Monday, October 16, 2017

From the oven

    I love  to experiment and make recipes  into my own version.  It must be my  background  in biology and chemistry.   I was a Medical Technologist in my earlier life......think laboratory tests and blood  and that was me.

   I found a recipe a few weeks ago for Pumpkin  Cream Cheese Muffins .....here for the original link from Pinterest.    I had a partial can of pumpkin in the freezer, and some left over sweet potatoes, and cream cheese is always around.   It was time for seeing how it would come together.


Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Loaf

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin (pure pumpkin puree)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 375°F.   Spray loaf pan with non-stick spray.  I used  2  loaf pans  9'' x 5'' pan.   Original recipe uses muffin tin...see link for those details. 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda and salt until well combined. Set aside.
  • In large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugar and brown sugar.
  • Beat in eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture, until there are no lumps.   Spoon about 1/2  of the mixture into the 2  loaf pans.  
  • In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in sugar, egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
  • Spoon the cream cheese mixture over the batter.  Spoon the remaining batter over the cream cheese mixture.  Use a knife to swirl thru the layers to blend into a swirl.   
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  •   My original batch was a mix of pumpkin puree and mashed sweet potatoes.   That minor adaptation  turned out great.  The extra loaf went into the freezer for later.   And wouldn't you know the photo did not turn out and now the pumpkin loaf is gone.....lol.   You will have to trust me, it was good.  
      Now I want to try homemade pizza dough....I'll share that one too.  

    Tuesday, October 10, 2017

    A very scrappy Double 4 Patch

        Several years ago, I saved the instructions for the Double Four Patch quilt that  I found  here at Mary Quilts.    Matter of fact, I have saved lots of her instructions as they are clear, and concise, and easy to print.

      A good variety of layouts for the Double 4 Patch can be found on Pinterest.  Here is the link to my board for some I found.   And there are some very beautiful ones based on color and not scraps.

      Last week I had a question about how to select the fabrics when putting the block units together....randomly select a dark and a light?.......was the actual context.   Answer......Ummmm, yes and no.  I don't really delight in being confusing, but sometimes things are not so cut and dried.


      This is the photo I shared for  my scrappy version.  On the left are 2 patch pieces, obviously dark and light, that are ready to become 4 patch units (paired sets in the center above the clothes pin).

    Then on the right some 4 patch units sewn with large squares above.   Look again at the 4 patch unit that is sewn.  The print squares are  not true dark values, but rather relatively dark because they are placed next to very real/true light squares.






      Searching thru the stack I found a few more blocks/examples to talk about.    First note the variety of the "light" squares......tan, cream, beige background or neutral prints.   There is even one  that has some obvious dark  there on the right.......the major part of it can be called light. 
      I usually think about Bonnie Hunter's standard.......anything lighter than a brown paper bag goes for the neutral.....even with peeks and pops of other colors.   So a couple of the darks in the upper right hand unit are a bit too brown to fit the light spot.   I decided to put them in as a dark fabric value.

         Then look at the lower left corner......I put that print in the dark spot of the arrangement.   Two reasons:
    •  1. Light background but enough of the dark print is showing....over 50%.  That pushed it to the dark slot for me.   
    •  2.  The  use of lower contrast--in this case, the background blends a lot---can give the element of surprise that pleases the eye.    In vintage quilts you often find fabrics arrangement like that.  It could have been luck, but I prefer to think they had a delightful sense of value and design :)

       Dark selection.....easy.  Dark to light, and again note that I throw some neutrals in that have some color to them, although the color is quite faint.   So for strong darks.....yes, use the random selection for a very scrappy look.  



       A very scrappy look, I say.  Guess you need to see what I mean.   
       This is what is on the design wall of the few blocks I put together already.   For my set/layout, I want the darks, big and small parts, moving up and to the right.  All the lights will be set to move to the left.  

      It doesn't look like much yet, but I love the look in real life!  You can get the idea of the unexpected  effect in some of the blocks.  


     
        And now that I have brought more confusion probably to this, I will just go sew a few 4 patches.   Happy stitching.

