Wednesday, November 25, 2015

On Following Directions...Quicky WIP Wednesday

Taking time off from my busy baking/cleaning schedule to tell you a funny story.  Some of you know already that I am a former teacher.  Well, teachers are pretty notorious for not following directions - they always want to start right away, because they are so eager to show what they know, or to do the task at hand.  Well, my teacher genetics reared their ugly little head last night with this.  (Lorna McMahon, you are going to laugh at this,)  I was making Lorna's adorable deer from her amazing Forest Friends quilt and it clearly says to read the directions all the way through before starting.  Naturally, I thought I knew better, and the result was this:

Now to the untrained eye it might look okay, but if you look at it closely, it's wrong wrong wrong.  The extra long antlers, the little random knob on the head - nope, not supposed to look like that.  Plus I had to add a bunch of pieces to the top and bottom to make it work - yikes.

Now why did I mess this up, I ask you? Well, because I didn't follow the directions.  I thought I was so smart I could do it bit by bit and well - I couldn't.  Now I don't hate it, it's stillI kind of cute so I've decided to leave it, add a little to the sides and make a little pillow out of it instead of taking it all apart and trying to figure out what I did wrong, but it definitely serves me right.  I should know better, after all, I am a teacher - huh!

I've started some new ones, and this time, I read the pattern twice and I seem to be getting it right so far..

These deer are so darn cute!  I had to go to a friend's birthday party last night and I had to stop before I got these finished.  It made me a little grumpy because I want to see them done (correctly, that is..)

I'm also quilting my Mountain Majesty quilt and having fun with it.

And I finished  the top of this quilt which I'm calling Every Which Way - made from squares and HST's from leftover fabrics from other projects.  Love to actually be somewhat frugal sometimes with the fabrics.  I know my grandmother would be appalled at my stash - she actually made scrap quilts from clothes and leftover fabrics.  But it's not my fault there are so many beautiful fabrics in the world, wanting to be cut up into new and interesting designs, is it?  

Hopefully I'll have some time later to check out more blogs from Freshly Pieced and Sew Fresh Quilts, but I do have 32 people coming to my house for Thanksgiving tomorrow so it may have to wait.  

In closing I  have to say how much I love this holiday - great food, family & friends, gratitude - there's nothing better.  So much to be thankful for every day.  

And at the risk of politically incorrect, I want to say that I love this country I live in, too.  So much freedom, opportunity, beauty, inventiveness, spirit.  It ain't perfect, but I'm glad to be here.  I'm not saying other places aren't great, too.  Just want to give a nod to the good old USA since we're kind of celebrating its beginning tomorrow.  For those of you who will be celebrating tomorrow, Happy Thanksgiving.  And to everyone  -  Happy Day!  Every day.  

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Seen at the Houston Quilt Festival

This is my blog, so naturally it is going to reflect my own opinions.  I begin by saying this, because what speaks to me is not necessarily what speaks to others,  That said, I'm going to share some of my favorites from the 2015 Houston Quilt Festival.  
First of all, not all Houston Quilt Shows are created equally.  Of course, there are always examples of amazing, fabulous, beautiful work, but I don't always feel that every time I do I get a ton of inspiration for myself.  Don't know why exactly.  This year I have been on fire all month since I got home.  I can't say I've even looked at any of the pictures before tonight, but something lit a fire under me and I can't stop making since I got home.  Here are some of the ones I loved.  These spoke to me because of the artistry, the compositions, the technique, the idea, or they were funny, or I just found them appealing visually, I guess.  There were so many beautiful pieces; these are just a few, really.  Unfortunately I wasn't smart enough to take photos of the description cards for each of them, so I can't say who made them (next time I'll do better).  

Here they are, in no particular order, except for the order in which I took the photos.  I apologize in advance for the photography, but the exhibition hall isn't all that well lit, and no flashes, ;and I'm not a great photographer anyway but you'll get the-er-picture, so - ENJOY!

This one was one of my absolute faves, too.  So beautiful and so masterfully done!  WOW.

And finally, my personal favorite.  I absolutely adore this quilt -the artistry the idea, the colors. It just blew me away.  I'm mad at myself for not taking a better photo!  This cuts some of it off and doesn't do it justice.

Now you tell me which one is YOUR favorite!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A WIP Wednesday that almost wasn't...

Whoa the day really got away from me today.  I had big plans, mind you, but it all just - escaped.  I admit as I write this I still feel a niggling irritation that things didn't go as planned - what a waste of energy.  It's not as though I didn't accomplish anything, just not the things I had planned - I need to go to my drawer and fish out my big girl panties, methinks.  

But I do have a share.  It's inspired by a little something I saw in a design magazine that just grabbed my fancy and wouldn't let go until I did it. No name for it, yet, but it's minimalist fun. Sorry about the picture but it's really late and I just want to share and go look at everybody else's stuff so I'm not taking time to edit it. (On second thought I'll just crop it a little, anyway...)

It's wonky and imperfect but I LOVE it.  It's so darn fun and it was a total blast to make and now all I have to do is figure out how to quilt it...but not today, today I'm just enjoying it.  

Love spontaneity.  (Although I did have to look the word up to make sure I was spelling it correctly...) 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

WIP WednCouldn't Wait to Cut In to These Fabrics!

I was lucky enough to go to the Houston Quilt Festival this year (I promise to sit down and write and share pictures of my faves soon).  It was inspiring as always, however, I decided I was not going to buy any fabric unless it seemed really, really special to me.

