Wednesday, September 4, 2013


This is the month of skulls - mostly felt ones so far!  I am working to make Halloween In A  Jar to decorate people's desks at work.  Since there are about 40 people in my department, that's a lot of little felt sugar skulls!

Here's a little sampling of the skulls I've made so far.  I have about half done, and one giant one for me, to decorate at home with.

I am also considering - if I have time and felt left - making a giant wreath wrapped in black or black and white fabric and sugar skulls.  I'll hang it inside the front windows with some purple lights, and have Halloween wreath to show the neighborhood.  And I am also making a mantle runner for Halloween.  (think I am looking forward to it this year?)

I've also been working on a t-shirt quilt for a friend who does Scottish Highland Games.  She's got a lot of t-shirts!  It's been a challenge to find the right combo of shirts for front and back, and the right material for sashing.  I think I've done fairly well so far - uncovered thistle fabric for the sashing.  It's a nice neutral, but still in keeping with the theme. 

And just because, I've managed to actually start QUILTING things again!  I am hand-quilting Quilter's Moon - pics tonight, if I can swing it.  I am also getting ready to start quilting a lap-quilt sized springy-looking quilt that I made on a whim.  I will probably wind up taking it to work for my part of the Christmas gift exchange.  There were lots of comments last year about "what, no quilt?" and this is a pretty set of colors, but not my style.

I feel like I've picked back up my sense of creativity and such.  I've gotten some of the stress reduced, and feel a little more like creating.  I'm back to writing, sewing and quilting.  It's going to be a good Skull-tember!

There's just something about September; it's always been full of promise.  It's always been a favorite month for me.  It's new beginnings for school (even though school often now starts in September).  It's that big lead in to Halloween.  It's the promise of cooler temperatures (even if that promise takes a while to be filled).  It's all the fabulous upcoming days and social events and holidays.  It's not just the end of summer.  It's more.  It feels like my own personal spring.
 More pictures to come later today... and I'm going to try to be better about this whole blogging thing.  With reduced stress comes more time for making and posting about making. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Curiosity and the Things We Do

Good morning, superfriends!

The things we do.... oh, yes.  The things we do.  Historically speaking, a lot of the projects I've tackled are done because someone else tells me I can't.  Or that it would look silly/stupid/blah blah blah.  If I disagree, I am likely to follow through and see what it looks like.  I have a double streak of stubborn and curious that runs through all that I am. 

I have never seen an inverted Double Wedding Ring, as previously mentioned.  Even I wasn't sure it was a good idea!  Especially since I don't necessarily care for dwr quilts (I am lazy - I am NOT typing the full double wedding ring again and again!  It's my blog, I can do what I want!).  But.  Because I am stubborn, I decided that I would make at least one ring of an inverted dwr.

So here it is.  In the admittedly less-than-ideal light of the dining room.  It's not half bad!  I still can't see myself working on a full-out, bed sized dwr quilt.  But if I ever were to, it would be the inverted variety.  I am pleased with it, and that is ultimately why I do the things I do - to make myself happy.  Particularly when it comes to quilting and sewing.

Last night was also the start of doll-making.  I have most of a doll put together.  Tonight her head will go on her, and I will start figuring out costuming for her.  She may skip the hair - because if I can get a hat on her, it will completely cover up her hair anyway. 

I've been musing more on the things I do and why I do them - not the obvious, like jobs and such.  These are the "other" things - the things that most people would consider a little odd/offbeat.  Strangely, quilting falls into that category.  I don't understand that, but I come from a crafting family.  My sister sews, my mother used to sew and embroider, my father works in wood... and we were always offered the opportunity to play with all sorts of crafts.  Drawing, coloring, making little red clay pots at our grandparents' house... even dyeing with beets.  In an old iron pot outside.   Sewing doll clothes with scrap fabric at my great-aunt's house, sitting in the living room.

It was never a big deal - it was a part of life.  We were given the chance to explore our world, wherever that world happened to be.  We weren't rich, not with two teachers for parents, but we took road trips, and we learned things wherever we were.  My parents encouraged curiosity and thinking.  We went to the zoo a lot, and learned about animals.  We went to libraries - not just the closest one to us, but to several different ones.  Despite always having overdue books, I always had library books.  We were encouraged to read.  We learned about other places and other times, and learned to tell good writing from bad.  We went to museums - my hometown of San Antonio has a fair number, and we went to a lot of them.  I still have favorites.  We learned about art and saw things we wouldn't have otherwise.

All of that combined to create in me a passion for creating.  I cannot draw to save my life, and most of my crafting skills do not produce exactly what I have in my mind.  But it's not going to discourage me from trying.  Because above all, we learned not to quit.  We were instilled with that love of learning - maybe not in school, maybe not traditional learning - but we learned to hang on to the curiosity.  That has carried me far, and tinges everything that I do now.  While others may say 'it can't be done,' my family is in the back of my mind saying 'go for it.  give it a shot.'

As far as the rest - the stilt-walking, the sewing of costuming, the writing, the ren faire... and anything else that I decide to take up - it's curiosity that drives me.  That, and the desire to learn.  As long as I live, I hope to be learning.  If I can pass that on to others, it makes it all worth the effort.  Strangely, looking back, I don't see that my parents "worked" at getting us to learn the things they taught us.  They just lived their lives, and we saw them doing and enjoying.  And it's still the case - they are still learning, and showing us the way. 

So here's to curiosity.  Maybe I'll build on the dwr and call it curiosity.  Just because I want to see what happens with it. 


Monday, August 5, 2013

August sewing space

Good morning, superfriends!

Now that's it's August, temperatures have finally crept up into  "normal Texas summer" areas - meaning that we're over 100 degrees for several days running.  Because that's the case, and because of many other reasons, I am temporarily moving my personal sewing space from the forge to my area of the house.  It's a little more crowded, and the light isn't as good, but I only have to A/C one area, and I am doing small things right now anyway.

