8.1.14--Better Stay Out of the Kitchen

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO AT LEAST 5 PEOPLE I KNOW

If I made cakes for their special day:
1. My SouthFloridaBrother 

What? It is gluten-free and low in fructose
2. My friend in Maitland
From Designing Around--she said it was an American Girl Recipe.
If I made this, it might not be this successful,
but for YOU, Wooten, I would try.
I see in the left of the picture, a broom and dustpan
are required for this enterprise.
3. My cousin in France
WHAT? No. I would order her a cake
from that great little bakery in Dreux.
4. A friend in San Francisco
Just like JLP recipes showed
5. His twin brother in Virginia.
From Yarnvana. I would not try to frost Kevin's, he
is in the restaurant business and can no doubt
do better than I ever could.

Actually, I am a better baker than other type of chef. But that is not saying much.








7.31.14--GANDHARAJ

...or Gardenia jasminoides

Its cultivar name is Daisy Gardenia. Mine bloomed while I was away, but last Sunday there was another blossom. I am surprised to see how the petal tips curl like our native dogwood. Wait, two of them did not. I think the bud may have been bitten by some insect before it unfurled.

7.30.14--GIVE THIS A LISTEN

Sharing a relaxing song with you today. If you listen to it all the way through (about 8 minutes), your heart rate should slow down. Go HERE to find out more about Marconi Union's musical piece called Weightless. Scientists say it is the worlds most relaxing tune. You are STRONGLY cautioned against listening to it while driving.

Here are some more in the top 10, in case you need to relax:
The top ten relaxing songs are known to be 

1. Marconi Union – Weightless 
2. Airstream – Electra 
3. DJ Shah – Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix) 
4. Enya – Watermark
5. Coldplay – Strawberry Swing
6. Barcelona – Please Don’t Go 
7. All Saints – Pure Shores 
8. Adelev Someone Like You 
9. Mozart – Canzonetta Sull’aria 

10. Cafe Del Mar – We Can Fly

7.29.14--TEA TIME TUESDAY

Have I shown you this one? Isn't it cute?
How completely ridiculous! A penguin in a sombrero!
I love penguins but what I really like about this cup is its shape. I often look at handmade pottery, searching for the just the right one to add to my REAL collection. Some are too small for my hands, some too large. Most are too angular, glaze too sloppy, color too ugly, handle too weird. 

I looked for one I liked so I could show you, but I could not find one. I guess I will just have to keep going to art shows until I find THE ONE. 

7.28.14--MONDAY MANTRA

Once upon a time, I wished I had a greater facility with numbers, but I got through junior high, high school, and college without being able to do much math. It did not hold me back. In fact, maybe I am some sort of savant. I only got as far as geometry and the two algebras. By tenth grade, I was done. As you might expect, I LOVED geometry. I could see how it all fit. That other stuff? PLEASE. Every ONE of those numbers that did not refer to shapes were IRRATIONAL numbers to me. 

I am sure there are tens of thousands of people like me out there, who, back in check-writing days, could write the correct amount in the words part, transpose one OR MORE numbers in the numerical part, and then write a THIRD number in the register. Then subtract in the decimals, manage to "carry the one" and add in the dollars, hopelessly screwing up the check book forever.

I did not let my math inability keep me from taking the College Level Exemption tests that were available to me back in the day. I did not do any of the prep work, that as an adult, I would have at least made a stab at. 
No.
Not me. I read each problem, looked at the answers available, and my brain gave me a "feeling" about which answer to choose. I remember being torn between two answers on about 7 of the problems.

It did not hold me back. 
I took no math classes in college--I was exempted.

So if you see me on the street one day, do not ask me to do any math unless you give me 5 answers from which I can choose the correct one, or you have a calculator to lend me. 

I promise, even with a calculator, I WILL have to do the problem 2-3 times because I will enter the numbers wrong at least once. But you will probably see me smiling because I do not let what I can't do keep me from what I want to do.

All any of us can do is KEEP TRYING.






7.27.14--Look What I Can Do!

Look How Easily I can Make One on the Computer
I haven't actually done it but...

I just realized how much I like the look of the traditional LeMoyne Star block. 