    Sunday, October 8, 2017

    From quilt show 2017 and QOV

    No automatic alt text available.
    Made by Shelia 

        From the Quilt Show  2017 style!
    I borrowed/stole a couple of photos of friends to share.

       Stained Glass Cathedral Window quilt was 12 years in the making.  This is a close up of part of the big, huge thing!   It has traveled with Shelia, been an ever-present take along project for so many years that she is sad it is finished.  Well, maybe not, because I saw a big grin on her face.  
      Working the Admissions Desk with Sarge was exhausting.  You have to know her to believe how much energy she consumes!  As a man was leaving the show he asked if any quilts were for sale.  There was one he was interested in.  Yep, this one.......Sarge priced it at "OH, about $20,000."    We had to giggle when he thought it was too much.




    No automatic alt text available.
    Made by Susan 
       Now, the story about Sarge.   
    She has grown as a quilter......
    from someone who said she  didn't do scrappy quilts  (afraid to use more than 3 fabrics  in a quilt) to a quilter who can finish  a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt  in style.  Her En Provence is  just beautiful!   









    I have to share these two.....just because:)  One made by Shelia from a workshop I did, and the other by Fannie.  Love them both!



      
      A highlight of the Saturday  at the Quilt show was the covering of 3 veterans by Quilts of Valor.  Word had spread about the ceremony and men began arriving.  







     
      This list of medals and service by this vet was amazing.....he served 3 tours.  



       The words Marietta read for the presentation of the quilts was so touching.  The line that really struck a chord was,  "A Quilt of Valor is the highest award a civilian can give a veteran in recognition of his service."








       The three recipients are here wrapped in their quilts, and flanked by the Honor Guard of SC, who escort  and honor veterans  in events on their motorcycles.  







       I was only able to do a quick tour of the rest of the show.....a bit too crowded for me to do photos....and my knee gave out.  So Susan took the QOV photos for me....thanks.
      Keep stitching. 

    Saturday, October 7, 2017

    Question on value

      I had a comment with a question about how to determine value of fabric.  Since she could not find a Ruby Beholder locally, this commenter bought some red cellophane and tried that instead.    Red cellophane is not exactly the same as a value viewer.  It tends to be mis-leading especially for blue-green and turquoise.  ( Thanks, Linda, for helping with this info:)

      I also use this technique for value determination with a black and white photo.  Turn your photo to B&W and the gray scale will really show the value. 
    Range of floral fabrics

    Same fabrics in B&W gray scale


    I saved this lesson on Value by Karen Combs.   She designed a red/green set of a  Value Viewer and explains how to use it too. 
       One thing I will note on the use of any style value viewer is look through the colored glass.  Once again, look through it.   I had students in class try to lay the tool on the fabric to determine value.  It doesn't work that way.....hold the viewer up to your eyes and look thru it.  

      Another point that Karen makes is that some fabrics may be light or medium to dark....depending on what fabric it is placed next to.    Sometimes value is relative!  With multi-print fabrics it may sometimes be very hard to class them on their own.  It is very helpful to place them on the table or design wall next to each other.....even just overlap them.  Look at them and the determination can be made easier.  

    The last part of the question referred to selecting fabrics for my leader ender project.  I do have some thoughts on that to talk about, but I must hold them till next week.  My brother and growing up big-time nephew just got in, and I want to visit a bit.  Till then, keep stitching.

    Friday, October 6, 2017

    As I mend......

      The knee is better finally after 12 days.....I am walking rather than limping.  The swelling is less, pain is much better, I just am cautious when stepping out or turning/shifting direction.  Today I picked up the knee brace and wore it when we did two errands.  No photo....it is not elegant.  In fact it is ugly/awful  and stiff....but it does help keep the knee stable.

      But on to better things.  I have not done much in the sewing room....sorting and finding things I had set aside.  I was asked yesterday if I was still quilting.  I hated to answer with yes, and no.  But it is truthful.  I am a quilter, just not productive recently.  Pain is the biggest sap to my creativity.    That silent enemy I battle each day.  Like the little train that said, I think I can, I think I can.......I keep pushing and planning.

