Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Honey I'm home again!

Just a quick post to let you all know I arrived in Wisconsin today.
My flight was great and we arrived almost 1/2 hour early.
So door to door it was less than 6 hours.
I'm exhausted and I'm not sure if it's from flying or getting ready to go.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Washington Park High School, Racine, WI Class of 1957 class reunion and McKinley Junior High school Class of 1954 class reunion

Today we had a class reunion in Florida before we all head back to WI.
Members of the Park 1957 Class are Pat and Ron Brodsko, Kay Koeper Sorensen, Pat Davidson Maranger and her husband John (Union Grove High School graduate). We met at the Players Grill Restaurant for Brunch. It was delicious.
Pat and Kay were also members of the McKinley Jr. HIgh School class of 1954.
Just as we were looking for someone to take the picture Chuck Odders, Park High School class of 1960 walked in so he was our photographer.
We had a great time reminiscing and catching up. I also shared the news about some of our class members I reconnected this week with on Face Book: Karen Levandowski Shumaker, Doris Clickner Bryant, Carol Smalancke Holbus and James Rutherford.
After brunch it was back home to work on getting the house ready for the house sitters. John and Lynn Maher were their usual helpful selves. I sure picked a good Florida brother to adopt.

Rignt about now I wish all my furniture was Formica or painted as I spent a great deal of time oiling the furniture today.

Since it was such a beautiful day I decided to go for a joy ride in our convertible - otherwise known as our metallic purple and turquoise golf cart. It was a real joy taking it for a 3 mile ride around the development. The colors were chosen to coordinate with the decor of the house!

So that you can feel the wind in your hair as you ride with me in our convertible I'm using it for tonight's puzzle.
Click to Mix and Solve

Saturday, April 25, 2009

This quilt was made with the leftover strata from a much larger quilt. The colors on this photo are very accurate.

Jubilation is the large quilt I made for my husband's office. It is 104 inches square. When I was ready to quilt it there were gremlins in my studio. There was no way I could free motion quilt on this.
That was a major problem as the quilting had to go back and forth in sharp curves.
I had a deadline as it had to be finished for the Open House in a week. I turned the entire quilt each time the stitching had to change directions. I did it but my shoulders sure felt it.

The pieced sections are done with commercial fabrics. I pieced them and then drew up this design. There was no way I could finish it at that time as I couldn't find a gray gradated fabric to create the effect I wanted. Fast forward 10-15 years and I was dyeing fabric. I dyed several batches to get the amount of fabric I needed for the background, border and binding.

Tonight's puzzle is the first quilt you saw.
Click to Mix and Solve

Friday, April 24, 2009

Graduate School for Quilters - Design

This quilt which has the working title "Worms and Jelly Beans" is a study piece for a two larger quilts. It is about 12 x 15 inches or a little larger. I teach a class called "Graduate School for Quilters - Design". This was one of the projects for the class.
Students chose fabrics and then piece 2 backgrounds based on the proportions of the Golden Rectangle. One was to be oriented in landscape layout and the other portrait layout. There were several other guidelines to follow. I find design problems are a great way to teach something and yet allow each student to do work that is original.

The next step was to pick fabrics for the applique that contrasted with their backgrounds. These fabric was backed with Wonder Under and shapes were cut to fill each space. The shapes were fused in place. At this point they had to make a decision on what they would do with the edges of the shapes.
They COULD NOT just leave them fused. The outline was a part of the design assignment.
Possible ways of finishing included satin stitching with low contrast thread, zig zagging with high contrast thread, and painting.
The result of the students work was exciting. I wish I had photos to share of their work.
This is just one of the several different projects students did in this class which met for 6 sessions spread out over a period of time to allow them to coplete each piece before moving on the the next one.

I chose to do my stitching with metallic thread. Metallic thread can create it's own set of challenges but I was very pleased with the results in this piece. Of course I tested my stitch on a sample with the same fabrics with the same batting and techniques before I stitched on the actual quilt. If I were to do the same thing with the same thread but a different machine I would test it again.

If my images aren't as clear as they used to be or if you find more typing errors it is because I broke my spare Rx glasses (broke the others 3 weeks ago) and the only Rx glasses I have are my sunglasses. So I am working and living without glasses.
It will be a week before I see the eye doctor and then I have to add to that the amount of time it will take to have new glasses made.

