Monday, April 28, 2014

Wandering Through My Past

Now doesn't that title make me sound ancient?   Depending on your age, you may think that I am old or young.  I consider myself to be, in the words of Goldilocks, "Just right!"

My first trip out of the USA was in 1979.  I went with a college group on a mission trip to Mexico. Sadly I don't have pictures.  I didn't expect to enjoy the trip, but I did.

Many years later, I took a pleasure trip to England. I had read lots of English writers as a child and had always wanted to go there.  In fact the influence of those English written books show up sometimes when I write.  Color becomes colour; favorite -favourite -etc.  The British spellings and some "odd by American standards" words seem normal to me.

So about the trip. I travelled alone, flying from Atlanta, Georgia to London's Heathrow airport.  I had instructions to buy a ticket and take the subway to the Lancaster Gate tube stop. From there I went to my hotel.   No problem at all. I loved riding the tube (subway.) Here is a Tube map.  I carried one of these in my pocket at all times to navigate London.
I did a lot of sightseeing while I was there.  I asked many "strangers" to take pictures of me. All of them obliged willingly and very politely.
Here are some of those photos.

Here I am in front of a church ????  Sadly I am not sure which one, perhaps St. Paul's Cathedral. (it is actually St. Margaret's - thanks to my readers for correcting me.)   But I do know that the tower in the background is an iconic London sight- Big Ben.
I am a voracious reader and have been since childhood.  This picture is at 84 Charing Cross Road. I loved the book that was named for the address - 84 Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff.  So of course I had to get a picture.  The truth is that I was "lost" that day.  I stumbled upon the address quite by accident.  This picture was taken by another tourist. She took my picture and I took one of her with her travelling companion.
Another joy on this trip was seeing a live musical.  There were several that interested me, but I only attended two of them.   The best was Les Miserables.
I fell in love with the music of this and bought a wonderful cast recording when I got home. I know most of the words and almost always sing along.

One other amazing place I visited was the British museum.  I was amazed that everything wasn't encased in glass or roped off.  This next picture shows the Rosetta Stone.
I also took a boat ride down the Thames and went to Greenwich.
Yes I am standing with my feet across the Prime Meridian of the world.

A friend at work has a brother who lived in England.  I left London and went into the countryside with him.  One glorious place we stopped was Corfe Castle. It is a ruined castle and is a property of the British National Trust in Dorset.

You may notice that my hair has changed in these last two pictures.   When I left the British museum that day in London.  I stopped in a little barber shop and got a haircut. A nice Cockney lady barber cut my hair.   I didn't understand half of what she said, but we had a great time listening to each others accents.

Now, if you are a British reader and I have messed up any of the "facts" in this post, feel free to let me know in the comments.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Silent Sunday

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday - Fun Piecing

Saturday was a good day to do some mindless piecing.  Of course it wasn't really mindless as I kept making decisions and playing "what if" with scraps.
The intention was to make a  backing piece for the last third of my wonky blocks quilt.  However, the biggest piece is this one:
There are a lot of places with seam intersections that just might cause problems if it is on the back of a piece when I am quilting it.  And honestly, I love the look of this piece and think it deserves to become a beginning for the front of a quilt.
The other pieces are small bits that were left after making this.
This piece has a fun little curved pieced block that was left over previously

This piece was trimmed from a section of that first piece. 

These are just left over tumblers joined together.
I would love to spend the afternoon playing with more of my scraps.  Sadly, one of our church members recently passed away and the choir has been asked to be in attendance.  So I am preparing to go and sing at the funeral on this day prior to Easter.  Tomorrow morning I will be singing again in the church services. We, the choir have been asked to be there at 7:30 a.m.  for last minute instruction and (a very brief) rehearsal for the 8 a.m. service.

And so, I wish you all a Happy Easter. For those of you who are not of a Christian faith, I wish you are day of peace and joy.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

A little more quilting

I have been busy with things other than sewing, quilting and weaving. But I am trying to log a little quilting on the wonky squares quilt as often as I can.

Here are a few pictures with captions.
What Cha MaCallit quilting

Simple Channel quilting

Mis-shapen circles on a string

Freaky Feather

Modified Stipple - oops, I crossed a line!

To be honest, I am not enjoying quilting this one.  I think it is the polyester batting.  I should have stayed with my old faithful Warm and Natural (or) Warm and White batting.

In other news, I saw the Doctor today and was given a big smile when he looked at my CPAP data.  He said that I am doing really well with it and he is pleased.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

A Little Progress

But only a little progress has been made on quilting the Wonky Squares.  I did two of the squares on the second section I am quilting.  Clearly I am out of practice.

But I think I will mention that this has poly batting and that it is harder to maneuver under the needle.

But hey, progress is all good, right?

This is slow because I am working on something else that I can't show here, at least, not for a while yet.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Yippee! A winner!!!

The giveaway for the stiletto that I made is complete.   I used to generate a number and the winner is lucky #4

 And #4 is Beebee - she said:
Beebee will get stiletto #1 and a small surprise in her package. 
Congrats to beebee.  I have emailed you for a mailing address.  I will get your prize to you as soon as I can.