      I have pinned two tops for quilting....the floral rail fence and the floral scrappy mountains.  These are my main project for the month.....get them quilted.  I can only sit for short periods and have to move around to reduce the stiffness, so it might just take me all month.



       The shopping therapy.......I gave in to the need for more wonder clip things.   The dozen I had just were not  enough.  Instead of the expensive "name" set, I found 100 of them for  much less  on Amazon.  Mixed colors and 2 sizes satisfied that need.

    Notice what they are resting on?



        I  found a set of six fast food trays to use for project trays.  Linda at Art In Search  commented that she was using cafeteria trays for her floral squares/strips.  I loved the idea and broke down and got a set.  I chose the smaller size of 10'' by 14'' fast food size.  If I am using them for floral squares, they stack and fabrics don't slide around.  They have the sides to contain pins, clips, small appliques, etc.



       I set this one up for my leader ender assortment.  This is a very scrappy Double 4 Patch in various stages.  I have about 10 blocks put together and the rest of these parts/piece units.    Instead of putting everything away, I plan on letting the tray next to the machine so I can make progress on this one.

        The guild's Quilt Show is this weekend.  I am slated to sit at the admissions table on Saturday morning.  So I need to bake up some goodies for the  "food room" as Sir Old Man calls it!  That should keep me out of trouble for today.
    Thank you all for checking up on me during my knee rest.
    Keep on stitching.

    Friday, September 29, 2017

    Month's end and Piper's Place quilt

    From simple string blocks.....sewn but not quilted.  The 12 leftover blocks were a perfect size quilt at 30'' by 40'' for Piper's  Place quilt.  She's a Therapy/service dog.....a place quilt lets her know where she should be.






     
       I used all the turquoise strips I had for the binding to finish this one off. 
       Miss Piper, wearing the pink collar, has staked her claim to the string one.   Nick on the upper left is trying to nudge his way onto it too, I see.   Word is, she thinks the size is perfect....can I make another?  Lol, maybe.


      No Physical therapy this week for me ...no evaluation either.  I spent one  day at the doctor, and getting x-rays.  A swollen and very painful knee event brought everything to a limping along halt.   I tried an anti-inflammatory medicine for 3 days....but the stomach reaction has put a stop to that.  I just don't stomach--lol---any meds well.   I am taking ibuprofen instead.  A knee brace is ordered.....ugh.  Some arthritic changes were noted but most likely the pain is from an inflamed bursa  and accumulated fluid.  With ice on the knee and staying down for a couple of days, going out when required in the wheelchair to reduce walking for now......a gentle slide back.  Hard to take, but it is what it is.



        September only had the string quilt finish.....and the floral mountain blocks top, along with a few soup bowl cozies.  Not my best month for completions. 
     

        October.....I want to get this top quilted.  At this point plans are to keep it simple with no border.  Size is 48'' by 56'' as it is. 

      I want to consider a floral strip pieced project.  I have an older tutorial in three parts that you can find here.   This tutorial uses 16 fabrics and makes blocks that end up at 6'' finished.   I want to "grow" the palette to 25 fabrics and  make 7''  finished blocks......and  introduce some variety into the value layout....lots of things to think about. 

      I ran across a quilt that was described as a Blooming Nine patch pattern, but used 4 patch units instead of 9 patch.  Since I am preferring smaller size projects  now just because of the easier handling, this sounded like one I might like to try.  So I am putting this into the Future Ideas list. 

      Cooler temps today.....I think I felt a little crispness in the air!  Looking forward to a cooler weekend as Fall does make an appearance.
    Happy stitching.

    Saturday, September 23, 2017

    Is it Fall?

         The calendar says it is fall!  Time to switch out the wall hanging and such.  I remade the door wreath and added a large bow.   Now, we wait for the temperatures to join in and cool off.


       Good news is  my brother got word his power was back on.  He headed home on Thursday....bad news there was water damage in the apartment, and the AC went out.   No idea how long repairs will take when his turn comes.  Until then.....???     How quickly the storm damage and  residents with damages fade from our view and news.  And then another disaster happens.  








     Finally I am back in the sewing room for a little stitching time.    I am webbing the top together of the floral scrappy mountain blocks.  The first 3 columns are together....and I am taking a short break.













