooms were pretty dirty from the workers.

Once I have sewing room time again, I want to make a couple of these, to keep my sewing machine foot control(s) from sliding across the floor. Oh, but I can't wait! Linda

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Elephant in the Room

Political news has been dominant in most American's lives since the announcement that Donald Trump will be our next president. His win was a big surprise to political pundants and millions of Americans, and initially produced an outcry from unhappy voters. Many of them have both subtly and loudly declared their unhappiness with the result. On the other hand, I haven't heard much, if anything from the happy voters.

I have been surprised to read on Instagram the posts from quilters who've excessively expressed their disappointment and even grief with the election outcome. In the next breath their declarations of "inclusive love" are proclaimed. These opinions clearly and dismayingly insinuate that other voters don't love. What an unfair judgement. This makes me sad, but also reminds me what Jesus told us, found in Matthew 5:29:
But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheekturn to thethe other cheek also. 
This affirms my decision not to contradict anyone. And in any case, opinions are nearly impossible to change. So I am praying, and leaning on God to guide our country through this unprecedented change in leadership. I'm hopeful that Americans will see good things come from President Trump.

Also causing some disruption in our lives - but in a happy way - we've been handling several home improvements. Monday morning, our house looked like this.

Thanks to the work of three painters...

 ... by the end of the day on Monday, our house looked like this. Perhaps not a very dramatic difference, as the main color and trim color are very similar to the old, but wonderfully new-looking.

Then on Tuesday, the same painting company came inside the house to paint the 22 foot-long wall in the living room. From the moment he laid on the first stroke, I knew I'd love it.

Paint is Behr brand, color Mandarin, in a matte finish.

The colors in the rug are really accented now, as are the orange pillows, silk arrangement, and orange in the quilts on other walls that have been in the room for a long time.

At night, the lamp-glow makes the room seem warm and cozy. Now I'm thinking to make a wall quilt to replace those two palm fronds pictures. Yes, it's just an excuse to make another quilt!

Today I taught at the Lifelong Learning College for the last time. Four students attended my all day free motion quilting workshop, and I know - because they told me - that they learned a lot.
From their first attempt at quilting their name, to the end-of-class quilting of their name, they each improved dramatically.
It's such a treat to teach enthusiastic students!
I have no doubt that all four of them will continue to pursue domestic machine quilting. 
And now, I'm appreciating that I will no longer have to load and haul all the paraphernalia needed to teach away from home - sewing machine, sewing tool chest, design board, quilting books, several quilts and lunch. Nor will I worry again about something needed for teaching that I've accidentally left at home - the downside of teaching in a place other than a quilting or sewing store. 

A half dozen quilters have expressed interest in in-home classes. Yay! If you're one of them, just let me know, and tell me if there's something you'd like to make. I'm thinking that a pillow, tote bag, or wristlet would be a fun day-long workshop. Lunch included! Linda

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

It's E-Day and I Don't Care

Americans will all agree that we've had enough negativity, name-calling and dissension in the past two dozen months to last a lifetime.

So today I'm using a different E-word: Exclude! Meaning: Exclude me from today's political scene!

And due to the fact that I already have enough enemies, I won't share my political views here or on any social media platform. Those who do are subject to scrutiny and scorn, and I certainly don't want opposing political viewpoints to taint the many wonderful friendships I have in the blogosphere and IGworld.

In the big scheme of things, my single vote won't change a thing, nor will I suffer the consequences of either inadequate person who's elected president. I figure that I'll be dead before the ramifications of four to eight years of misguided leadership will impact me.

But, I will say that my October 26 voting experience was extremely impressive. Dan and I just walked right into the polling place and were assisted every step of the way.

First we were greeted, told to silence our cell phones and have our IDs ready. Then we went to a person who verified our address and we signed a digital screen. We took the printed “receipt” to the next person for a ballot, and then were each accompanied to a voting booth where the ballot was explained - "Turn it over to complete both sides, and leave it blank if you don't know who to vote for." Lastly, I delivered the ballot to the machine where a person told me to insert it, and then handed me the “I voted early” sticker and a miniature Tootsie Roll! Was it like this at all polling places?!

Photo from 2014
Today we're having our house painted. Though we've been in this house only 4-1/2 years, the poor "builder's grade" quality of the paint job done on our stucco house is evident. This time the house will first get a coat of a rubberized sealer that will help prevent cracks in the stucco. Then colorwise, we're going with basically the same combo that the house was originally painted. I'll be able to show a good "after" picture by Wednesday. Hopefully, one livingroom wall will also be painted this week! Orange!

Sewing-wise, it's been a little slow. I've lost my "umph," for some reason. This comes at a bad time because I need to be finishing QuiltCon entries. My heart isn't in any of them because I know they're blah.

I finished straight-line quilting my 2017 QuiltCon East Michael Miller Luxe Challenge fabric entry. It was a personal challenge I made to myself to completely straight-line quilt using a walking foot, which I've never done before. Next, I'm adding big stitch hand quilting.

Recently I've been thinking about offering in-home private quilting lessons to two or three students at a time. Since I'm no longer an instructor at the Lifelong Learning College - this Friday's "Quilting With a Quilting Foot" workshop will be my last - though I very much enjoy teaching. I'm thinking I could teach in my home on any number of techniques, including free motion quilting. A three hour or six hour class at a reasonable rate, and maybe even a Dan-made lunch included with a six hour class? Would I have any takers? Linda

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Unordinary Week

So the little pirates were here for a week, from October 29 to November 5, and that meant my sewing room became a bedroom. Not a stitch of sewing happened, but I didn't care. These guys hadn't been to visit us for two whole years, so we had a lot of doing to do!

Swimming at the nearby pool - four times, in fact! These two are fish! They have no fear of the water.

Weather was gorgeous - in the 60s at night; in the low to mid 80s during the day.

Having Bapa's "floaties"- ice cream with orange soda, or root beer - more than once!

Bedtime reading under one of Nana's older quilts, this purple and gold one from our University of Northern Iowa Panther days.

Lots of Hogan petting.

Going to Homosassa Springs State Park to see the US's oldest living hippopotamus who's 56...

... and three 40 year-old female manatees who were injured in boat accidents, and are protected in the park.

After three days of Tay and Aesa only, we picked up mom - our daughter, Jill.

... and promptly set off for a day at The Fun Spot in Kissimmee.

Four hours of fun there! 

I went on the Rockstar roller coaster twice. That was plenty, but Jill went on it six times! Those boys loved it!

Tay turned seven in September, and Aesa turns six in November, so we had a belated and early celebration.

We golf-carted - the most fun activity in itself! - including the always-popular Sumter Landing, to check out the Florida softshell turtles, and look for an alligator. No gator spotted that day.

Someone was feeling a little grumpy, from all the go-go-going and no nap.

I learned about geocaching, and drove the golf cart to several locations to help search for them. Four were found! Two were not.

While the family was visiting, this fabric arrived... an exciting addition to my stash that came to me via RedThreadStudioOnline directly from the October 29-31 quilt market in Houston.

This 24 piece fat quarter bundle is Eureka by Emma Jean Jansen for Ella Blue Fabrics. I have no ideas in mind as to what I'll do with it, but it's nice to know they're in my fabric cupboard.

The deadline for entering QuiltCon East (2017) is coming up on November 30. I'm focusing on two finishes, hoping that by entering several quilts I'll increase my chances of getting one quilt in this highly competitive juried show. I need to get busy! Linda


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