I moved my machine and one of the scrap fabric bins upstairs to my space this weekend and started actually feeling like sewing again!  Win!  I love the forge, but planning to sew, having to go out and turn on the A/C an hour or so before... it gets old.  And it makes me feel obligated to sew for several hours when I do so.  Which makes it.... well.. an obligation, not something to be enjoyed.

So for at least the month of August (and maybe September, depending), here is the bulk of my sewing area.  It's such a down-sizing.... but it will work better for me until work and temperatures are a little more stable.  The weirdest part is that I have to sew sitting down.  I haven't done that in years!  I will move my Ott-Light up for more natural lighting, but for now, here it is. 

And this weekend I cut out pieces for 2 dolls - both for costuming purposes - and started the project you can see on the table.  It's a double wedding ring, but inverted.  I just can't get all that interested in a standard double wedding ring quilt.  I don't know why - they just don't appeal to me.  But I caught myself wondering what one would look like inverted - with the scrappy on the non ring sections.  And this is what it looks like so far.  Don't know how big I will go with this, but it's an interesting project!

The strips are all from the scrap bin - blues and blacks - with the bright white for the rings.  I will hopefully get the next round done tonight, just to see what it continues to evolve into.... I like it so far, despite my innate bias of double wedding ring quilts.  (Which is probably because most of the ones I have seen are in colors not to my taste.  We shall see, when I've finished this project!)  My only problem is that I don't have enough blue to do the next rounds, so I will swap colors.... I guess I'll see what I have to use!  Maybe pull the other scrap bin in.... see what the weather brings this afternoon.

I bought more fabric this weekend - but this time it has a purpose!  We have a "full contact Christmas" party, in which gifts are exchanged at work.  Everyone last year was in high hopes of a quilt.  So... this year... it might just happen.  It's on my list of projects.  We'll see how far I get!

I am doing projects because I want to right now... not because I have to.  The dolls are costuming related, more for my own benefit. I figure that if I have the dolls, I can at least look at them and see what I want.  If I don't get the character, I will at least have that!  And it feels like forward progress.  And that will keep the stress levels down - I'm accomplishing something.  And that's really what it's all about right now.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Learning from myself

Good morning, superfriends!

Still here, still plugging away... with a change of heart.

Stress got to me the other day.  Enough so that, when combined with not eating enough and trying to move two rooms of furniture, I passed out.  Just *thud* onto the floor.  Since no one else was home, I woke up not too long after wondering what had just happened.  It wasn't too long, but I was light-headed the rest of the day, and did not like that one little bit.  

I decided I would (finally) take steps to moderate my stress.  I made a list of the things that are currently stressing me out.  There are a few things that I have little to no control over.  The rest I can do something about.  So I've been working on that.  Sat down with D and had a meeting about chores and things, and we hashed it out pretty quick with no emotional outbursts and no hurt feelings.  That in itself helped the stress levels!

The other thing I did... looking back, it amazed me that it took me so long.  I learned (indirectly) from myself.  I've been teaching that quilting is supposed to be fun.  It doesn't matter if your seams don't match exactly if you don't mind.  It doesn't matter how long it takes you, as long as it's fun.

I apparently forgot that.

So I am taking a leaf from my own book.  I am giving myself permission to slow down and not HAVE to quilt every day.  I no longer will HAVE to run home, do chores and eat and get ready for the next day and shoehorn quilting in there.  Nope.  It happens when it happens.

So my goals are being modified.  Now I will shoot for updating every other day.  That, too, should reduce the stress.

I still have so much I want to do.  But now I'm not going to push so hard.  Apparently my body doesn't like that.  So, time to slow down for a while.  Put the enjoyment back in things - that was one thing I realized.  I am not enjoying my sewing these days.  I'd rather enjoy it.    And giving myself the freedom to slow down and take away deadlines might just do the trick.

So here goes: the newer, slower S.  (Maybe).  Today is the last day of the month, and the last day of stress-filled.  I am taking control of my own life, my own stress, and dealing with it.

Tonight's goals?  dust downstairs and maybe work on a quilt.  I am not sure which one just yet - but it will be one that I CHOOSE to work on.  Not one I feel that I HAVE to work on.  Oh, and dinner.  :)   I should make dinner.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Perverseness of the Universe

Good morning, Superfriends!

As many can attest, once a person makes a decision about things, the universe shifts, and those goals are no longer so easily reached.

Naturally, once I decided my goals - life happened. 

I haven't given up on them - oh, no... I'm far too stubborn for that!  But it might take me a wee bit longer.  So be it.  I am stubborn.  Seriously stubborn.  And so I am NOT going to quit.  Nope, not this girl.  I have better things to do than quit.  Sometimes, life makes it a challenge, but really... what would life be without a challenge?

In the meantime, we've fired up the old testing schedule at work, so there's less free time until, oh... January.  Hooray!  (Overtime is good money, right?)  I enjoy the testing part in some ways, but it does take up my time!  We're probably working 6 days a week until December.  And of course, now is the time that my brain goes "Oh, hey!  I've got these lovely ideas for a quilt!  You should totally make these!" 

I would love to make a steampunk hippo quilt.  I haven't figured out how yet, but it's percolating in my brain, along with the other new things.  My list is growing and growing! 

But, I am still plugging along, working as I can.  If I listed all the quilts I have in planning stage, I would just be overwhelmed.  I DO have a list, but it's kept on a spreadsheet for my sanity.  Right now it's sitting at 98 quilts in various stages: planned, designed, in process or done.  17 of those are done.  Currently I am sitting at 18% completion.  I keep shooting for higher.  Eventually.  Maybe.  :)

I am also testing one of my patterns for accuracy.  I want to see if it can get accepted in a quilting magazine, so I wanted to be certain it would do!  And, since I was making a test piece, I decided to do something a little different.  A little more modern.  It looked muddy until I added the blue.  I intended to go all black and white, but I think I have too much grey.  The blue helps, though!

