Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Another one for the table

I'm making another table runner like this one:


But this time I'm using these fabrics:

This is what I have so far:

I haven't quite got it all sewn together, but it's almost there.  It's basically a seminole piecing techinique and works up quite fast.  When I made the first one, I did some strip piecing for the center, but also had to piece a lot of individual squares for the outer edges.  This time, I streamlined the cutting so that it was entirely strip pieced.

It was great to have the long weekend to putter around in the sewing room, and still have time to do all the other things that take place on weekends. And of course, there's always this little item that needs attending to:

I'm so very glad that Toby is back to his old self, but the little bugger is not all that happy to be eating his normal food  again.  He liked the special diet we had to put him on when he was sick last week.  I'm sure it had a lot to do with the deli ham he got twice a day that was the only thing we could successfully hide his medicine in.  Sorry Toby!


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Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day


What Heroes Gave

Each donned their uniform to be
Defenders of our liberty

Their mission sure, their spirits bright
Guard freedom’s home, be brave to fight

One final day each faced their call
Each gave their best enduring all

We’ll never know what they went through
But know they loved this country true

Deep down inside we should all feel
What heroes gave, their cost so real

We must stay thankful, grateful of
The gift of freedom through their love

Their loved ones bore the gravest pain
What we can’t know, some now sustain

To God I pray their pain will cease
And each will find long-lasting peace

Remember this from year to year
What heroes gave – shan’t disappear

We’ll never let their special day
Their time for honor slip away

These brave fought for a nation free
If not for them, where would we be?

                                                               ~Roger J. Robicheau (Sp5, US Army)


 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Gray Matters

It's another gray drizzly day outside my window.  I didn't let it stop me from getting a little color in my life though.  A visit to the garden center was just the thing.


Rows and rows of beautiful colors in hanging baskets.  This aisle seemed to go on to infinity:

Observing all the bright colors against the gray sky, got me to thinking about something I have noticed in the quilt world lately.  The color gray is popping up everywhere.  You might even say that Gray is the "new Black".

Here are just a couple of current fabric lines that feature gray:

Lori Holt's Millie's closet
Etchings by 3 Sisters
Ruby by Bonnie and Camille
Michael Miller Zoned Citron Gray

I did a little poking around the Internet and found that the color gray has become very popular in lots of design areas including home decor, paint chips, on the runway, even  for weddings.

Yellow and gray are teamed up quite often in Interior Design.  Lots of examples here.

So what's up with all the gray, anyway?

According to Empower Yourself with Color, the color gray is subdued, quiet and reserved. It does not stimulate, energize, rejuvenate or excite.  Perhaps in this age of ever changing technology and 24/7 access to a constant stream of new information, we want to surround ourselves in a color which allows us to relax.

According to Kate Smith at Sensational Color, gray is perceived as long-lasting, classic, and often as sleek or refined.   Maybe that explains why so many people are decorating their kitchens with stainless steel appliances.  We don't want to have to replace them any time soon.

Gray can also be industrial and urban.  Perhaps that's why so many of our technology devices come in gray/silver packages.

The gray trend in fabric is not a comfortable thing for this jewel tone gal.  I don't find myself wanting to use it in my quilts.  I associate the color gray with mourning, loneliness and old age.  Remember the scene in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy opens the door and the movie turns from grayscale to color?  For me, that's when the movie really starts to shine.*

On the other hand, there are only so many bright and colorful quilts that one household can contain.  You can hang them on walls, or put them on your bed or table, but they tend to scream for attention.  Quilts made with the softer, gentler tones of gray and it's companions are much easier to work into your decorating.

I did not mean for this post to sound like a term paper. (although I did actually do a term paper on The Psychology of Color back in High School.)

I'm glad that there is a wide spectrum of color, shade and tone in the fabric world.  I like to work with brights, but I certainly appreciate the beauty in a quilt made from a subtle, soft palette that includes gray.

I guess it's no surprise then, that I brought home 3 of these from the garden center:


* It has taken me 4 years of blogging to finally be able to reference Wizard of Oz!

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Jewels from the Past

I'm linking up with the Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy of Amy's Creative Side.  Amy began the Blogger's Quilt Festival a few years ago to give blogger's a chance to both inspire and be inspired by other quilters.

The quilt I decided to include in my entry is a Scrappy Jewel Box.

This quilt came about as the result of a block swap among friends.  We each had a turn to choose a block pattern, and each member of the group made a block from that pattern.  I chose the Jewel Box pattern, and told my friends they could use any colors they wished.  Here is a sampling of the blocks I was given.

Rosemary made this pretty block with a some of her florals:

Linda, who is partial to jewel tones like me, gave me this vibrant block:

Lauren's block looked like it was inspired by a summer's day in the garden:

Sue's block was made of soft beige with a sprinkle of harmonizing red/browns:

Here is one of the blocks I made.  I think this is where I really noticed how much I was drawn to jewel tones in my quiltmaking.

I am amazed at how each individual block can have it's own personality, but they all work together as a group.

