Saturday, October 14, 2017

Doing Some Free Motion Quilting

A few days ago, I pulled out a UFO that was already layered and pinned and started quilting it.  This is being done in small manageable chunks of time. I am playing with lots of quilting designs and I assure you that this quilt would never win an award for the quilting on it.
About 2/3rds of it is quilted at this point.   The designs are changing randomly for sections  - although some sections are joined by larger quilting motifs.
This picture shows one of the piecing bits that is in the borders.  It allows the piecing to "run off the edge of the canvas." 
This picture shows part of the unquilted but pinned quilt. I love mixing near solids like these Connecting Threads Quilter's Candy Prints  with the prints.  These prints are Samoan fabrics that I got from Barb years ago when she was living in American Samoa.  She is now an Island Batiks Ambassador - and has many fun and delightful patterns on Craftsy.

So if you are missing me for a few days - I may be free motion quilting away on this quilt.

I am also trying to spend more time exercising. I am doing more walking but I am looking for an exercise program locally - preferably free - that will fit into my crazy schedule. I discovered that exercise helps both my blood sugar and my blood pressure.  I need to keep those in control as I want to live long enough to use up most of the fabric that I have acquired. 😄

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Recent Packages

Over the past week or so, a couple of really fun packages have come in the mail.  One of them is a needle minder from the Etsy shop of Tonya's Sewing Room.  This one was a gift to me (it arrived just in time for my birthday although it wasn't necessarily a birthday present.  I am very thankful for it as it is a delight.  The needle minder is magnetic and even has an extra magnet to attach it to your shirt or blouse.  These little magnets are strong too.  I hope this video works for you.
video
See how strong that magnet is??? Did you hear it POP into place?

This is a perfect needle minder for me as it is made from a guitar pick - and I am somewhat of a musician.  But, when I am hand sewing I tend to stick the needle into my clothing and freq  sometimes stick myself - or have to hunt for it. This makes it easy to find.

Now, behind the needle minder in this photo is a gorgeously lovely fat quarter of batik that I won from Rhonda at her Ravelly blog.  This blue is rich and intense.  I just love it.

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible unless otherwise stated. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in posts may be affiliate links for which I am compensated if you click through and purchase.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Another One - This Time with Orange

After making the oatmeal/mug mat for my friend, I decided to make another one.  Just to push myself a bit, I decided to pick "orange" as the main color. What I discovered is that while I have a few fabric pieces in orange, I have only a few values of color in orange. So I had to add some red, yellow and blue - and maybe one bit of green.

After I finished piecing without thinking too much, this is what I ended with.
A

 But which end is up?  I originally intended for the red to be the bottom ,  but I like it at the top also.

B

The blue could be at the bottom also as it is the darkest color and therefore carries more visual weight. 
C

So feel free to chime in and give reasons if possible. I like it that way is a perfectly valid reason. Still, I would prefer that you expound on your answer.  (Gee, did that sound like a high school teacher?) 
Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible unless otherwise stated. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in posts may be affiliate links for which I am compensated if you click through and purchase.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Mug Mat -Do Over

I did finish the previous mug mat.  But I messed up the binding and I really hated it. The recipient told me to send it anyway.  - I just can't.  I will trim the binding off, finish the edges somehow and use it for something for my house. 

Meanwhile, I did a do over.  This time I did the "no binding" method that I used on the Nana's oatmeal mat back in 2012.  Wow, more than five years ago.  No wonder I didn't remember how I did it.
Here is the new one.  I am very happy with it.
This one has a much more artistic flowing look to it. I also added a bit of blue and purple to this one with just a couple of pops of yellow.  That yellow fabric with the dots, snails and starfish is leftover from my pillow cases.   I hope the sweet lady that is getting it loves it as much as I do.  I even did a tiny bit of curved piecing in it -there at the bottom.