    Image may contain: textThis week is Pernicious Anemia Awareness week.....believe me I am aware :)
       It's been an up and down week or so for me .....a couple of good sessions at PT followed by a bad couple of days and then a poor session on Thursday.  I have an evaluation on next Tuesday.  If I don't have enough improvement, I will not be continuing.  That is the way the health care system is working......you need the therapy  but your  measured numbers don't  show enough improvement and you are gone.   It is kind of funny in a sad way.  I try each day, but the body often does not cooperate.
        But then I never did fit into anyone's box.  Besides I would rather be quilting!  Happy stitching.

    Friday, September 15, 2017

    It takes Heart

      Hearts have always been a favorite motif for me.  When I was able to do crazy quilting many years ago, I made lots of hearts, and gave them as gifts, and such.    I even have a crazy quilted quilt with the heart motif.     The top was given to me from the quilt guild when I was President.  I actually finished off the embroidery, and added the crazy quilted border.  Then 1 batted it and hand quilted in the open areas.




      And then there is the strip pieced water color heart.  This was the first strip pieced one I did.

       It's  an on-going thing for me to translate the heart motif to whatever technique I am doing.  I do lots of heart motif quilting and the feather shape comes from the same curve as the heart top.




       All of this leads up to making a few token scrappy, leftover hearts.  I first heard about making small hearts, sewing them and sowing them from Barbara, Smitty and Sadie's mom, at Catpatches blog.    She was making a few to hide and sow along her travels this fall.  Then I began to see some reported "found hearts" on FB.

     Here is the story about ifoundaquiltedheart  with details and such.    I just used a few chunks of fabric, some scraps, a bit of ribbon.  Very simple, raw edged shape, and not too perfect :)





      I had  designed the hang tag  but not printed it when the power went out.   So this morning was a good time to get the tags printed and tag the hearts.  I want to sow a couple when I go to therapy .
       The hearts I have made may not be posted on the website or on FB, but  I enjoyed playing around with them.  In this crazy, hectic, fast-paced world  with so much happening and going on, it is nice to do something simple and maybe brighten someone's day.   It takes Heart.💗
    Happy stitching.

    Wednesday, September 13, 2017

    No power/no sewing/inconvenient!

        I was just beginning a post on Monday, when we lost power.  Ugh!   A tree took out a power line.   We were prepared for it, but being prepared physically is not the same as mentally being able to get through it.

         First, my brother arrived Saturday afternoon from Naples.  That is right, Naples.  Destroyed and devastated.  He will be here a couple of weeks....of course, I might have to hog tie him to keep him from going back.  His apartment survived he heard, while others in his area were flattened or blown out.  The worse news he has gotten was from the Sheriff's Office report that the electric grid has to be rebuilt (no power), there is no safe water and all must be boiled even to bathe, and no gas for residents.  The report suggests residents stay put, stay out of the area for a few weeks until some semblance of order is restored.
      Thank you all for prayers for him.

      No power for 36 hours is a minor inconvenience I know when I put it in perspective to what others are facing.   It made me think about the life style we have with all the communications, and equipment to make out life easier.  No sewing....I don't have a crank machine.   I needed to press a few blocks.....no power for an iron.  The wind was  blowing/howling all day Monday, and through the night....that meant little sleep, and I was cranky Tuesday.

    Vintage Pyrex Percolator, Glass Coffee Pot, Flameware Coffee Pot 7754B
       Luckily I held onto an old Pyrex coffee pot that makes wonderful coffee on the gas grill!   So I could put on a brave face.  The gas generator (for the freezer and refrigerator) was so loud and noisy, I was glad to escape to Physical Therapy for a session......lots of stretching as the low barometric pressure produces more intense muscle and nerve pain.  
      A salad for dinner along with a grilled sandwich and it was almost dark and time for bed.......8 pm!  Lol....candles and  a lantern do not produce enough light to read by no matter what history says.    We think we are tough now a days, but I have news for us......we are really spoiled.
       And then the morning comes.....relief the power has been restored by those wonderful power company workers.  A hot shower and a brighter day......communication and news.  I do have a lot to be thankful for.
    Happy stitching.  