Naturally, I discovered lots and lots of special fabrics.  One line is from Frond Design Studio - it's fabric derived from paintings (at least thats the way I understand it).  Anyway, I fell in love with these fabrics, and even though I have a several projects going on, I simply couldn't stop myself from starting another project (Sorry Jonas - you will get your HS graduation quilt before you graduate from college, I'm sure of it!).   I'm sure you'll understand after I show you the fabric before it is cut up. It's a work of art all by itself:

Pretty beautiful, huh.  Almost too special to cut up - well, maybe not but it could stand alone.  They had a quilt kit with a really gorgeous quilt all designed for it, but I already had a quilt design in mind - it's based on a rug I had seen while shopping for our vacation rental.  Like I've said before, one never knows where inspiration will come from.

Here is the flimsy finish.  I'm calling it Mountain Majesty.  Again, it's almost a seasonal quilt, with the colors and all, but really one could keep it up all year, I think.  I am pretty excited to quilt it up, I have a cool idea for it.

Luckily I still have a yard of this beautiful stuff, and a second idea.  But as I'm currently working on a commissioned piece and two others plus this one, I'm not allowing myself to jump into it yet (although oh how I WANT to).  What makes it a challenge is that I already have the second design in mind for the other half of the fabric.  This one is loosely based loosely on a mat I saw in front of an auto shop!  (Again, always looking out for inspiration...)

I have moreWIPS naturally, but this is what I'm super psyched about at the moment.  Linking up to WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced and Sew Fresh Quilts to see what everyone else is excited about.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Summer Lovin' - Throwback Thursday

Today is Throwback Thursday over at A Quarter Inch from the Edge.  I think this is a fun way to look back at how far we've come as quilters, and enjoy old piece that we haven't looked at or thought about in a while.  

I'm going to share my Lovin' Summer Flip Flop quilt.  

This quilt makes me grin for several reasons. One, it is supposed to be a summer quilt and for some reason I chose to back it with black instead of white or a sandy color.  Two because of the way this piece came about.

A few years ago,my mother made one of these quilts.  I thought it was cute.  So did my sister.  As soon as it was finished, she (my sister) took it.  Mother let her have it, and then she was mad that she had given it away.  So her friends all made cute flip flop blocks for her and all she had to do was sew them together.  I saw her doing this the day before Mother's Day. The next day, when my husband and son asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day I told them all I wanted to do was sew.  So I went over to my mom's house and we sewed all day together - and this was the result.  I mean, I got the entire thing done in one day - talk about satisfying.  

It was a fantastic Mother's Day, spent with my excellent mom.  I can look at it and see things I would do differently now - of course, now I probably wouldn't sew the thing at all.  But this piece will always be special to me, because my mom is gone now, and I will never get to sew with her again on any day.  But as with many pieces, I can look at this and smile and think of Mother and how much fun we had together - not just that day, but many days, and feel lucky that she was my mom. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

WIP Post - Decipher This!

This is some sort of record - the third post I've done in four days!  But it's super fun too.  I'm actually in Houston at the Quilt Festival - am waiting to be able to go in, so I decided to go ahead and pass the time by participating in WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced an Sew Fresh Quilts.  I have several pieces in the works, but the one I've worked on the most for the last few days is my improv piece.  

I'm calling it Decipher This! because well - it's totally made from scraps and was completely unplanned and because I used a background fabric that has words that are really difficult to read as it's really tightly spaced - it's from the Architectures line. Also, after I got it all pieced, I ended up turning it sideways - while I was creating it, I had it the long way up and down, but after I finished I decided I didn't like it that way, so I rotated it and VIOLA! I loved it, but now most of the words are sideways.  Which is fine by me. 

It's all batted and ready to quilt, which will be the next challenge. But it's been totally fun and quite consuming, so I'm glad to take a break from it to be really inspired here in Houston.  But since I still have a couple of hours to wait before I can get in, I'm going to be inspired over the internet by what all the bloggers have shared today!  See y'all in cyberspace.     

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Pinwheels Plus

My second entry into the Blogger's Quilt Festival is Pinwheel's Plus.  I'm entering it into the Machine Quilted Category.

Not sure where the idea for this quilt came from.  At some point I decided I wanted to use some of my beautiful low volume fabrics and the soft aquas fabrics, but beyond that, I had no clue.  Except lately I've been really drawn to all the cool plus quilts that I've been seeing on blogs, in magazines, etc..  And also I've developed a passion for pinwheels, so this quilt was born.  

The reason I'm entering into the machine quilted category is because this was really quite a challenge to quilt - there's so much blank white space, and well, I just looked at it and freaked out a little.  I started with the pinwheels and the low volume pluses - that idea came fairly easily and I was pleased with it.   Next was the small squares.  I even had difficulty deciding what color thread to use - white made sense, but i had used gold  and that seemed like a decent, but scary idea.  But no design  could think of really excited me.  I decided I was over-thinking it, so I just went with my first idea.  I quilted three of them before I decided I couldn't live with what I'd done there, so out came Clover, my best seam ripper.   When I tried my second idea -the radiating lines, it immediately seems right. but suddenly the quilt started looking sort of Art Deco to me, which wasn't the original vision I had for it at all.  Lacking a better idea and not unpleased with the results, I continued on and finished them.

Now I had to confront the white spaces around the quilt. Yikes, really yikes.  I could not think of any design whatsoever that I thought would work.  I kind of wanted to keep it minimal, but that wouldn't work with the rest of the piece.  Anyway, I finally literally just stared quilting, and this is the result.  
I think it works pretty well, too.  

I definitely learned something in the making of this piece, and I'm definitely pleased with it.  Even though it turned out pretty differently than I originally intended, I feel like I went with the creative spirit and it took me to the right place.