So that's what I've been up to, superfriends!

What's up in your worlds?  What's currently challenging you?  Does life get in the way of quilting and crafting?


Friday, July 19, 2013

Onwards! Fruit, birds, and quilts

Good morning, superfriends!

I am keeping to my goals -  so far.  I have quilted on Boston Molasses Flood at least a little each night.  I have also planned out three (sigh) new quilts.  So, those go on the list for "someday."  At this rate, I won't have to worry about running out of ideas!  Even if I don't have another one for five years, I think I'm set!

Today is luau day at work - jeans, hawaiian shirts, decorations, food day, etc.  I volunteered for fruit, but because I am me, I couldn't just plop fruit on a plate and go with it.  No... not this girl....

Behold.  The fruit bird!  Pineapple body with pear wings, a banana head, and plumage of strawberries, cherries and grapes.  Hooray the fruit bird!

I put this together up here at work, and people kept stopping by to watch and make comments about how it's amazing how creative I am, and how they would never think of things like that.  One even asked if I'd taken a class on it.  (That one blew my mind).  I told her I'd seen a picture, and figured out how to put it together.  She looked at me as though I'd grown two heads.  To me, this is a bird made of fruit held together with bamboo skewers.  Apparently to other people this is something they would admire, but never even think to make.  Something too difficult.

I guess quilting is like that.  Actually, I suppose a LOT of life is like that.  Things that are simple to one person are amazingly difficult or even unthinkable to other people.  What is simple to me, not so much to others.  Likewise, what is nigh-on impossible to me is probably easy to some people. 

Tonight will be more quilting and such - and prepping Quilter's Moon for a small road trip.  We're going to a picnic this weekend, and it's going with me.  Just in case I get tired of talking and need something to do with my hands.  Or something.

Oh... what is Quilter's Moon?  Oh, yeah.  That entry crashed when I tried to post it.  So... Quilter's Moon.  Improv pieced moon of creams and whites on a dark blue starry background. The improv piecing came from an article in Quilty. I am immensely enjoying this magazine! 

The background color doesn't show up very well in this shot - it's considerably more blue than this.  But this shot does show the detail of the moon.  I am reasonably pleased with this as well, and now have to buckle down and quilt it! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Inspiration photos and such

We went to the zoo in San Antonio... got to go to a short talk about condors.  It was amazing!  They have two, and they have bred in the past, but no longer.  Apparently they got a condor divorce.  :)  They live in two different exhibits now; we got to meet Daisy.  She is being trained to follow a certain stick so they can move her into her cage when they need to.  She doesn't fear humans - she was raised by them, so she has a tendency to want to play instead of get in the cage.  Can't say I blame her!

One of the other things we noticed at the zoo was the number of statues that you can actually climb on!  They have little signs warning that the metal statues can get hot in the Texas sun, but other than that, have fun!  I thought that was amazing!

One of my favorites was this one:

Steampunk hippos!  They were adorable!  The live hippo had a new (to me) exhibit behind glass so you could watch it swimming around, but he was having his breakfast while we were there.  The old hippo enclosure is now for a capybara and a tapir. 

This is at the Japanese Tea Gardens - looking almost straight up into the top of the pavilion.  It was amazing.  I wish I had a better camera to grab better shots, but this one isn't too bad.  I'd love to recreate this in a quilt - the beautiful geometric pattern and the different shades of wood.  It's like looking up into a flower unfolding above. 
The pavilion from ground level - it's amazing.  Everything is limestone from the quarry the Tea Garden is located in, and it's chaotic and orderly both at the same time, organic and formal.  It's an amazing balance, and I adore it!
I did indeed work on Boston Molasses - got another complete row of quilting done - both parts of the "wave" of molasses, so I am reasonably pleased.  Got it rolled up a little more and started the next row of "wave" as well.  So far, so good.  Now for shower and working on pineapple.  (Not a real one, a stuffed one for a luau at work).

Goal Setting and Things Accomplished

I am setting new goals for myself, in several different areas.  The first is health - I have a weight loss goal - not for looks, but for health.  I would like to lose another 20 pounds by the end of February 2014.  I'm giving myself plenty of time, because I want it to stick!  It will be a little easier because D is also losing weight - again, health reasons.  So we're shooting for eating less, eating the right things, and doing more. 

I am also setting new goals in the sewing and quilting arena.  I am setting a couple of goals here.  The first one - finish Boston Molasses by the end of September.  Once that is done, start working on Crazy Diamonds.  Finish that one by the end of January 2014.  (They are being quilted by hand, and neither is a wee thing, so I am giving myself time).  If I manage to quilt the smaller ones as well, all the much better.

The second quilting goal - blog about what I am doing every day in the month of August.  Even if it's just a little, I am going to try to have something up EVERY DAY.  Hooray!  (And it's cheating if I post things I did several days ago.  It's got to be do something and post every day.).  Quilting and sewing related, obviously.

In order to make that second goal, I am going to have a bit of a run-up.  I will post (hopefully) more often henceforth.  I have ideas, and goals, and stuff!  I have things to say!  And by golly, I intend to say them!  (That almost got typed out as By Gollum.  Can you tell I'm a LotR fan?)

I got a lot of inspiration this past weekend.  D and I took a trip to San Antonio.  It was my mother's birthday, and I thought it would be fun to surprise her.  (Which I did, and it was fun!).  We did a lot of running around as a family, which was nice.  We haven't really done that in a while.  One of the side trips we took was to Las Colchas - which is a FABULOUS quilt shop in San Antonio.  If you get a chance, oh quilters, you should go!  They have a wide array of fabrics in a converted house, and it's just stuffed to the gills.  If I had unlimited funds, I could spend all day in there getting fabrics cut. 