While I was quilting it, I ran out of bobbin thread. So I started filling a bobbin from the spool- the only one I have of this color! I looked up and saw the spool showing and stopped the bobbin quickly.  Then I took a deep breath and went back to quilting.  When I was done, this is all that was left on the spool. Whew!
Here's hoping your bobbins and spools don't run out at inopportune times!
Have a great weekend.
Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible unless otherwise stated. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in posts may be affiliate links for which I am compensated if you click through and purchase.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Crazy Piecing in Shades of Green

I am making a crazy pieced larger mug mat for a friend.
I know that yellow is not a shade of green - but it is a component of green, so I added it anyway. Once upon a time, I told one friend that I didn't like green.  Hmmm....that must not be true as I have a lot of it in my stash!  As soon as I hear back about the size she prefers I will either trim it or add borders and it will be ready to layer and quilt.
Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible unless otherwise stated. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in posts may be affiliate links for which I am compensated if you click through and purchase.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Show Photos

I have been very absent lately while we were doing the production of Young Frankenstein the Musical.   Now that we have performed the last showing, I can share a few photos with you.

This number is "Please Don't Touch Me" 

I played the hapless Mister Hilltop.


As Mr. Hilltop, I got the knee twice a showing - allowing me to make faces and act like I was in pain.  The hospital gown was a bit large for me - just to make it a bit more comical.  The sock garters were my own creation made of simple elastic  and a couple of inexpensive suspender clips.

I was also a Romanian villager in many of the scenes.
One of the most fun numbers - although the hardest to learn- was "Join the Family Business."  Where we, the dead ancestors, are convincing Young Frankenstein to embrace his heritage and make a monster.  I am in the photo but I have on a mad scientist wig. (Good luck spotting me!)

We had so much fun bringing this show to life.  I am happy to have done it.  But I will also be happy to return somewhat to my normal routine.
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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Opening Night is Nearing

Tomorrow night - Friday September 29th is the opening of our community theater production of Young Frankenstein. 
Tuesday night I stood onstage and took this photo with my phone.
This theater seats 1,130 people when the full house is open.  I understand that the balcony will not be open for our performance.  Without the balcony there are 854 seats.  I can't imagine performing to a full house in this place!

It is amazing to stand on a stage that has been used by some famous performers.  It is even more amazing to know that I will be singing on that very stage.  (and dancing- I will be dancing too!)

I also have a picture of our backdrop for some of the scenes -shhhh
It is far more impressive viewed straight on and under the proper stage lights. 
Please note that I may not answer comments for a few days as I will be quite busy with the show. I know I will need at least a day to recover when it is over. 
You can read about the show and purchase tickets at this link   You can see the cast list here.  (My name is actually in the named characters which makes me smile.)
Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible unless otherwise stated. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in posts may be affiliate links for which I am compensated if you click through and purchase.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Busy busy Busy!

I am busy these days.  I am in production of a community theater musical.  I will be singing and dancing on stage in front of a live audience next weekend. We are performing the musical version of Mel Brooks'  Young Frankenstein.  I am in the ensemble/chorus.  I also have two walk on parts that are not singing and dancing. I have all of two lines - and I am happy with that! I am trying desperately to learn the lyrics, music and choreography. I have a lot of it in my head, but it needs perfecting.
 I also started taking an online vocal class -because apparently I like doing  too many things at one time.  My first feedback )to the "get acquainted/welcome" video that I sent in) was great.  The teacher said that I was on key and did a nice sweet transition from my lower range to my upper range. I needed that confidence/esteem booster right now.

I have done very little sewing/quilting.  I do have two of the quilted notebooks finished that I haven't yet shown.
I really love the embroidered horse one. I think I nailed the quilting on it. The purple one is fun and the quilting on the cover makes me think it would be a good doodle journal.

Okay folks, I have to get back to the script and study a bit more tonight.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Gone-But Never Forgotten


Today would have been my sister's birthday. It is hard to believe she would be a grandmother, a woman of years.  She was a great big sister. Sure we fought, but "out there in the big world" she was my protector. In our early adulthood, we would go on "adwentures" (yes we could be silly.) A road we had passed many times but never turned down, became a mystery to be explored.

Here are several pictures of her. The little girl in the picture is her daughter.  That darling little girl now has babe of her own, my sister's grand children.  Today, as always, I miss my sister and her zest for life and "adwenture."




Charlotte and Gene - after a hailstorm
She is holding hailstones in her cupped hands
Let me share an essay I wrote about her.  I wrote this for an English class. Still it comes from the heart and so on a day to honor her life, I share it with you.