    Saturday, September 9, 2017

    Small things

      I know it has been 2 weeks since I posted.......a long 2 weeks.

       First the PT.   I had an evaluation done because the doctor was fearful of muscle atrophy.  So off I go......the eval was good.  No atrophy just a bit of slip in the balance systems.  We can attribute that to the increase in pain which has increased from the feet to above the knees.  So obviously I tend to compensate by altering gait which messes up my balance.   And back to twice weekly therapy sessions.....tough, very tough.  Right now I am very, very sore, but doing my homework exercises anyway.

       The attitude:
      Insight: I choose to be a freaking warrior, not a victim.  For today I will fight to maintain myself, to accomplish one thing.  There are days I cry, complain, and get angry.  Days I can't hold the rotary cutter, or  seem to accomplish anything.  But the days I can sew a seam, fold/pet/enjoy my fabric.....those are the days I remember.  It takes a lot of focus.



     
        I was asked by a friend if I knew how to make bowl cozies.  Nope, but I could find out.   So Sir Old Man hauled me to the quilt shop for some Wrap and Zap batting, Pinterest provided a tutorial, and the stash provided the fabric.    So I have a stack of large squares cut and the batting.....I am only using one layer of it instead of two.   (Note:  If I used regular cotton batt with no scrim, I would use 2 layers for extra body. )   I figure they will make good Christmas gifts, and if I start now, I can get some made.

     

         I found 12 string blocks in the closet.  These are 10'' blocks, so just a small quilt, about 30'' by 40''....exactly what Piper needs as a "in place" quilt that Mom can carry easily in a tote.  So anyway, the blocks are joined and pressed, and backing found.  My task this week is to get it pinned and hopefully quilted.




      The storm:  Three or four days ago, Irma was  projected to affect us.....200 miles inland from the coast!    My biggest fear was the power outage that would be sure to come along with wind damage.  Since we are out on the edge of the county, at the end of the maintenance line,  practically forgotten, when we lose power it might be days for it to be restored.  So check the food stash/refill the water bottle stash/get the camp stove out/get propane/get gas for the generator/ check the gutters for debris/move furniture inside/ and so on.  All done, and today we will pick up some fresh fruit and produce just in case.
      The new forecast is mainly rain, about 6'' for us, with gusty winds, not damaging winds.  That is great!

      The last 48 hours has been very stressful due to family in Florida.  My brother is in Naples......earlier in the week they were on the safer/softer side of the storm.  Now, it looks like a direct hit there.  He has gone from taking Remy and staying in Tampa to ride it out, to staying in Naples in a secured house of friends, to leaving out alone at 2 am this morning.   So you can be sure I did not sleep one night, and was awake until 2 am  when he sent a message.  I have cried, been upset, and cried some more.    He believes a direct hit will takeout his apartment building, put 6' of water in his office a few blocks away, and be weeks to month before power will be back on.  
      I also checked in with friends, and my dearly loved cousins......they are prepared as can be.  Luckily they are inland but still on the western side of the state.  
       This is a time of strength and staying focused.  So I will concentrate on small things that I can do.    Many thanks, and hugs to so many of you who have been checking in on me.  I am a warrior and  no little pain or big old mean storm will keep me down for long.
    Keep stitching for me.

    Tuesday, August 29, 2017

    Slow week

        I saw a poster on the Pernicious Anemia FB page.......it tells exactly how I feel this week.  I know many of you battle pain daily too.
       This has not been a productive week on the sewing front.  I did a small amount of sewing more as a diversion than production.  Pain tends to do that to me and it has been one of those weeks.  Pain  is now prominent  in my feet.....I feel like the bones are exposed and the pains shoot up my heel and sole of my feet.  So walking and activity has been less.....and on top of that I have an evaluation for more physical therapy tomorrow.  Keep it in perspective.....I have sensation in feet and legs  where none was.  I believe this is part of the "reversing out" process of the nerves healing and connections being made.

     

     

        I added 4 more blocks to the scrappy mountains on the design wall.  And I cut 4 more sets......I think that will be enough for this one.    Yet, I haven't made a dent in the floral fabrics......I am losing on that front.













