Sunday, October 31, 2010

Big And Small, I Love Them All

Today, I had a shock.  I found out my hubby was using one of the quilts I'd made for my son, when he was an infant, as a dog quilt.  It was a simple quilt, just a piece of train fabric, and I'd hand quilted around all the trains.  Offended doesn't even begin to cover it.  I think the dog will survive with a thrifted quilt originally purchased at ChinaMart.

All of my quilts got pulled from the closet and will go into hiding, just in case.  Not that my family really uses them much - we all have big comforters that are warmer and lighter.  I began to wonder why I made so many.  I think my Sis Boom quilt will be the last big one I make, for me.

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And I've already made quilts for everyone I know.  Last Christmas [never to be repeated, I don't recommend least, not when you start in October].   I'm sure charities will appreciate my quilts more.

But what about small quilts?  I've made so many, and I dearly love them too.  For me, a quilt isn't just for's also art.  No matter WHAT it looks like, it's art.  From traditional patterns, to whimsical patterns, to abstract and stitchery designs.  When I have a blank corner I want to warm up with color, a small quilt fits the bill.


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pattern from Jenny of Elefantz, words added by me

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pattern by Dawn of As Sweet As Cinnamon

And then there are the quilts I rescue.  From thrift stores, from estate or garage sales, it grieves me to see someone's handwork tossed aside [take note, family].  If the item is within my budget, I rescue it. 

Quilts don't have just one use - they can warm your body or warm your soul.  They can create a mood in a room and in a family.  They can cheer you up, make you think, give you a giggle.

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Every quilter has the soul of an artist.  Whether you're creating your own design or making one that was perfected 200 years ago, you're an artist.  Every quilter has the curiousity of a child and the patience of a saint.  Some are perfect, some are not; all are creations that spring from a deep place in the heart that holds a wellspring of joy.

Right now, we're celebrating the Blogger's Quilt Festival, an amazing brainchild of the amazing Amy.  I'm hoping to visit each and every quilt in the coming week[s].  Every quilt tells a story, and every quilt is a work of art.  Sometimes I feel like an amateur, viewing these wonderful creations.  But it's not about skill level, it's about sharing an art form.  Some are very large, meant to warm another - some are very small, meant to warm all who see it. 

Big or small, I love them all.  Look at your precious hands, and go create something.  And if your family doesn't appreciate it, you'll know that those who create with you will.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival! It's Here!

The brilliant Amy is your host to the best quilt show on the internet - get your beverage of choice, your most comfortable chair, shut off the phone and lock the doors - and get ready to spend a lot of time browsing the wonderfully creative entries!  I think some Halloween candy is in order too.  Buckets full.  Must have sustenance.

My entry this year is my Lemon Tree.  I really wanted to enter my Sis Boom, but it's still being quilted - hand-quilting takes me a long time.

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This quilt started with the fabric.   Mary had a fat quarter giveaway and I won it, and the old Lemon Tree song popped into my head as soon as I saw the bundle of fabric.  I drew up a simple tree shape, added some leaves and lemons, and part of the song.  The fabric really reminded me of the 60's, and I thought about the artwork in children's books in that era - when I quilted it, I tried capture that same sketchy, freewheeling style. 

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I had a lot of fun making it, and it ended up looking exactly as it had in my head.  Which never happens, right?  I learned a lot in the making, mostly about my ability to bring a design to life and gained a lot of confidence in that.  I offer it as a pdf download in my sidebar, and Sue from Charlotte's Cottage made a brilliant version!  She used fabric with musical notes on it for the leaves and when I saw it, I wished I'd thought of it. *G*

Now go take some pics of a quilt you've made, and join in on the fun over at Amy's - there are lots of prizes to be won.  And after you've entered, have fun browsing all the wonderful quilts and enjoy making all kinds of new friends!  My poor Google Reader is going to be groaning with all the blogs I'll find to stuff in it, it happens every time!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Forgot To Mention....

Go check out Chrissie from Chrissie's Blog, she did my birdcage stitchery and used seed beads for little flowers among the leaves - too, too darling!!!  Chrissie, I'm delighted with your version of my little birdie!

What A Doofus And Lessons Learned

I believe we're finally on the mend, although I'm still having coughing fits - let's hope this is the only cold of the season we get, as it was a doozy.