A Final Goodbye
I stood in the cemetery looking down at the headstone. The marker stated a name and two dates. The first date is not within my memory. The second date burns and pulls at the corners of my mind. This date, May twenty-ninth, 1983, is a day that I cannot forget. You see, this plot of ground is my sister's resting place, and today I visited here , alone, for the first time. As I visited this grave site, I came to feel sadness, to accept loss, and to appreciate the release of emotions.

 The cemetery was empty when I arrived. There was a solitary car standing guard near the office building. The wind was blowing slightly, as the storm sirens began to sound. My mind transformed the sirens into a funeral dirge that would not stop. I longed to sing that same sad tune if only to give voice to my sadness.

 My sadness was the result of a great loss. When my sister died I experienced the loss of three people. The first loss was obviously the loss of a beloved sister. Yet she was far more than the word sister can describe. In our younger years she had been my defender, and now I felt undeniably defenseless. Most of all, I had lost a friend. While I stood there, a sense of acceptance washed over me. Finally, I could accept the loss and still keep the warm sweet memories of her impish smile and loving manner.
Emotion had overwhelmed me, causing tears to run down my face. Feelings of grief, sorrow and loss were jumbled up carelessly among the feelings of love and devotion. Having been able to release these emotions, I resolved to never put my feelings in chains again. Now I will cherish the release of emotions.

 Still standing by the headstone, I looked down, one last time, before leaving. I saw the roses carved into the brass plate that stated only a name and two dates. I knew that she would not wish for me to be sad or lonely, but I knew also that she would embrace the release of emotions.

Goodbye my sweet sister.


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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Three More Swirls

Sometimes, I just have to play with something until I am "done" with it. That doesn't mean I won't do it again.  Quite simply, as my parents used to say,  I need to "get it out of my system."
What my muse needed was for me to try the other two sizes of the swirl.  So I prepped the fabric, cut the other two circle sizes on the die and made  one large and two small swirls.
I used the same background fabric as on the other one for a consistency, in case I use them in the same quilt.   These weren't made with a plan but just to do it. I tried a different applique stitch to sew them down.  This is one I have heard called the  free-form applique stitch or the drunken zigzag stitch.  I think it looks like a bad EKG (I suspect the patient with this EKG would not survive.)

I have more play rehearsal so I am staying quite busy.  
Life is good!

My motto is "Ya gotta try!"  
If I don't try new things, then I lose the magic that is the very essence of life. 
What if I fail?
So what! I tried and I can try again. Failure is part of the pathway to success. 
You learn what doesn't work from each failure (so pay attention!)  
If I don’t try new things, I get "old" in mind as well as body. 
I can't fully stop either process of aging, 
but I can give it my best shot at keeping 
as many brain cells functioning as possible. 
Gene Black
Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible unless otherwise stated. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in posts may be affiliate links for which I am compensated if you click through and purchase.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Swirl - and Weather

Since we are about to go into a rough weather period,  I decided to post this early. If you didn't see yesterday's post - go here first.

I made a decision and sewed the hummingbird into the circle. But first I made this swirl and tried it there.
I love the swirl and I tried several background fabrics for it, but it just didn't work well with the other.  Perhaps solids would have worked or maybe another color combination - Who know? maybe I will try again with different fabrics for the outer circle and see what happens.

So now I have the swirl -and I love it- but where will it go?  It spoke to me or maybe the muse did and said "The crazy pieced blocks you made for Pineapple surprise -try those!"  So I did.  I did a very quick (inaccurately spaced) layout and I think I may just love it.
It would need more blocks added and some spacer strips to make it fit, and a better arrangement of the blocks maybe - but oh yes, it works. I am thinking that as I enlarge it, some inner borders/sashing of sections -not each block- would provide calm areas for the eye to rest.   This is at least one possibility. (((grin))) We shall see what happens.

Dearest Irma is headed up into Alabama and is supposed to be at tropical storm level when she gets to my area.  Tropical Storm – wind speed between 39 MPH and 73 MPH  I am very familiar with tracking hurricanes as before I retired I worked emergency preparedness with Public Health.  The National Hurricane Center website is one that I have watched a good bit the last few days.