I also remembered how difficult it was to make it the traditional way (last year's Audrey Hiers class. She taught it well, but I was fairly clumsy and need to find a better way). I did a quick little search and found a lot of ways to get the same effect, with probably less consternation.
Really Like it "ON POINT"--Must
Choose to Applique it

1. Piece it using half-square triangles like THIS on FaveQuilts.com
2. Draft a foundation paper from SeeHowWeSew, right here.
3. Skip the drafting and go right to a print ready template from api.ning.com, right here.
4. Instead of FPP, use EPP! Why didn't I think of that? I like English Paper Piecing very much. Messy Jesse has a tutorial for that but I didn't see any 8 point star diamonds but with a little research, I am sure I could go to my favorite FREE GRAPH PAPER GENERATOR and work something out. Or, I could go right back to SeeHowWeSew, right here, and learn to draft my own shapes.

7.26.14--In Which I Am Surprised

I have a lot of nieces. 
NieceN sent me a SURPRISE! It really picked up my day on Thursday and gave me energy to power through that binding sewing.

What could be better than a gift of Pearl Buttons for me, Purl Buttons? 

I love antique buttons. I love all kinds but I have a special fondness for Mother of Pearl. 

I will be using these and enjoying them! I am thinking about a way to use them Sunday afternoon. Maybe a little applique...

7.25.14--I Finished Something!

Yesterday:
Today, I WILL find my Strata Star fabrics and cut my strips. DONE!!!
Today, I WILL cut more blocks for FOWL PLAY, the quilt for my Audrey Class. Today I WILL do the machine work for 
1. Small fall colors wall piece (which you have not seen because it is a gift) DONE!!! SEE BELOW!!!!
2. Martha's topper 
3. that quilt for a friend BINDING ON AND  DONE!!!

Even though I did not yet bind all on the list or do all the machine work I talked about yesterday, I DID finish a project that has been ongoing for two years. I will give you a sneak preview right now, and then get back to binding.
Bound, Sleeve On, Label On.

Too bad. All I feel like doing right now is applique.











7.24.14--Working On

Okay, working on working on things.

Today, I WILL find my Strata Star fabrics and cut my strips.
Today, I WILL cut more blocks for FOWL PLAY, the quilt for my Audrey Class. Today I WILL do the machine work for 
1. Small fall colors wall piece (which you have not seen because it is a gift) 
2. Martha's topper 
3. that quilt for a friend

If I can do those things, I can sit back and enjoy the hand work of binding. People don't like to do that part, but I really enjoy it. I wonder if there is a business in it for me? I am not crazy about doing the machine attaching but, it is okay. I could charge by the job and have different rates if the binding is supplied but not cut, cut but not applied, applied but not stitched down.

Pardon me, while I go spend 4-5 hours on the computer designing business cards...

7.23.14--oh. OH!

I have been MISSED! It is funny. I don't reeeeeeealy have a sense of audience and then....someone said they MISSED me (my blog). That felt really good. 

I have been reading some sappy books and tearing up. That is very, very, very, unlike me. I hate that out-of-control, weak feeling. Still, it suited the mode of the moment of my life. 

Anyway, how does that translate to what I have been doing in the studio?
Why Did I Not Just Draft My Own Template?
Obviously the Pattern was FLAWED.
Finishing up stuff. 

1. Sunday, I finished up a "penny rug" , but I cheated by "facing" the unfelted wool pieces.

2. I worked on the last bits of quilting for a very special quilt. Just needs binding and delivery. That will be the hard part. She does not want me to visit her--has not for almost two years but I have been there three times. The first reason we moved here...

3. My dear husband surprised me by setting up my quilting frame in the cellar to work on a quilt for my first brother.

4. I decided that I would ride on a BUS to Chattanooga to see the Quilt Show, even though I need to be near a bathroom--I mean NEAR A BATHROOM--the first 5 hours of being awake. (thank you, high blood pressure pills for existing, but REALLY? REALLY? THERE IS NO BETTER WAY TO TAKE CARE OF THIS?)

5. UGH. My studio is a mess. 


Surely, I Do NOT Need to Do Needle Felting.
What's Up With This?
6. Another project? No, thanks, but no. I am trying to finish some things. I need some heirs to all this...


7.17.14--What is Different Today

Working on a  Wool Penny Rug for Applique Class. I have made a few decisions that are difficult to change so I will continue forward.
Edges To Be Bound With Hand-Buttonhole Stitch

I adhered the base to the back and found I really didn't like the way mine turned out. Besides, I should have attached the "pennies" before doing the glue/fusible step. 

Some inventions in needle work have been great--needle threaders and rotary cutters come to mind. I just do not feel that way about fusible matrices. I think our great-great-grannies did just fine using needle turn applique.
 
  Should Have Attached the "Pennies"
 Before The Backing

I put facings on my pennies because they were not all made of felted wool. Some were merely "fulled" and just a little stringy. I have finally come to the hand work, and I am very happy about that. I will use a buttonhole stitch around the edge of the mat and the pennies, after careful pressing. I will probably remove the middle pennies in these stacks and use them somewhere else. 
So, for now, I DID try something new, but I did not carry through with it. Maybe I did not give it enough of a chance.