And here's why I'm a doofus.  The layout of the baby quilt I showed in my last post was wrong.  You don't do a rectangle, then a short piece, then a rectangle.  You do it like this:

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All long pieces, except at the end.  You use a short piece at alternating ends.  This quilt top is finally finished, although it hasn't been squared up yet.  I'm scared to - the blocks drift decidedly west.  There's a warp in my brick wall.  And this is why I am not a piecer, I much prefer applique.  I don't know how this happened or if I can fix it.  I press, I don't iron, each piece is cut exactly, I use a quarter-inch foot.  I'm a failure.

Lessons learned.  Number one, and bears repeating [FOUR TIMES], don't blow-dry your hair near your design wall.  Lesson two, don't upload stitchery designs for your friends unless you're done designing.  I added more, and I've uploaded the pdf file [edit: pattern no longer available].  Lesson three, if you are a bad piecer, find a friend who is good at it.  Lesson four, don't try to piece while under the influence of cold medications.

The stitcheries.

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The little birds were based on the fabric in the quilt with the little children on it.  I thought they were too cute.

John went for his third interview yesterday morning.  They told him they had more people to interview and should know by the end of the week.  This is quite the process for a temporary, holiday retail position.  Is this the way they do things now?  Back in the day, you'd walk in, talk to the manager, and be told when  you'd start.  At least, that's the way it worked for me.  Now, you need a resume to apply at Burger King.  (insert shocked face here)  I've no clue how someone who has never had a job is supposed to create a resume!

I will probably be offline for a couple of days.  We're going to get high winds tomorrow and I usually don't even turn my computer on during something like that - even with a surge protector it worries me to lose power while it's running.  I'm not good with surprises.  I wanted to share a couple of books I've found at the library but it can wait til later in the week.  Be safe and well, see you soon!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Time Goes By

And way too fast, I might add.  I realized the other day that I only have a bit of time to make a baby quilt - the shower is coming up, and I didn't have a plan.  I did my usual frantic scramble through my dwindling stash, and found some fabric that I had cut last time my machine was in the shop - last year?  I'm too lazy to go back and look - I know I did a post about it.  It's 30's repro's, love them, and I had cut them in rectangles for a certain project.  Not a CLUE what project.

The rectangles are 6 1/2" x 3 1/2".  I'm pretty sure I was going to cut some in half and do a brick pattern, so that's what I did.  Cut some 3 1/2" x 3 1/4".  Then alternate the blocks in rows, to resemble brick.  But I couldn't leave it at that.  It looked too plain - had to have some stitchery, right?  Rather than pull out the endless assortment of vintage stitcheries I collect, I just drew up a couple of posies.

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They're all just up on my design wall, I'm going to start putting them together into rows today.

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If you have anything you need posies for, I made a pdf for you.  You can get it here.  I think it adds just the right touch.  They'll be added more randomly than I showed in the picture, I just put them together so you could see them.   

I also tried out my pencils, and the textile medium.  It works!  The first time I used it, I took it straight from the bottle - just used a small brush, covered only the part that was colored, then washed it.  I was not very pleased, it made the fabric stiff and that makes it hard to get a needle through.  The part that is circled with black ink is the part I used the medium on.

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I tried it again, this time thinning the medium with water.  I haven't washed it yet, so I'll let you know if it comes out any softer if you thin it first.  I must admit I really like using the pencils, much easier than crayons, especially for tight corners and for shading.  If anyone has used this method, I'd love to know your thoughts - do you find the fabric gets stiff, and how easily can you get a needle through it?

Have a great week, we're still recuperating here but should be back to the Y tomorrow.  My oldest had a job interview this morning, and will have another one next Sunday - we'd appreciate any prayers!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How Do You Know...

that your Nyquil is working?  When you see a button that says "feedback" and you think it says "feedsack".  I guess that would also mean you're a dedicated quilter.

I'm watching the Chilean miner's rescue on  It's absolutely riveting.  Praise God they're getting them out of there!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Time To Play

I'm so excited.  I found some textile medium, not the one I was looking for but hopefully this one will be good.  I dragged out the big box of art supplies, spent far too much time sorting colored pencils from the markers that lost their ink when the boys were still in diapers, and looking for containers to put them in.  Mugs will work for now.

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I'm ready, baby.  I'm going to try Cheryl's technique for coloring her stitcheries.  I'm tempted to spend a couple of days sharpening all the pencils, but I think I'll exercise some self-control and sharpen as needed.  Is there anything so tempting as art supplies?  Wait - yes there is - what am I thinking.  Fabric supplies, of course.

And sharp scissors.  I got disgusted with my hair yesterday and cut it off.  2-3 inches.  The bottom layer was growing so fast and looking rather ragged, and my theory of why pay for a bad haircut when you can do it yourself for free still holds.  But I do like it.