They also had a lot of fabrics that I haven't seen up here in Fort Worth.  So... needless to say, I did some buying.  I don't have an immediate use for the things I bought, but still.... I know I will use them! 

D and I also went to the zoo and to the Japanese Tea Garden.  Both were amazing!  Both are built in an old quarry (as are a lot of things in San Antonio). but neither of them resemble quarries.  They are gorgeous!  The zoo has made a LOT of improvements since I was there last.  We were among the first people in the Tea Garden when we went, and so we got to meander around without lots of people barring the way.

The flowers were in full bloom, and butterflies flitted about.  Again, because we were early, the lizards were scurrying around doing their thing.  The koi and turtles were happily swimming around the Tea Garden.  It was a very pleasant morning, and afterwards, we got to meet my parents for lunch before heading out.

In a lot of ways, this trip was a little hard.  We went on a trip last year for a long weeked, and while it was a great deal of fun, the day we got back my cat died.  So I was a little leery this time.  Nothing seemed wrong last time, so that didn't give me much encouragement about THIS time.   But all was well when we got home.  Joji jumped off of her perch and came charging to meet me, and didn't hold any kind of grudge over our absence.  (Although she's been eating my toes every morning since).
At any rate, we are home and all is well now.  Still catching up on sleep - the weirdly cool weather (for July in Texas, rain and 80's is cool!) is helping, though.  And in the meantime, I am still working away in the forge getting things made.  I will post about them later today, when I have better pictures.  And maybe a few more pics of San Antonio, too.
And I have gained more inspiration from the San Antonio trip as far as quilts than I expected.  That's a nice thing - it feels like a long dry season that's finally coming to an end.
See you later, superfriends!

Monday, June 24, 2013

So many quilt tops....

Happy Monday moring, superfriends!

So many quilt tops, so few finished quilts!  (I SHOULD be working on Boston Molasses Flood... instead, I seem to have fallen into working on the next top... Bat Flight.)

It will be a throw sized piece... I just want to see how it will all go together.  This, by the way, is only a test piece... the fabric is not speckled.  :)  No leopard bats!  D is still piecing hers, and rather than leave her in the forge alone for hours at a time, I started piecing the next quilt.  So... Bat Flight.  There will be multiple bats, of course.  One would be silly.

Last year we went down to the Hill Country here in Texas and went to a bat emergence.  It was... impressive doesn't really cover it.  The sight of all those millions of bats zooming around the ever-darkening sky in a loose trail was amazing.  If everyone was quiet you could hear their wings fluttering.  They made elegant swirls through the air, circled a big tree, and headed out for their night of bug-eating.  I wished them the best at the time, and thought that I would love to make a bat quilt.  It has taken me a while, but now I am getting there!

Working on Bat Flight does mean that the previous quilt top is done...  yup.  Here it is...

Ninja!  The gold almost glows in the sunlight - next time I will put it more in the shade!  :)  The border will have ninja throwing stars  quilted into it, and there will be at least one ninja in the main body of the quilt.  Masters of concealment!  It'll be a "find the ninja" quilt.  :)  Mostly because I can, and because it's practice for another quilt I want to make that requires a lot more detail and a lot more effort.  So Ninja is my test piece.  If I can make a ninja appear in the quilt, I will be happy.

And yes... we had class!  It was a small class, due to illness and lots of other things going on.  We'll have a make-up day, so it will all even out.  Even with the small class, much was accomplished, and I cannot wait to see finished projects!

The weed garden is almost gone - we will finish it up this week and get the tarp over it to kill what we can.  Hopefully the Texas summer will do the rest and by fall we can get containers in there to have a nice little kitchen herb garden going!  More pictures once we finish that off...

Tonight we might get our hanging chairs up so we can lounge in comfort  - in the hot Texas summer.   (No, really...we're fine.  There's plenty of shade.  I can lounge outside and read with no problems).  And then... maybe I will get an arbor to put outside the forge... once I figure out how to anchor it to the concrete.  My goal - make the outside pretty!!  I'll do it, too!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Progress in many things... and still working.

Making progress in the weed garden!  (eventually we will finish chopping down the wild greenery and lay a black tarp over it to kill off what we can).  This will be converted into a container garden area... herbs, etc.  And not a place for yellow jackets and feral cats to hang out.  We're making progress.

Also making progress on the green wall.  It doesn't look like much right now, since there's still a ridiculous amount of honeysuckle.  We'll have to trim that back soon, too.  Anyone want some?  Lord knows we have it to spare!

Our neighbors on the honeysuckle side - we had to borrow their lawn clipping bin this week to get rid of the remains of greenry and the leaves hiding underneath - were so happy that we're keeping up with the green wall.  The house was empty for a couple of years, so it got a little out of hand!  But we're quiet and tidy and try to be good neighbors. 

Also making progress of the next quilt top: Ninja.

These - currently untrimmed - are the four corners of the outer border.  They will be throwing stars.  :)  Because I can.  I should finish the top by the end of the weekend.    It will be all in shades of brown and gold, with bamboo print.  Tonight it will be the thin gold inner border, and then the outer border!  And then I REALLY need to sit and work on quilting instead of piecing!

Progress has also been made on class prep - I made samples for the steps last night, so I'm ready there.  A bit more clean-up and we're all set.  Got fabrics, instructions, and ready to go.

The one area I am slow to make progress in these days is my own personal outlook.  While I generally strive for positivity... sometimes it isn't so easy.  (Duh).  I look at other quilters' work and wonder why I am such a terrible quilter.  (Generally, I know this is not true.  But there are days....).  I have a perfectionist streak in me.  And if I see something in my head, I want it to look like that picture.  Unfortunately, the ADD tends to get in the way of that... and I am never Dis-satisfied with my end projects... I just fall prey to the "why can't I be better??" 