And for the rest of you here is a bit of eye candy.  This is one of my abstracted landscapes. It is also one of my favorite pieces that I have painted.
an abstract landscape

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fallen off the Earth

Yes I know it seems that I have fallen off the face of the earth, but that is not the case.   I just haven't had much time to make things.
So let me share a painting with you.

A number of years ago, I took a class with artist Janet Rogers.  This was a watercolor class on flowers and portraits.  Janet had a couple of paintings where she only painted a partial face. I was totally intrigued by them.  So I did a few of them.  This painting "That Look" was painted from a picture I took of a co-worker.  I also did a full portrait of her, but I can't find a picture of it.   I do love the way I was able to preserve the white areas in this. 

By the way, my giveaway ends Friday night. 

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Monday, April 07, 2014

My Winnings -and a Giveaway

I have recently won two fabric prizes.

The first one was on FaceBook--  Hoffman California Fabrics - had a giveaway and I was the first one to comment.  Believe it or not, the Random generator chose #1.   I got this lovely stack of one yard cuts.  They are all batiks in my favorite range of colors.
Blues that have a green shade (teal, aqua, turquoise) are my favorites --and I have come to love greens to go with it.  Yummy, huh?

Then I won a prize from Richard and Tanya Quilts. It was a "LAFF" (Link a Finish Friday) and also their daughter Julia's birthday.   Here is where it gets funny -  when they announced the prize here is what was posted "Yes, I could not believe it, I never roll a one, but this time I did.  Gene Black won!"
I can't believe that #1 was a winner twice for me.   And here are the pretty fat quarters that I won.

They are soft muted pretty designs that I wouldn't have bought, but I will certainly use them!  They will go wonderfully with some brights for contrast, don't you think?

So now for a giveaway to keep the good karma going - and honestly - to celebrate my decision to retire.  You may remember the stilettos that I made a little over a week ago.    I got eighteen comments on that post and I said that there just might be a giveaway coming.   I had mine picked out before I showed them. (Okay, T.M.  don't faint on me.)  I chose the green one to keep as my working stiletto.  
So, I am giving away ONE of the others.  Because there was a little confusion with the comments and I wasn't sure which one a few people meant, I have numbered them on the picture below. 

Here is the deal.  Leave a comment telling me which one (number please!) you like best AND what type of fabric (floral, stripes etc) and what color fabric you use most for sewing.  This is all one comment.  If  you were one of the 18 commenters on the previous post about these stilettos, you can leave me a second comment telling me so. (I will check -and it is too late to go comment on it now!)

Someone will win a stiletto and perhaps some other prize to go with it.  I will leave this open until Friday April 11th at midnight.

FYI  quiltpatternspro(dot)com  steals blog posts,  if you are reading this there, they have stolen my writing and reposted it.  My blog is
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Saturday, April 05, 2014

Looming Large

This has become an exiting time in my life. It has been a bit thought provoking and a time of exploration.  You see I have made a major decision that will affect me for years to come.  After much deliberation and a good bit of number crunching, I have decided to retire from my day job!  In May, I will have completed my 25 years of service and will be eligible to retire.  This will change my daily life as well as my level of income.  I am confident that this is the right decision.  So on June first, I will begin life as a retiree. Can I get a Whoop Whoop!!! ?   Yes, June first is looming large.

I will have more time to play with quilting and making quilts, like these:

I will also have more time to weave on my looms.  Currently, there is a lovely scarf in mostly fall colors on the Cricket rigid heddle loom.

In my mind, weaving is very much like quilting in that, I get to choose the colors and the designs.  This particular piece is very free-form like much of my quilting.  The person I am making it for said "Make it in fall colors. Brown is one of my favorite colors."  So there are several browns in the warp -from chocolate to mocha. There is also a variegated yarn that has tans, gray and a bit or orange in it. I just had to add a few boucle (homespun type) strands in a variegated orange also.  To me, fall has lots of orange and brown.  However, there are some gray skies and sometimes a perfect fall day has bright blue. So, there are inclusions of bits of blue.
In my mind, this scarf has a name - Fall Fantasy. This is not a colorway I would have done on my own, but I am really loving it.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Tool Making

As quilters and crafters we buy lots of tools.  Some of them are expensive and some are not so expensive. But sometimes we "make do" if we can.   Do you use a stiletto?

I have been "making do" by using my seam ripper as a stiletto.
Jack the Seam Ripper
But that is not his real job....

So,  I had seen turkey lacers used as a base to make a stiletto.  One day when I was shopping I found some.  Uh, I won't mention how long ago this was.  When I looked up the directions, they mentioned a loop at one end.  My pieces didn't have a loop, just a bent end. Sigh!

Time to rethink it.  I got my round nose pliers and made small loops at the bent end.  Then I got out some of my polymer clay that was pre conditioned.  (again let's not mention how long ago!)  I started playing with the clay.  Some of it was already semi-designed in layers. Some of the colors were pre-mixed.  I just played with it.
 I was having fun so I didn't mind that this probably took an hour, the time just slipped away.
Later that afternoon,  I baked the clay.  The next day I added a gloss coat to them.

Here are the six stilettos I made.
If you were given the chance to have one, which would you choose?  I have already picked my favorite.
Later on there just may be a giveaway.  So speak up!

Of course the word "Stiletto" always makes think of this song:

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