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Don't try to adjust your sets - this is a picture of an antique, taken in an antique mirror.  The kinder, gentler sort of mirror.  I'm still finding bits that didn't get hacked, so I'm keeping the scissors handy.

We're all sick here, so we're staying home and trying not to infect the rest of civilization.  The weather is so beautiful, it's a shame to stay inside, but right now we're content to open windows and keep the kleenex nearby.  Hopefully lots of coloring will get done and I'll have something to show you soon.

Stay well, be happy - hug the ones you love.  But only if you're not sick.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ah Summer

We seem to be having summer again here in Michigan, with the added benefit of beautiful autumn color.  I know it won't last but it sure is nice.  I need to get outside and take some pictures of the colors to get me through winter!

I want to tell you about a new toy tool I found.  Joanne from Splitting Stitches is having a give-away, a $25 gift certificate from I Have A Notion.  You have to go look at the website and see what you'd buy with the gift certificate, so I went looking and my goodness has she got a lot of lovely stuff!  One thing that caught my eye was clip-on, flip-up magnifying glasses - you know I have trouble seeing to stitch, so I thought these might help.

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Kind of hard to see in the pic, but they work!!!  I clip them onto my bifocals and they're just the right magnification to help me see, without having to hold my stitching up to my nose.  Which of course makes my neck ache.  I couldn't wait for the give-away to end, so I hurried and ordered them.  Kelly is absolutely lovely to work with,  EXCELLENT customer service.  She also has a blog and has a give-away going!

I was finally able to finish my birdcage stitchery. 

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I haven't had time to make it into anything yet.  All I've done this week is quilt a baby quilt for a friend [no pics].  But I've also been doing some stitching on the pin pillows pattern I won from Cheryl...

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I really want to do her coloring technique, but need to get some colored pencils and the textile medium to keep them from washing out.  Maybe I can get that this week.  Usually I use crayon, but you don't have the same control over tiny areas that you would with pencil.  I want to give it a try.

While stitching, I've been watching some new Miss Marple videos.

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I didn't think I'd like the new Miss Marple.  I loved Joan Hickson in all the PBS videos, I thought she was so perfect in that role...but I DO like Julia McKenzie in the role as well.  Thank goodness.  Agatha Christie books were my first introduction to the mystery world, I started reading them when I was nine years old.  At one time I owned every book she wrote.

I've also been listening to audio books.   Milk and Honey Quilts has had a couple of reviews of audio books from LibriVox, a website where you can download free audio books.  I've really enjoyed her selections, and last night decided to browse the site for myself.  Another favorite of mine is P.G. Wodehouse, and thankfully they have some of his books.  Listening while I stitch is better than watching a video, because I don't have to look up from my stitching.  I think I'll get a lot done on my Sis Boom quilt while I listen!

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Off to quilt, or stitch, or something....have a wonderful Sunday!

Monday, October 4, 2010


That's what my heart is doing....why?  Go look at Cheryl's blog, and see what she did with my birdie!  And then go look at Peg's blog and see what SHE did!  Amazing.  Just amazing and my heart is all a-flutter. 

I think Australians have an advantage over us - they seem to have more TIME.  I think their 24 hours last longer in the Southern Hemisphere.  As soon as I drew my birdie in a cage, I started stitching it.  In one color.  One.  Red.  I worked on it most of the day yesterday, and I'm not done.  They used more than one color, and Cheryl even did her signature coloring technique [and added the sweetest pink buds!] and they're way ahead of me.  For those of you from the Northern Hemisphere, who have traveled to Australia, can you confirm this for me?  Did time move slower there or something?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Little Birdie Told Me....

I think everyone in blogland knows that Jenny and Wendy are hosting a Birdcage Week-End Sew-In.  The creations are FABULOUS.  I didn't take part in this one, between having too much to do and not wanting to do any fiddly sewing.  But as I looked at all the creations, I really wanted my own bird.  So, last night, I drew one.

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And I'm sharing it with you.  You can get the pdf file here.

My little birdie didn't like staying in a cage, so I left the door open for her.  She decorated her little home with lots of ivy.  I think she's very happy there!  I haven't stitched her out yet, but I plan to this weekend.  Won't you join me?  I think I will do her in redwork, but may make her sister in other colors.  If you make your own, I would love to see!

And now I have a question for you.  Have any of you ever straightened your hair, permanently?  I've had it done at a salon, but would like to do it myself, to save big bucks.  If you have done this successfully [or unsuccessfully!] I'd love to hear your story!

Have a great weekend everyone, I plan to sew until I can't see straight!


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