    Piper on "place" quilt

      This pretty girl is Piper, my daughter's service dog.  Piper asked for a new "place" quilt.  When she is "on duty" Piper knows that she can keep watch from her quilt.   Piper goes to work at least 4 days each week....here she is keeping an eye on Mama while she is getting a check up at the doctors.











       She requested one that is colorful and fun.   This one always reminded me of a party.......we will send it off today.


       Happy stitching.

    Monday, August 21, 2017

    Magical eclipse

       We were fortunate enough to live in the path of totality for the solar eclipse.  For weeks that is all we have heard on the local news.  Huge viewing parties and events were planned in the area.  No hotel rooms were available in the county!  I thought about it and then decided not to offer the spare room for rent.  LOL.

      Today came and no clouds in the early morning.  A quick sit on the porch and I knew we would need to add the tall fan for cooling and table for the laptop.  It was very quiet for early morning.....no birds, bees, or chirps.

      By 1 pm it began.  Sir Old Man rigged up a box for me for viewing the projected eclipse.  He had the face shield to use from his welder's set.  We watched a bit of the local news streaming from different events.   The temperature began to drop a little bit, the shadows began to lose their sharp edge, and colors appeared different.  It was eerie.  Like a ripple in the time warp curtain, things were not distinct, and yet they were in the normal place.
     


    Sir Old Man suddenly said, "Look".   Glancing down at the deck, I saw spots of sunlight that were the shape of the eclipse stage.  I had heard about the phenomenon.  Normally, light filters thru leaves of the trees or shrubs onto the dark ground/grass/surfaces.  This projection is not round at all, but crescent shaped like the eclipse.  











       Then we walked out onto the larger deck and stepped into a magical scene of crescent shaped areas of sunlight.

       Actually a more fitting description would be mystical.  The total eclipse was quickly approaching, the shadows were much deeper and less defined.  So standing there I felt like I was stepping into space as those tiny slivers of  were sparkling in the deepening dark.








     














     A projection of light on the hand rail.











     



    And barely a few seconds later the projection is smaller/thinner.   Total eclipse is coming.









      When the total eclipse happened, it was abrupt as if the light switch was flipped.  One second there were faint shadows lines of the trees on the yard, and the next second they were gone.  The air temp cooled immediately.  Darkness descended all at once.  Through the tree line I could just make out the sunset colors of the sky.




      And Sir Old Man took a photo at totality.  Just to the right of the eclipse, Venus was fully visible and so beautiful .   I stood there in awe, with tears streaming down my face at such a sight.  Complete darkness, no shadows, Venus shining and the sun in corona......at 2:38 pm.

     
       And shadows returned as abruptly as they vanished.   The process began to reverse itself....the crescent shapes flipped as the moon shifted across the face of the sun.   Shadow became sharper, and colors returned to normal.   And birds....the birds began to chirp and sing.  A butterfly flew by.   A most magical mystical experience.
     

    Friday, August 18, 2017

    Once again......scrappy mountains majesty

       I had a comment this week on  some of my quilts.   The comment picked up on the simplicity of the  patterns I use  to create some of my  quilts.  I loved that....someone gets my philosophy.  Let the fabric do the work for you....and  I find that simple patterns work best with busy, colorful fabrics.    That is what satisfies me, and what you will find me doing.

       As I continue to use up my floral stash, I also tend to repeat patterns.   Nothing wrong with a repeat, if it is one you like a lot.  I enjoy figuring out a new version of my favorites.

      So from the stack of oldies that I made.......scrappy mountain majesty is a very easy pattern.  I use the tutorial from Bonnie at Quiltville.com  .   I made this first version about 7 to 8 years ago from large scraps that I had on hand.  I used a larger square and  sub-cut for this one....I think 2 1/2'' strips, so the blocks are larger.  This was mainly to learn the technique and use up some fabric.









      Fast forward to 2014, and enter the "whopper" for our bed and a tribute to Sir Old Man's woodworking skills.  

       This is the Buzz Saw quilt....same pattern with an extra strip added turn it into the  square buzz saw block.    If you want details...go to the linked posts.