But the truth is... I am getting better.  I am working at my skills, accuracy in measuring, cutting, stitching, etc.  And everything I quilt gives me that much more experience!  So I AM getting better.  That's progress.  It's just slower than I would like.  (Well, OTHER people get better faster!)  There are days that I don't like my inner voice.  It is very critical.  That's a given - most of my friends have the same issue.  We know what it feels like, so there's no need to belabor that point.  (And it's not just about quilting, either.  It's quilting, costuming, writing, etc. etc.  If there's something I do that's creative, there's always someone I know personally who is better than me.). 

I come from a stubborn family.  It's got its benefits, certainly.  My parents today are celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary.  That's a good kind of stubborn!  I earned my stubborn... and it's serving me well in this area.  I am not quitting.  I still write.  I still piece and quilt.  I do things and I improve when I do.  My costumes are - I think - getting better each time.  And the time I spend angsting over the fact that I am not as good as I think I should be is getting less. 

So that's progress. 

PS... "Angsting" is an interesting-looking word.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hooray! Top Done! The sequel!

Well, kinda, anyway....

It's only throw sized - about 60 x 60.  And it is big chunks of fabric, so it's not as though it took forever!

But anyway...

Here's Crop Circles.

It's very basic, as stated.  When quilted, most of the sections will have parallel lines - rows and furrows.  However, a few lucky sections will have crop circles quilted onto them.  It sounded like fun when I drew it out!  So, we shall see!

Like Molten Glass, it's a very simple pattern.  Dimensions are easy to work out, since it's all basic math.  Now all I have to do is quilt it.  And then, if I think it will work, turn it into a pattern as well.  :)  Build up my stock of patterns!  (Get good drawings of crop circle designs to offer a variety of fancies!)

So, get in line, Crop Circles... at this rate, you have some time to wait!

And... because I said I would, here are pictures of the Weed Garden of Doom.... it's actually a lot better than it was.  That bare area was all overgrown, too.  I pulled up a lot of low-growing cedar of some sort, and lots of treelets.  Now to tackle the monster in the middle!  (We are intending to plant an herb garden here if we can conquer it).

And the Green Wall - the part that we tackled and removed trash trees from.... yeah, the driveway is still a bit messy.  We're getting to it.
(Yes, that's the neighbor's roof.  We're on a hill)
And the part we haven't gotten to yet.
Scary, huh?  Lots more in the tree department.

This is turning into a very GREEN post... good thing I like green!

Enjoy yourselves, and hopefully I will have more to post soon!


Hooray! Top done!

Good morning, superfriends!

I've finished another top!  This time, it's Molten Glass.  I mentioned it a little before, and put the hammer to the forge and knocked it out.  Here it is, sprawled out in the yard outside the forge, relaxing after being put together.  It had a hard time, you know, being wrestled around the forge between the layout board and the machine!  When I laid it all out in the sun, the batiks looked like damask, and made the entire thing look almost shimmery - which is fabulous! 

The black offsets the red corner squares nicely and gives it a little separation that it needed.  It's all of 123" x 123".  Should provide plenty of drape for my bed once it's all quilted - having an 18" mattress can sometimes be a pain!  When I am done with Boston Molasses, this one will go on the hand-quilting rack to be done.  It's too big for Frank!  Besides, I am going to quilt phoenixes into it - that being a theme with me.  So hopefully I can get Boston Molasses done faster than a snail laying tracks and get this one on the rack. 

In addition to Molten Glass, there was yardwork this Sunday, trimming down the great green wall to allow some breeze through.  We left the honeysuckle alone, but took out a lot of the trash trees that are growing up through it.  We've still got work to go in the weed garden, but we made a good start.  (Oh, golly, the weed garden... low growing cedar that's in terrible shape, some kind of monster shrub that just eats up everything, a few small oaks, a few small pecans, and lord only knows what else!)  If the light is good later, I will try to take pictures. 

Today it's all rain and storm - the sun is usually up by now, and it's as dark as night right now.  Rain is a good thing in Texas during the summer, though, so no complaints from me!  (Does make me want to be out in the forge, doors open, working away).

This week will be working on the next top - Crop Circles - and trying to start work on Bostom Molasses Flood again.  And trying to track down quilt pattern publishers.  Or go to etsy.  We shall see.  Etsy might be the first and easiest way to go. 

And - on the 23rd - Class #3.  So there's prep for that to do still.  I am always excited about the classes!

Oh!  This past weekend we made a few more quilt stores we hadn't hit before, too - those that are a little further afield.  And most of our travel was backroads, which was nice.  Saw lots of horses and cows, and a handful of goats.  Found some goat fabric - been looking for some for a while, now, and was thrilled to get some finally!  And took a few pics.  If I'd remembered to upload them, I would post them!  (So, tonight, then!  Along with pics of Crop Circles layout, at least!)

Until later, superfriends!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Quilting Class again!

So, it's getting on to time for another quilting class...  Time to start thinking of the next thing to teach our lovely group of ladies who are of all different levels.  (I love it).   Fortunately, the thinking is the easy part.  The planning of the rest of it - not so much.  (The when, the fabric, the writing out of instructions for those who prefer to have written cheat sheets, the step-by-step versions to put on the design board....)

This time, we're going to cover quilt as you go projects.  Starting with a nice basic one.  Table runner/bed runner...

Here's a little sample I whipped up tonight: the semi-kinda-patriotic-colored thingamajig!

It's dirt simple and not bad looking for something I didn't spend too too much time on.  An hour, maybe?  And a little time for the back binding by hand?  The ones we will make in class will be bigger, but the technique will be the same.  An easy-peasy project!