This quilt was made over a dozen years ago and represents a lot of "firsts" for me as a quilter.  It was the first time I ever participated in a block swap.  It was the first truly scrappy quilt I ever made.  It was supposed to be the first quilt I quilted on my sewing machine.  

At the time, the only big quilts I had made were tied.  I had never done any machine quilting, and I wanted to wait until my skills improved enough to tackle a big quilt.  I'm sad to say, that although I have since learned how to machine quilt, I have never pulled out this quilt top and finished it.


I'm glad that the Blogger's Quilt Festival gave me the push to look into the back of the closet and rediscover this Jewel Box quilt. Looking at it, and reading the signatures made me realize what a real jewel it is. It deserves a chance grow up and become a real quilt.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Animal House

Meet Stella.


Stella is a gorgeous kitty who belongs to my brother and sister-in-law.  That is not her crate she is lounging in, it is Toby's crate.  She is absolutely fearless when it comes to canines, and Toby was more afraid of her than she was of him.

After a bit of warming up, the two became quite friendly.  Here they are sharing the view to the back yard at Stella's house.

Toby had lots of fun with his "cousin" Stella. The next day he seemed a little subdued.  We thought he was just resting up from his visit, but it turned out that Toby had developed some tummy troubles and had to visit the vet.

A couple of days on a bland diet, and some medicine and he is back to his old self.  In the almost three years that we have had Toby, this was the first time he has ever been sick. 

After a few days of being stuck in the house with my little ailing buddy, and I just had to celebrate his return to health with some retail therapy of the quilting kind.  I went to my local quilt shop and came home with these luscious fabrics:

I just love the leaf print on the left, and had to find some coordinates to go with it.  I'm going to make another table runner.


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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day


I hope all the mother's have had a nice day today.   I gave my mother the table runner I made for her, and it has already found it's new home.

This flower arrangement sits on my mom's dining room table.  The flowers are made of glass, and she has had it for many years.  I had it in mind when I picked out the colors for the runner, and was so happy to see that she liked the two of them together, too.

How can you not have a great day when you make your mom happy?

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

All Cleaned up

(This is a guest post written by Toby.)

My humans thought it would be a treat for Mom if I was nice and clean for Mother's Day.  Sadly, I was not consulted about this.   I heard the bath water running,and tried hiding in my little bed.

But they found me anyway,  and I was unceremoniously lowered into the tub.

I tried giving Mom my best "sad puppy" face, but she was having none of it.


It seemed best to just cooperate.

At last, it was time for a rinse.


The only fun part was shaking off the water while still in the tub.

After the towel dry, I shook off some more.


As a reward,  I got to bask in the sunlight while I dried off.

Hope Mom appreciates all I go through for her special day.



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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mission accomplished

I managed to finish the table runner I showed in my last post with a few days to spare before Mother's Day! 

Putting it out there on my blog turned it into a challenge to myself to get it finished

It wasn't a very big project afterall, and I had some help from these ladies:

Cranford is a five part mini series starring Judi Dench that was aired on PBS a few years ago.   It is based on the writings of Elizabeth Gaskell, and takes place in the 1840's in the small town of Cranford, England.   If you are a fan of English costume drama, I highly recommend you check it out.  The acting is superb, the story is sweet yet filled with drama, and the attention to detail for the time period is a treat for the eyes


If you were a fan of Downton Abbey  you'll find a familiar face in the character of Captain Brown who played Downton's Carson the butler.  Another familiar face to any Harry Potter  fans is Miss Pole, who played Hogwart's Professor Umbridge.  Miss Pole is the busybody of Cranford and provides the comic relief.


I may just have to purchase this DVD rather then rely on borrowing it from the library.  Who knows when another sewing deadline will be aided along toward the finish by such a proper group of ladies?  Thankfully, there is also a two part sequel entitled Return to Cranford  which is just as enjoyable.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tra La! It's May!


With Mother's Day coming up, I figured it was time to get moving on the table runner I want to make for my mom.  I posted this picture of the fabrics back in February and they have been waiting patiently ever since.



My plan was to make a runner with a pattern that I saw on Quiltbug.com that looks like this:

I cut my fabrics and laid them out, but when I stood back and looked at them I wasn't crazy about it.

My eye kept being drawn the the brick red fabric rather than the floral in the center.  I decided to go with a different plan that could still use the strips that I had already cut. 

I sewed the strips together in new arrangement, adding more floral fabric to the mix:

Then I sub-cut it into strips,

and sewed them back together in a staggered pattern.

(Before sewing each pair, I turned one of the strips around 180 degrees so that the seam allowances would all be going in opposite directions.)

After sewing together and adding a few smaller strips to the ends, I ended up with this:

I really like how this new arrangement brings focus to the floral print and the brick red is more of a picture frame.  The two ends look incomplete without the dark border, but I will use the brick red as the binding and that will complete the frame.

Now I have 10 whole days just to get the binding sewn on. 

Raise your hand if you think I will still be sewing binding on the night before!  ( *raises hand*)

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