Monday, September 22, 2014

Around the World!! Or at least the NorthEast ;-)

Tonight it is my privlage to share several very talented people with y'all!  I've been looking forward to this post for a while!

As I'm sure many of you know already, there is a game of Tag happening across the blog-o-sphere and we are all getting connected with great talent across the World.  Last week I was tagged by Judy Tucker, a phenomenal quilter I get to meet with twice a month in my guild.   She shares regularly on her blog, Sleeping Dog Quilts, and is pure inspiration to watch! 

In turn I am tagging others that I look up to and love to follow!  As mentioned in previous posts, I participated in a MugRug Swap with Marie who blogs at Marie's Creative Space.  From the get go it was like meeting a kindred spirit as we had so much in common and not just in the quilting world. 

My second tag is Marija, a friend and mentor I've known and loved for many years, she might as well be family!  She is my go to person whenever I have a fabric question and is a brilliant quilter, seamstress and designer.  You can follow her at Fabric of My Life blog.

Part of the being tagged is to answer some questions, so here we go!

1.  What are you working on?

Today was an easy day working on some Halloween place mats.  I had a kit given to me a few years ago and just didn't like the pattern.  These mats are those fabrics done totally different!  I've been testing out curved piecing and this was my experiment for a simple project!

This is just the first - the others will have other Halloween-y figures quilted in!  More to come!

In addition to this, I am gearing up to do some abstract work that will mix modern piecing, water colors painting and free-motion embroidery.  I'm collaborating with a good painter friend and am so excited to get this up and running.  This has been a long time coming and the closer I get to starting, the more passionate I get for it!!  Get ready for some new, new ideas!!
Combine The Adventures of Tintin cartoons....

...with abstract watercolors and quilting...  Who knows what will happen!

2.  How does my work differ from others?

This is something I try very hard to be - different from anything else seen before.  I am a traditionally/classically trained seamstress and quilter.  My family taught me all about quilting from a very young age and I added to that with 3 years of fashion design.  Taking all the technique and theories, I like to take an idea, flip it inside out and push it out of its comfort zone but still call it a quilt! 

I am also very applique heavy.  Essentially, if I can sketch it, then it can be cut and appliqued.  I love anything filigree or swirly, like my Pumpkin Patch quilt

or Blooming Peacocks, (which I forgot to mention were semi-finalists in Grand Rapids AQS Quilt Week this past August!  I'm thrilled with their progress!)
 AQS' list of semifinalists!

3. Why do I do what I do?

So much goes into a creation - heart, time, money, effort and then some.  Being on the creating side has given me a whole new appreciation and respect for others works.  And because I know how much goes into it, I am not about to steal their work.  Plus I love the waves of inspiration that hit me and the sketching time to see what could happen.  Some of my favorite pieces have started as post-it notes from a meeting in the office just because someone said something that struck a funny synapse in my head :-)

4. How does my creative process work?

A sketch book lives in my purse.  It goes with me everywhere, even to church. 
Sometimes its the above mentioned post-it note process.  Sometimes its boredom or pent up energy that just gets vented on my sewing machine!  I definitely start with an idea and then get my supplies; it very rarely happens fabric first then creation after.  Which is probably why my stash is relatively small (only half a bedroom ;-)  )

 I am very excited to chat with you soon!  But until then, please check out Judy, Marie and Marija!!


Mood: Fall-y
Music: "Oo-La-La" by The Fugees

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Faulty Stars

It has been an absolutely marathon few days since our last chat.  So all the time I had set aside for quilting was mostly used for anything BUT quilting! And probably the busiest of all the days was yesterday (Wednesday) - the day quilts were due for the Modern Summer Challenge in our Guild!

The most unexpected part of my day was the tiniest visitor we've ever had - Lilly!  Django, our 80 lb Catahoula Leopard,  has always been a cuddle bug and a sweet puppy, but yesterday proved he is a kind soul through and through.  When I went to bring him back in the house yesterday morning, I found him cuddling a little, black kitten on the front walk!!  And I mean little!!  I've never seen a kitten so young!  With no sign of Mom or any other kittens, we brought her in and for 6 hours we were foster parents to the cutest week old baby.  She chilled with me most of the day, though Django did spend a lot of time watching, too!  We named her Lilly and, had the Hubs not been hyper allergic to cats, we would have kept her.  But the wonderful and capable staff at the Boston Animal Rescue League took Lilly in and, from the sounds of it, there is a potential adopter already lined up!
Don't let her size fool you - this little girl has a good pair of lungs!  She was quite vocal when she was awake!
**UPDATE - She is spoken for officially!!** >>insert happy dance here!!<<

Last night was the Proper Bostonian Quilters Guild's first meeting of the season and it was an exciting start to our year!  There were so many beautiful and creative entries for the Modern Summer Challenge that it really ended up being a small show...