Obviously I spent time in the quilt forge tonight.  It felt good!  And in addition to this little sample, I worked on Molten Glass.  I've got half the rows pieced together.  Just need to finish the other four rows and then add the sashing between the rows, and I will have the top done.

Which I guess means I REALLY need to finish Boston Molasses, so I can bind it and then get Molten Glass on the rack.  *sigh*  And so on.  (I need to quilt faster, or piece slower).

Here's the first four rows (well, some of each row, anyway).  There will be horizontal sashing in black as well, to separate out the red blocks a little bit more.  When done, it will be just over 10' square.  So far I am greatly liking it... and hope that the trend continues!

While stitching, I have been watching/listening to/laughing at Japanese giant monster movies.  Right now I am working my way through a three-disc set of Gamera movies.  Giant flying turtle, anyone?  (Which is great fun... although makes me want to make a hexie quilt of Gamera, complete with jets coming out his legs).  It certainly passes the time well, and keeps my brain occupied on several levels.

Now I curious, though, and will have to check: did Gamera ever fight Godzilla?  Seems like they should have... I will poke around and see, and post later.

Here's Molten Glass lines from the side.  It shows a bit more of the size, if nothing else.  It's only 64 blocks, but with the sashing, it's big. As mentioned before. 

 At any rate... wanted to give first looks at Molten Glass.  I like it.  And ultimately, since it's for me, that's the main thing.  I get to make it to MY desires, and I like the flame and heat and warmth of it.  The black in no way diminishes it - just breaks up that large chunk of red. 

I look forward to seeing this one done.

Guess I better get busy, then!

See you later, superfriends!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What HAVE you been up to?

Hi, folks! 
The above is me in the months that I've been away - photo is courtesy of Ron Wheeler, who takes FABULOUS pictures of our faire.  That is my character, Penelope Weaver, Weaver of course, who was bright and cheerful and of an exceptionally sunny disposition.  And more than a little silly.

There are scads of other pictures of Penelope - which makes me happy, even if the best thing you can say about my face is that it's... flexible.  Capable of many silly expressions.

But the skirts, the bodice - all of those had to be sewn.  Which meant two bodices (because last year's no longer fit), and three skirts (I was going to do more, but it didn't happen).  And repairs to all of the same. 

Combine that with the Quilts for Kari (for our friend with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma), I've been a busy busy person.  So....  that's what I've been up to the last few months.

Also me, in the living chess match.  This was a substitute fight, since my normal fight partner was out that day.  But I like this shot!  (The harpoon, by the way, is Penelope's "largest weaving shuttle ever.")  THis shot - Arianna Berdy - who also takes amazing pictures of our faire.

So that's what I've been up to.  Long days at faire, portraying a weaver in Scarborough, England, in the year 1533.  Silly and fun, and strangely educational!

Hereout, it's back to quilting for a while.  I have another character hanging out waiting to come play, so she needs an outfit by October-ish, for the Texas Renaissance Festival - I can take her down there easy, just to see how she plays.  I've got SOME of the fabric, and the rest shouldn't be too too difficult to get, since it's a test.

That gives me "plenty" of time to play with quilts, right? 

Currently on the schedule:
Quilting: Boston Molasses - still!
Piecing: Molten Glass
Prepping: Bat Flight and Crop Circles

Until next time, superfriends!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Three Month Hiatus??

It feels like I've been away forever.

Well, in a way, I have!  Scarborough Faire started up, and so my sewing time went down the drain.  Any evening time was eaten up by the day job, where we had testing to do.  Lots of testing.  New costuming, and then add to that the fact that I made a chemo quilt and 5 quilts to raffle for fundraising for the friend for who the chemo quilt was made... there wasn't much time for doing other stuff.  We spent last weekend cleaning up the forge, and now we're back at it.  Finally. 

If anyone out there is stuill reading this, I apologize for the long period of silence.  If not, no biggie.  :)

I've managed to get all 64 blocks pieced for my next (Personal) quilt.  For me.  Hah!  For my bed, no less!  It's based on the same pattern as Sea-Glass, but it's in phoenix colors.  And will have black sashing - that's my goal for tonight, cut out all that blasted sashing!  And start sewing again!

And since the forge is now clean again, we can start gearing up for the next class.  We're going to do a quilt as you go project, to introduce new skills.  Hooray!

This is one of the quilts made to be raffled off.  It is made of every kind of material and every weight, backed by a silver-gray moleskin.  The blocks are from costumes from Scarborough Faire (because it's all for one of the women out there).  The back contained more blocks that weren't quite the right size and would have been hard to adapt. 

The woman who won the quilt wanted it VERY badly - and I was thrilled she got it.

The other quilts were less spectacular, but no less wanted by people.  My Binary quilt went - quite popular, which made me smile, as well as three log cabin variations in several colorways.  Those were pieced by a friend who said "Here.  Add these in."  So I backed, quilted and bound them.

I was greatly pleased to do it, and I hope it helps out my friend.  But it SURE did take up the time!!!

So now I can get back to the normal updates, and back to the quilting and designing!  And tonight I will pull Boston Molasses back out and see what I can get done.  And start looking at other people's blogs again.  I feel like such a slacker.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Finished another one!

Good morning, superfriends!

Sunday I decided to go out to the quilt forge and try something new - the quilt-as-you-go runner.  I have seen them around the interwebs, and have given thought for a while to try making one.  But... like all things, it takes a bit of time to get around to every project I want to do!  And making a table runner was to be step one - the testing.  I wanted to see how easy it was, how well it went together, and so on... 

Now I know.

Not too bad, if I do say so myself.  I like the colors, and the runner itself went together with remarkable ease, considering that I didn't even go look and see how it's done, just went by memory.  It was easy, and relatively quick.  Since it was a test, I didn't even bother to measure length, just went until I was done and then bound it off.