Right now we only have rain and some gusty winds - not nearly what we will have by tomorrow morning when the bulk of Irma arrives.  For those of you in the area - stay safe. The rest of you please send warm thoughts, prayers etc.  to all in the path of this storm.

Peace!
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Sunday, September 10, 2017

What? Am I Crazy?

Let me see now......
I am working on/learning, rehearsing a musical.  
I am making quilted notebooks for the Holiday Faire.
I have "who knows how many" UFOs in my pile.
We are watching to see how Hurricane Irma is going to impact us, as the projected path keeps changing.

So, of course, I needed to start a new project - right?
Okay, yes, I am clearly a bit crazy.  I used one of the patterns that I won and started a table topper.  I got part of it done and said "Hmmmm...what if?"  And we all know how dangerous a question that can be!
I took the outer "circle" and used it as a frame for another UFO.
For now they are just placed together. Nothing has been joined. I am contemplating the idea of making this the center of a medallion quilt. But I am also thinking it could be a great wall quilt-once I figure out how I would hang it. The outer circle is somewhere in the vicinity of 24" in diameter.

Instead of the hummingbird, I could possibly make the circle shape in the Free Space pattern and put it in the center.
I need to figure out the finished diameter of those circles. Then I can decide if I want to make the large one or the smaller one to put there.  But then, I may have another idea before I get around to finishing it.  Only time will tell. 
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Friday, September 08, 2017

Winnings! Pets on Quilts

The Pets on Quilts online quilt show has ended. The prizes have been awarded.  I won a prize!  Yaay.  My name was drawn for the prize sponsored by Barb of Bejeweled Quilts.   I won a lovely charm pack of Island Batiks called "Wind and Sea."  It contains some wonderfully rich hues of  blues and greens along with a few purples!  Just look:
I also got to pick two patterns from Barb's Store on Craftsy.  Barb has some delightful patterns that she has created.  I chose two that looked particularly intriguing to me.
My first choice:  Free Space
I used Barb's photo of it from the listing on Craftsy.  
I just love the swirls set on a pieced background.

My second choice: Round Tumbler Topper
I probably will not add the ruffle if I make it for myself.  But I love the idea of using the tumbler shapes to create a circle.

You really should check out Barb's patterns as they are easy to understand and very affordable.

A big thanks to Barb for sponsoring this prize. And another big thanks to Lily Pad Quilting for hosting the show.

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible unless otherwise stated. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in posts may be affiliate links for which I am compensated if you click through and purchase.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Three More

Yes, I have completed three more of the notebook covers.  One of these was only a pieced cover yesterday, but today it is finished.
The horse embroidery is one that I digitized for my embroidery machine way back in 2014.  I think it looks lovely on this notebook cover framed with sun-printed and hand dyed fabrics.

The blue and green one on the left has hand woven fabric, sun-printed and hand dyed fabrics pieced into the cover.

The purple and blue one also features some of my hand woven fabrics. There are some textured yarns in both of the hand woven pieces so it has some extra "feel appeal." It also has hand dyed barics and batiks.

I am really enjoying piecing, quilting and assembling these notebook covers as I get to use so many of my creative energies in each of them.  Plus, I love sewing my labels (from www.ikaprint.com ) into each of them - thus leaving my mark on them for posterity.  I plan to also start adding one of these small labels on each of my quilts as I finish them.

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible unless otherwise stated. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in posts may be affiliate links for which I am compensated if you click through and purchase.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Check-In and Notebooks

Hi there,  I am checking in just to let you know that this old guy has not yet been killed by choreography.  Seriously folks, trying to learn to dance and sing the pieces for this musical is tough on this old man.  But I am surviving and as they say "the show MUST go ON."

Meanwhile I have been squeezing in minutes to work on some notebook covers. I have three completed -with my new labels inserted into the pocket seam.
The labels say "Gene Black Creations" on the front and
"made with loving care"  "www.geneblack.com" on the back
Here are three completed pieces and one cover that is ready to be quilted.
The unquilted cover also has a woven ribbon that I made on my inkle loom as well as two pieces of hand woven fabric.  I am really enjoying making these.

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible unless otherwise stated. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in posts may be affiliate links for which I am compensated if you click through and purchase.