7.16.14--Still Trying Something Different

The Pinjur was good. A little spicy, but good. 

Since I wrote for Monday's post, I have been very conscious of trying to do things differently.

Monday, I wore two mismatched earrings. On purpose. If you know me, you know it is odd that I remembered to wear earrings at all. You might also have said to yourself, "What's the big deal? Mismatched earrings? She has done that before." Well. I put the heavier one in my LEFT ear instead of the right, so there.

That afternoon, I found a piece of fabric that is SO FAR REMOVED from anything I would consciously reach for that I am going to consider it a personal challenge. A move to be different, try different things, think outside my personal "box".
If Only There Weren't Those
Big Ugly Blue and Pink Things
What do you think? I am not really one for crowds of flowers and certainly not in these colors. My inclination was to look for something with PINK and flowers, since that is anti-Purl Buttons. This should just about do it. I mean, look at it. Pink, blue, green, yellow--it is so GIRLY.
Marcus Fabric. Sorry, Hate Metallic,
but LOVE Purple and Pansies


Let me tell you, this little shop has EVERY kind of flower fabric you can imagine, including about 20 bolts of pansy fabric in varying colors with either gold OR silver metallic all over. Although I detest metallic on cotton so that might have been a good way to go to launch myself out of the box, pansies would be too easy since they are among my favorite flowers.
Marcus--This is Actually Tolerable--
Dare I Say I LIKE the PINK With the Purple?

So there I was, in the little shop, trying to remember that I came in to buy Aurifil thread, and my teacher, Audrey Hiers, suggested the black fabric with the pink and blue roses. It has a WONDERFUL hand. It is a Robert Kaufman and you can hear that it is whispering secrets (just like silk can, sometimes, if you have exactly the right color). 
The prevalence of the blue and pink roses are JUST SAVED from being completely repulsive by the little asters and daffodils. BLACK BACKGROUND? Are you kidding me, Robert Kaufman? Can't you see this wants NAVY BLUE? PERFECT(ly horrible), I'll take a half yard!

I have my work cut out for me: that is, I have to decide how to cut out my work. 

7.15.14--TEA TIME TUESDAY

TEA TIME TUESDAY
Glass Pots Seem To Be a Fav For Tisane Enthusiasts
I am still awake. If you are reading this in the day time, you may wonder why that is significant. Sometimes I write my posts days, even weeks ahead. Then I schedule them to appear on a specific day, at about 3 a.m.
Not Sure Who Carries This Beauty
It is about 3 a.m. now--right between a Sunday and a Monday. I have been awake and aware for about three and a half hours. That brings me to my topic for today: tisane.

Herbal tea, or tisane (UK /tɪˈzæn/, US /tɪˈzɑːn/), is any beverage made from the infusion or decoction of herbs, spices, or other plant material in hot water, and usually does not contain caffeine.[1] These drinks are distinguished from caffeinated true teas (black, green, white, yellow, oolong, etc., which are prepared from the cured leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis), as well as from decaffeinated tea, in which the caffeine has been removed. In addition to serving as a beverage, many herbal teas are also consumed for their perceived medicinal benefits.[Wikipedia]
Found at Crate and Barrel At One Time
If I were to have tea, I would have a tisane. I have not had caffeine in more than 18 hours. I. just. can. not. sleep. Maybe if I chose the correct tisane, I would get drowsy. My alarm is set for 6:45. Do I dare?










7.14.14--MONDAY MANTRA--TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT

MONDAY MANTRA

TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT 

That didn't convince you? It is just a suggestion, but it might just kickstart a wonderful experience.

Here is my "something different". I plan to try it this week!

Ingredients:
peppers, eggplant, onions, tomato puree, vegetable oil, garlic, salt, acetic acid, spices.

I found it at Big Lots while I was looking for plastic bins for studio organization. 

I looked up the KONEX FOODS company. They make a lot of unusual foods and all of them are GMO-free. I will try some of the others if I like this one. I am planning to put it on crackers. 

Daring, huh?

To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself. ~Søren Kierkegaard
I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it. ~Pablo Picasso
Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first. ~Frederick B. Wilcox
Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is? ~Frank Scully
Yes, risk taking is inherently failure-prone. Otherwise, it would be called sure-thing-taking. ~Tim McMahon
You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. ~Wayne Gretzky

Well, after all THOSE wise words, I think I should find something else to try. I hope to report back in a week with something new I have tried.