... which I almost missed!!  Guild started at 7:30p and I was sewing right up until 7:28p!  Luckily I live just up the street from where we meet.  I am very pleased with the final product.  My goal was to do something that would normally be found in a traditional work, push it off center and twist it.  
"The Fault in My Star," 48" by 70" at longest length, pieced, machine quilted

This is called "The Fault in My Star," based off the book by John Green, "The Fault in Our Stars."  In it, young characters are faced with terminal cancer and yet still chose to make the most out of life.  I found it a bright comfort while I read it during chemo procedures.  We shine at our brightest during the worst trials in life and that light touches so many more, we may not even know.  And when we lose someone, we still have their love and example but our lives are never as brilliant for their passing.

I dedicate this quilt to the memory of a friend, mentor and one greatly compassionate lady, Jennifer A. Strassburg, who passed this Summer after a very long a difficult battle with cancer.  She was a gifted teacher and powerful friend who remembered the little things and knew exactly what needed to be said to brighten your day.  Everyone who ever met her left a better person, but the World is not as bright without her in it. 
The link in her name above gives you just a glimpse of who she was to so many people. 

This quilt was a work of love from the start and also a lot of challenges!!  Because I so typically rely on applique, I did not want to do any applique in this piece.  The Lone Star parts were easy and went together easily.  Getting all the falling pieces, which were all improve-pieced, to fit together at all odd angles - not as easy as I thought!

Close up of the back material!

I also knew that I didn't want this to be a strictly squared off quilt.  The bottom part was the first part quilted by layering the batting, top face up, back face down; stitched in my shape; then flipped right side out.  Working from the bottom up with my basting and quilting went a lot easier than expected, too!  Having one spot solidly anchored made a HUGE difference!

Now that these pieces are done, I'm excited to focus back on things I started in June!  My overall goal is to keep my UFO stash at a minimum (she says while laughing!)

Keep stitching and we'll be in touch soon!!

Mood: Exhausted-but-happy
Music: "Rebel Yell" by Black Veil Brides

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Finishing up Summer!

August was FANTASTIC!  So much quilting, so much sunshine, just so much happened it's hard to believe it's September all ready!

August was also a month for finishing projects!  Around the house and yard we've been doing a lot of work landscaping and cleaning and we're starting to feel really proud of our little corner of earth!  The best part was celebrating with friends over Labor Day - sitting back to enjoy how far we've come this year and sharing it with our favorites!
We added a pool!!!  My favorite part of this Summer!!

Mr. Django was our fantastic helper outside - always happy and just so darn cute!!

Watching sailboats from my office!

Labor Day was a fantastic celebration with the best of family and friends!!

In the Studio it was all about finishing up Summer projects!  First was for a Mug Rug Swap from Quilting Gallery!  The theme was "Summer Memories" and my absolute favorite memories all have sailing or being near water around them.  Lucky for me, my amazing swap partner, Marie, also happens to really love sailing.  So designing was easy and a lot of fun!
I was feeling romantic, Summer date nights at the Fair!

Sunset sailing - from memories back home on Lake Ontario!

Made for me by the wonderfully talented Marie!

Last night I finished my Guild's Modern Wall Hanging Challenge and am really, really happy with the outcome.  I stared at the top for 2 months and doodled on post-its a ton until I figured out a theme I was happy with.  My secret design helper, the Hubs, also came to the rescue when I worked myself into a corner!  It is an amazing help to have a second pair of eyes to keep everything balanced and, in my case, to get the non-quilter's point of view! 
"Odd Feather" wall hanging, 20" by 23"

Feathers within feathers quilting.  I took the feather motif of quilting, enlarged it as an applique then added more feather quilting in it.  I have never been more proud of my quilting - so love the outcome!

Pieced back from scraps of the front, shows off a lot more of the quilting!

See you all here soon with updates for the Lap Quilt Summer Challenge as I finish that one up!

Cheers and happy stitching!!

Mood: Sunny
Music: "Big Black Car" by Gregory Alan Isakov