The quilt as you go method is ridiculously simple.  For those who have not yet seen it, here's a free PDF of the design.  I know I've seen it around, but this is a good starting point!

The nicest thing about this... when I took it inside and laid it down on the table, it fit.  Exactly.  *blink*  How the heck did THAT happen??  No clue, but I'll take it!  It fits, it looks good, and so on.

And now that I know it works, I am tempted to make another one out of the OTHER roll of fabrics that I bought at the same time as this one.  (Oh, yeah.. that's the other thing about this... I wasn't sure how it would turn out, so I used a roll that I bought at....  Big Lots.  Yeah.  $8 worth of fabric, and I still have enough to make either placemats or something else).

Now that I know it works, I can also move on to planning the ACTUAL project.. seeing if I can make a quilt this way.  In blocks, of course, because it would take WAY too much maneuvering to get a queen sized quilt made on my little machine with this technique.  So... on to planning blocks and stuff.

And other projects.
And faire.

Hooray!  I will never die of boredom!


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Another one bites the dust!

Or at least gets finished!

Good morning, superfriends!

Look!  Finished ADD quilt!  (Yes, it's actually done).  This is more a personal exploration of how my quilting feels sometimes.  A wonderful detailed plan, ideas.... and then it all stalls out when I come to the actual creation.  I know that people with ADD can concentrate very well when it's something that is interesting.  And I do - but sometimes... things just don't work the way they do for other people.  So here is the ADD quilt: the quilting gets less as it goes, and the binding... well... it just peters out.  Rather like my enthusiasm for a long project.  :)  This one is small, so I COULD accomplish it in a timely manner.

And of course I've started a new quilt.  I've got most of the fabric sitting in front of me right now, just need to cut and such.... we'll see how far I get. The best part is that I can use only fabrics from my stash - no buying of new fabric!!  I can start whittling down the stash again!  (That makes me VERY happy, as our stash is about to overrun the two long shelves we've set aside for it!) 

Work is gearing up with yet another project, and I will apparently be involved.  Which MAY mean working 6 days a week - I should find out today.  10 hour days, 6 days a week.  The overtime will be nice - but it will certainly cut into other things (Faire) if it happens.  I should find out today.  I am a little nervous, torn between Faire (which I love madly) and Work (which allows me to do faire).  Who knows....  I will after our 6 hour training session.  SIX HOURS!!! 

I bought myself a Kindle Fire for my birthday - inspired and urged by my parents' gift of an Amazon gift card - the perfect prezzie, really.  It's a wonderful thing, and I am enjoying the heck out of it.  The only downside - it's WAYYYY  too easy to buy books that way!  (Not a HUGE problem, but one I am going to have to watch!)  I bought three last night!

Anyway... more about quilts later.  I am going to be busy! 

Oh, yeah!  And I am working on Boston Molasses again!  Hooray!!

Oh!  (sheesh - the post that never ends!)  AAQI - The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative - is going to be ending this year.  Apparently they are really close to meeting their financial goal of One Million Dollars.  (Wow).  So they will only be accepting quilts for a few more months, and selling/auctioning them off for a few more past that.  So if you want to get an AAQI quilt and help support research, better look into it pretty quick!  Right now I've still only got the one out there, but there are two going out by next week.    Here's the link for those who are interested:  Go forth, look, buy, and offer support.

Okay, I think I am actually done with this post now. 


Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday finishes

Good morning, superfriends!  It was a good and useful weekend - much accomplished, and much fun had!  (Sunday was my birthday game afternoon, and it was fabulous!)

And, I finished BST!

BST rough shot

Here it is on the floor at work - I'll get a better shot this afternoon at home, I promise!  But here it is!  And BST is Binary Sleep Tight.  The black and green are in binary - 01110011 is the upper left hand piece.  That's an 'S.'  Reading down the first column is SLEEP, the second column is TIGHT.  Yeah... I'm a little bit geeky.  It's pretty enough without knowing that it's "written" in binary, which makes me even more happy.   The quilting - of which I should be able to get an up-close shot this afternoon -  is ones and zeroes.  The print fabric is a Timeless Treasures - Microchip, and fits quite nicely. I hunted FOREVER to find something appropriate for the background, and NOW I found about 4 different fabrics I could use.  But... I am pleased with this one. 

It's a nice, successful completion, and it makes me happy to have it done!  I also managed to cut and piece the top of my ADD quilt-let.  (Yeah, I know, it's not on my list of things to do, but it's LITTLE.  Really!)  All I have left to do is the quilting and binding, and that MIGHT be done by this evening!  We'll see.   Here it is, the ADD quilt.  The quilting will be... simple.  We'll see what happens.  I hope to be able to show it tomorrow, all complete and in its glory.

Currently my IPad is playing the Eagles' "Do Something" in my ear, and it's fitting... I want to be doing something - some quilting, some sewing, a lot of different things.  I want to get up and Do Something.  So I will finish my work, and then go home and do just that.  I am proud of myself though - I have finished the first part of my goals for the year - BST is quilted and bound.  Yay!


Plum and June

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday working

Good afternoon, superfriends!  (Gosh, it's already almost 3pm here... where did the day go??)

Actually, it went into the past rather swiftly.  Bright and early this morning we got up, drove to Dallas to hit Perth Street - home to lovely fabric shops, wholesale and retail - so D could get the rest of the fabric for her costume for this year's faire.  And in a moment of sheer serendipity, I FINALLY found the perfect fabric for a quilt that I've been planning for quite a while.  In a shop that didn't normally carry quilting fabrics.  And it was cheap.  And it was a good quality - one that's normally 10-12 dollars a yard.  Five and a half yards of it.  So naturally I snatched it up!!  Yay for serendipity!