7.11.14--Perfectly Lovely

It Shows Promise
With cuttings from QuiltyFriend's Hydrangea, we were able to keep THREE alive over the winter. It was a rough one.We had other cuttings that never really "caught" and the winter was just too much. In their places across the front, we have transplanted the Hearty Trio and added a fourth.

Look What We Have In Front of the House!


This is our first blossom of the season. The other hydrangeas do not look ready to produce, but we have plenty of summer left. 






I Have Never Seen Anything Like It



The Glads continue to gladden my heart. When I showed you the red one the other day, did you think it would have as much yellow as this? It looks like a yellow glad with a red skirt! 
It's So Purply












It looks like there will be two more reds--solid or variegated, I do not yet know--and three purple! I do like the purple.

7.10.14--WHELMED +

What is in Bin #3?
I DID finish the charity quilt I had planned to bind. I was able to quilt it in one day and yesterday afternoon, I was able to finish binding it. I still have an overwhelming amount of cotton fabric around here, even if it IS organized into groups. I have been unable to find the plastic containers I would like to use to store some of it. 

I use a system in my studio that keeps me somewhat organized. I have large bins with lids on them that do not allow light in. I have photographed what is inside, numbered the bins, and I keep a "visual" record on the computer. I can search the contents of each bin by picture or type in a search word to find what I want without having to open every container--USUALLY. 

My local BIG BOX DISCOUNT STORE doesn't have anything like this, so I am planning a trip to one of the BIG BOX HARDWARE STORES. I expect I may need about 4 more of these huge containers or someone will have to load up one of those PODS for me to keep in the front yard.







7.9.14--I Started a New Class

Red, White, and "Blue" Glads--photographed on the Fourth of July
I signed up for the Audrey Class again. Not so long ago, one of my quilt guilds offered beginning quilters the chance to take a class with Audrey Hiers, an extraordinary quilter and designer.  She had it set up so students were in Kindergarten, First Grade, or Second Grade. My Kindergarten quilt is ready for borders, but I am not! I made the top and designed the blocks for two other quilts, designated as First Grade and Second Grade level. I am not really sure what I will work on tomorrow. Classes are on Mondays.

I have a lot keeping me busy in the studio this summer. I am helping my late sister-in-law finish up some quilts. In return, she let me reconnect with my brother, peek into her world as an artist, and change perspective in my own world. 

The first order of business is to get a top and back ready for the batting, which is on order. I will have it professionally basted, then use the quilting frame to hand quilt it. A second top I will turn into a duvet cover when the buttons arrive. I have yet to order them but I think I am going with natural, wooden ones.  I ordered two more batts for various other projects she let me enjoy.  I will report on those as they move up the list.
Tip of the Iceberg
It has been over a month since I have sewn, cut, or quilted. I predict July will be a month of steady progress. It began with pressing, which you KNOW I LOVE to do! I love that relationship that builds as I come to know intimately the fabric and how it will behave. I guess you remember, I am a ZEN quilter. It is all about the process. This first week in July has been the process of knowing the fabric and assessing what belongs with what. 



7.8.14-TEA TIME TUESDAY

TEA TIME TUESDAY
I have had a wonderful week back at home, enjoying sitting on the porch, remembering time spent with my brother, drinking WONDERFUL iced tea. My iced tea of choice is 
which was a gift from my brother and his late wife. I have enough left to make one more quart and then it is off to the internet for me! I wonder what other trouble I can get into at THE REPUBLIC OF TEA...

7.7.14--Monday Mantra

MONDAY MANTRA
NOW and UNTIL NOW are all we have. So, stop living in the past or you will not get to truly enjoy the present.


My NOW for yesterday (stuff I did): finished a quilt top, made a back for it, quilted a charity quilt, got in touch with loved ones (most of them--missed a couple--this means YOU, AwaySon, Daddy, and assorted good friends), cooked dinner, and decided to allow myself to attend class quilt class today WITHOUT doing anything but taking notes.

I forgive me. 

I cannot do a new anything right now.

It is okay. 

I will enjoy my note-taking VERY much, and the company of other women is strangely comforting. I am not sure I really appreciated having women friends when I was growing up. I realized how important that was while I was performing a task with a brand new friend, Swedish-C. Women simply cannot do the things we have to do without other women to help us. Why did it take me so long to know this?








7.4.14

My TIGER LILIES bloomed! 
And my DAY LILIES!
And my GLADIOLAS!
 PINK!
 SALMON!!!
 WHITE!!!
YELLOWWWWWW!!! (Got 4 of those)

7.3.14--Surprise from Quilty Cousin!