       And this is what you will find on my design wall right now.   This version is done in florals.....let's just say the Year of Florals started 2 years ago is still continuing.
      Anyway, I am not sure if this is the layout I will use, or if I will make more blocks, or if there will be borders.    This is just what there is for now.

    Happy stitching.

    Monday, August 14, 2017

    Any Which Way

    Up, down, or sideways.....any which way it works for you.   I shared the development and layout for this water color here.  
     The debate went on in the comments about which way it should be oriented.



       This is how  it was oriented as I worked on it on the design wall.  The center portion was a class sample that was getting a little worn, so I added the gray border.  Then I went on and decided to add an outer border to show how to create a shadow and use the reverse value technique.
















     Reverse Value Technique:  My word phrase to describe the contrast of value between the center portion of a wall hanging and the added border.  Where the center area is light in value, the outer border will be dark in value when placed next to it.    Refer to the upper right of the photo.....inner section is light/medium and the outer border is dark.    Lower left corner.....dark value in the center and light in the outer border.
      Opposite values next to each other in this case  are a good thing:)



         And a finished version with the dark shadow at the top.  I like this but had the inspiration to turn it upside down.



        And the personality changed with the  altered perspective.  The weight falls to the base and the shadow shifts to the left.   Sunlight fills the upper border.   The center portion to me appears to be a path now that is  leading me through an arbor of blooms on a summer's day.  

       And if you prefer.....a sideways view would work too...that photo did not turn out. :(   The name was an easy choice.....Any Which Way.  Size is 25'' by 31''.  

    Saturday, August 12, 2017

    Will this fabric work?

      I love fabric, I love floral fabric, but sometimes ....not so much.
      I get gifted with fabrics often....and this was one of those.  It came with the comment,  "It's floral so you should be able to use it."    Not for my watercolors....lol.

     
     Why?  In class I will often hold up a fabric, much like this one, and ask will this fabric work in your watercolor project.    Why not?   Common responses are

    • too much background showing
    • flowers are too small/or too far apart
    • too dark
      The correct answer is it is too evenly spaced and at a distance appears to resemble polka dots.  This green with the rose buds went on the back.....not the front of a small project.    Stand 5 feet back from it and you see dotted spots.  Save the polka dots for another project.  The florals/flowers need to blend.  



      Another example.....this is a recent print....much more modern.  While it is a great print, not so much for my style  of design.  The graphics are stark and have no shading making blending to other fabrics difficult.  I did cut some 2'' squares and try to use it, but found they stood out on their own.  They did not play nice with other fabrics.    But it is a great choice for a backing :)


    The fabric may be a floral.....but not all florals work for me.  Guess you can call me picky.  

    Wednesday, August 9, 2017

    Back in time to String Me Along

     

     Going back to  an early project.......String Me Along .
      I love this quilt.   I have it hanging in the sunroom and so enjoy all the details and fun things I learned and used in it.  

    Here's the link to the post from 2011, when I finished it.










       I was looking at it yesterday and saw the hummingbird on it.   And that reminded me to check on the hummingbird feeder......it needed cleaning and refilling.    I enjoy their garden antics....swooping in, darting among the branches, hovering nearby, and then all out war to claim the territory.
      What you see on the quilt is what you can find in my gardens...... or could when things were in good shape :)


    And one more critter on the quilt that we watch hopping around and nibbling our weeds, etc.  You might have to look close to find him as I sort of camouflaged him under the flower.

      Another post with a few details about the blocks, stitching, and such.   Most of the information on this quilt is scattered over about 6 posts and sort of jumbled.  It was early blogging days....I did not know what I was doing really:)  Second, some of the post have lost photos, need a fix, and such due I think to the blogger switch/change up format from a few years back.

      Would I do this again?  You bet.....only better and probably not as large.  I recently ran across the templates for the appliques I used.  Most of them were original, so I think that is why I kept them.   And there would be lots more floral fabrics.....instead of leftover bits and strings.

      But right now.....I am working on lots of small items for gifts, and guild boutique items.....more mug rugs:)  I have a couple of wall hangings to pin for quilting and that will be my time eater for the week.     So until I get some things done......happy stitching.
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