Once we got home - and yes, D managed to get all her fabrics (hooray!) - we cleaned for tomorrow's party.  And then... binding.  I'll finish the binding on BST tonight and post finished pics tomorrow.  Also finished my January block swap and got it off, and started on my next little quilt-let - I anticipate going back out to the forge tonight for a while and maybe at least get the top done.  I can quilt and bind it tomorrow morning before people start showing up.

But in the meantime, there's a little more cleaning to do, dinner to go out for (I'm taking D out since she scoured the kitchen!) and then binding and a little bit more cleaning.  And maybe dyeing of my hair.  Tired of the gray, and it's about that time anyway... time to start working my way into character for faire.

Yup... it's that season again.  When quilting and costuming run hand in hand, and the days at work flow into the days at faire, and at the end of it you're exhausted but oh-so-satisfied!

I feel... accomplished today.  It's a good feeling.  And with luck, I can get all the binding done.  But right now, I think I'm off for a snack!!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thursday again.. already???

Good morning, superfriends!  It looks like it's already Thursday again, and that means I haven't been by for a week!  What's wrong with me??

Well... nothing.  I've been busy doing all sorts of things.  Quilting, working, planning, prepping, cleaning.  You know... life. 

The quilting on BST is almost done - two more sections to finish and I can bind it and call it done!  Which is good, since I'm trying to get it done by Sunday, so it can be on display for my birthday shindig.  And, you know, take pictures and show it here and stuff!  I am looking forward to having it done - I'll have something DONE at that point.  Progress is good.

I was working diligently on BST the other night and had a random thought.  Which became another quilt to add to my list.  I'm up to 90 quilts planned/in progress/done now.  I'll never catch up!

So, having said that... how DO people keep on top of all their ideas for sewing/quilting/various projects?  I don't have a clue.  I don't think I can!  I know I want to make this new quilt, but I want to make ALL the quilts!  (Or at least all the ones on my list).  How do I catch up to myself? 

I love quilting.  I love piecing, (not so much basting), and I love the process of quilting.  I am learning to accept that applique is pretty - just not when I do it.  Yet.  But my brain is rarely silent and keeps feeding me ideas.  I wind up with massive lists of quilts, too many ideas, and not enough time to work on them all.  Not by a long shot.  And I feel like it's my brain's fault, not my time management skills (which are actually pretty good most of the time).

This is my brain on quilting

When I was teaching, one of the first exercises we did (at the beginning of a school year, at teacher inservice), we took a test to find out our thought patterns.  I was in a group of 2.  Out of all the teachers at the higyh school.  We were... I don't remember the name of the test or types, but... it was an eye-opening experience.  The largest group had a series of arrows in a straight line: linear thinkers.  Another group had arrows and dotted lines - the intuitive leapers.  I don't remember all the groups, but ours - that lovely small group of 2 - had a dot in the middle of the page and arrows going in every direction.  It describes my brain pretty well, really. 

But it's not much good for catching up on my quilting!  Anyone have any suggestions?  (And plugging away works only so far.  I am plugging away on BST has got me almost done.  But if it takes too long, I get bored and go on to something else!).

Don't get me wrong - I am in no way disenchanted with quilting or the time it takes to make wonderful things.  I just... wish I could get things done faster.

And this post has spawned another idea.... this is getting silly.... but it would certainly be scrappy.  A quilt of chaos... no symbols, no order, no color-choice.  Just random snatching of fabric pieces from the scrap bin.  Stitch, iron.  Stitch, iron.  At the end, quilt, square up and bind.  Hmm... might be able to get THAT done this weekend...  *tears hair*  Not.  Enough.  Time. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday in the Forge

Good evening, superfriends!

In my efforts to get more done this year, I have gotten (gasp) organized!  Each project still in the piecing stage has a box.  Oh, boy....

And I've at least gotten caught up on my December block swap.  Now I can start the January one with a clean conscience.  (I am so sorry it took so long, Carol!!) 

I'm halfway through quilting BST, and should be able to show pics of it soon.

But for now, I have a cropped sneak peek for Carol's block.  It's really a little more purple-y than it shows here, but I wound up liking the block!

Hopefully she will too!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Goals and Plans

I started making my list of things I want to accomplish on the quilting/piecing front last night....  I feel like I must be nuts.  Crazy, even.


On the "dear heaven I need to finish quilting this!" front, my goals for the year are:
1. finish quilting Boston Molasses Flood
2. finish quilting BST
3. quilt Crazy Diamonds
4. quilt my Dead Me quilt
5. My sister's quilt (need to do this one quick, too!)

Not too bad, except two are bed-sized quilts, and being done by hand.  *sigh*

On the "piece piece piece" front....
1. Molten Glass (currently in progress)
2. Wonky Sun Runner
3. Gatchaquilt (a brand new one that has leapt madly to the front of the line.  very pushy, it is).
4. Sun Phoenix (applique... why do I do this to myself??)
5. Hex Bird-Tree

And on the smaller scale list....
1. Complete all my block swaps in a timely manner
2. at least 2 more AAQI quilts.  (1 already planned....)

Now, looking at it, it doesn't seem like much.  12 items, 12 months.  But... I know me.  It won't work like that.  Even if it did only take me a month to hand-quilt a king-sized quilt (which is NOT going to happen).  We'll see if I can reach my goals.  If not, so be it, but I wanted to get it down in black and white so I can refer to it when needed.  And... it will keep me honest, I think.  I know other things will get added to the list, but this is my first of the year working list.

And of course, faire will be starting up soon.  The show starts in April, but we prep earlier than that.  And I will probably make a new bodice this year.  Nothing else garb-wise, but at least a new bodice.  And yarn things.  Because Penelope Weaver must have yarn things. 

So, we'll see how I fair on my goals.  Tonight - work on BST - it's smaller! and maybe on the Molten Glass.  We shall see.... (unless I pull greens and browns for the Hex Bird-Tree... See?  This is my problem.  Too many ideas, too little focus!)