Quilty Cousin sent me a surprise package! It traveled here in a little less than 3 days--unlike the one I sent to QC! Look at some of the surprises.


Aren't these the best pushpins ever for a button lover like me? I have plans for special narrow cork boards right at my studio window and these will set them off perfectly.

A double wedding-ring card! This card is a print from the Pilgrim/Roy Collection. The quilt was made about a 1940, by an African-American in Missouri.

These bookmarks are from the Pilgrim/Roy Collection, too. 
They slip over the page and clasp magnetically so they don't fall out of the book.

The Pilgrim/Roy Collection presented Quilts and Color at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The show will be there until July 27, so if you get a chance, stop in. 
QC also sent some FABRIC! It has FISH! It features TURQUOISE! And ORANGE! and BROWN!!!!!




ALSO...a Yoko Saito book! Every single block is delightful. There are 10 projects for purses and bags. The blocks are Japanese Taupes and I think I might even have some of those fabrics--SOMEwhere! 

7.2.14--Still Compelled, somewhat

The layout, so far.  The centers for the half-plates are temporarily basted to the project. I tend to lose small parts. 


Maybe you would like to see how English Paper Piecing (EPP) can work for Dresden Plate. 

Using my cheapest thread, I basted the fabric around the form.  I don't like to sew through the card stock. I use paper clips or those wonderful Clover Binding clips--the small red ones in this case. I started with three tiny stitches to anchor (knots slow me down) at the edge of one of the curves. I did a running stitch across the arc, then pulled to gather the fabric around. Then, I crossed back and forth, snugging up the fabric down the length.  I finished up with three more tiny anchor stitches. 

I lightly spray starched the backs, and pressed them because I remove the card stock before they are applique'd to the gray fabric and I did not want the curves to lose their definition.

When it came time to sew the "petals" together, I used a neutral thread--a good strong one--and faced them to each other. I take tiny, tight, overcast stitches sewing from the widest part to the base of the petal. When the whole form was sewn, then I removed the card stock, basted the plate in place and began the applique' process. I usually use silk thread or Aurifil in a neutral color if my pieces have a lot of color change.

It doesn't take very long. I had all the "petals" prepped and the plate and two halves ready to be basted to the gray fabric in an afternoon. 

This I also wrote before my month off. I am thinking about finishing it up before moving on to the next thing. It is hard to get back the momentum.

7.1.14--TEA TIME TUESDAY

TEA TIME TUESDAY
While I was gone, I had the opportunity to try a lot of different things. One day, in a sushi restaurant at lunch time, I tried the house green tea. Until that day, I had NEVER had a green tea I could stand. The house tea was Gen Mai (Cha means TEA). It is made of green tea leaves and toasted brown rice. It was "the people's tea" or, tea the common man could afford. Of course, I LOVE IT. I also prefer the commoner's bread from Revolutionary France. 

Unfortunately, I developed a taste for salmon, as well as wine from Sardinia--not really commoner's fare. I can have my tea but it will probably be awhile before I get salmon like I had or find that specific wine which really was so very good. And when I run out of tea, I can order it online since my local grocery doesn't carry it.

6.30.14--Monday Mantra

MONDAY MANTRA/thought of the week
One of Many Gifts from Quilty Cousin

Read books and enjoy them again when you talk about them with others.

My parents have set a good example for me! They also discuss movies they have seen and doctors they visit!

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad

6.29.14--What ?

Lately, several people have told me how they have taken a departure from their usual fabrics. I did, too. I bought pink and green. I do not see any orange, do you? I have a Bow Tie quilt in mind with an Irish Chain variant quilt for the scraps. Somehow, I want to work in some applique, too.

Right now, I have an idea to do a pattern that has the quilter make one shopping list and create THREE different small quilts that coordinate. They are to be table toppers, wall quilts, or doll quilt size, probably not bigger than 30". So far, I have 4 running quarter yard cuts in pink, and 4 in green. Actually, I think I have a couple of fat quarters in there. I want the pattern to be able to be used either way. I think it will work for scrappy, too.

I continue to think about it while working on the Dresden. If I had that computer program--EQ7--I could get this set-up designed in a day. I belong to AQS and qualify for the discount on the program but I am hesitant to spend the money. It is not a cheap program.

I tried two free iPad apps for design, but they are so basic I feel better off with my graph paper and pencil.

I wrote the above before I left for a month. I am not too sure how soon I will get back to that particular set of fabrics, or the pattern idea, but it is good to have somewhere to begin.