I'm going to use the same quilt for tonight's puzzle.
Click to Mix and Solve

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Last Tango in Paris or Last ladies who lunch in Florida?

The snowbirds are getting ready to fly north so we had to have a farewell lunch.
We went back to Nancy Lopez Country Club and had a wonderful lunch.
You've met most of these ladies before, but there are 2 who you haven't met.

From left to right: JAN, Nancy, Marilyn, OREAN, Pat, Me, and Lynn. If their name is in caps you haven't met them before.

We were so glad to see each other and so busy talking I forgot to take food photos.
I had their Legacy salad and it was perfect. Everyone enjoyed their meal and the portions were so generous that doggie bags were in order for some of the group.

I'm glad I started this post before I broke my second pair of prescription glasses today. The only Rx glasses I have left until I return north are my sun glasses. So if I make typing errors and don't see them that is why.

Pueblo uses the same fabrics from the tesselation quilts a few days ago. The inspiration for this quilt came from a painting I saw out of the corner of my eye in a gallery window in Santa Fe. The next morning I created this. When I saw the painting again it looked nothing like what I had created! I may have shown it before but since I can't see that well without my glasses I'm not going to search to see if I did!

It's also tonight's puzzle.
Click to Mix and Solve

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Chilly nights in Florida!

Before we moved to Florida I knew we would experience some chilly evenings while watching TV so I knit myself an afghan. I used two strands of yarn throughout and my goal was to use yarns I already had. I only had to buy a few skeins to make the colors work. It is light, soft and warm. It looks like it was made for this room - because it was!

When my husband saw mine he wanted one too but he didn't want one like mine as he thought it was too feminine. I still had a lot of yarn left so I just bought some black yarn and used the black as one of the 2 strands through out the afghan. I had to make his larger so it took a lot longer.

When they are not being used they are displayed in an old copper boiler I found in my basement in Wisconsin. I had intended to have it polished but I haven't found anyone to do it. I tried it myself and gave up quickly.

I have since knit several others for friends and family. I don't have photos of any of them.

His afghan is tonight's puzzle.
Click to Mix and Solve

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Never say never! Say Maybe? Say I'm having fun.

This quilt is a tesselation with various frames added to it. It is done with commercial fabrics in various colorful prints. I did it in Santa Fe and it definitely has a southwest flavor to it.

This is a companion piece I did with the same tesselated shape and many of the same fabrics. They are both very cheerful quilts and would be right at home in our Florida house. They are both fused and machine quilted quilts.

Yesterday I did something I said I would NEVER do! I signed up for Facebook.
As I had heard from others I did reconnect with friends from my past - long past and recent past. It is fun and now I just have to limit myself as to how much I use it.
Hope I'll hear from more of you who are members.

For tonight's puzzle I'm using the first tesselated quilt I showed you tonight.

Click to Mix and Solve

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Guest room - Before and after & See ya later alligator

I am showing you the before photos first. If you walk in the door to the guest room and look to the left this is the first wall you see. You can see the oak chest which was something we purchased on eBay so that we would have furniture in the guest room.

The stain glass windows were in our kitchen up north. When we knocked out the wall there was no place for them there.

Although we only built and decorated this house 5 years ago, the bedroom set in the guest bedroom was something we made do with. I did a Ralph Lauren look when I decorated it. I used Ralph's sheets for the curtains, on the bed, decorative pillows, for the dust ruffle, to back the chenille bedspread I made and also for the shower curtain in the guest bath. I also incorporated a lot of crocheted lace and old family photos.

When this unit showed upon eBay I purchased it with a little encouragement from a family member. I was told it was 5 units each 30 inches wide and 80 inches high.

When it was delivered it was over 20 pieces and they had to be put together to create the units - BUT - the units were each 40 inches wide so the four pieces wouldn't fit on the wall. I deliberated on how to make it work for quite some time. The next step was finding someone to assemble it and adapt the pieces to make it work.

It took several months to find a craftsman who could do this. I then waited several months until he was available. He did a fantastic job putting the pieces together and used some very creative ideas to repurpose parts of the wall unit. You have already seen the fifth unit in the Florida "studio" photos.

If you look closely you will see we have moved the bed to the wall the chest was on. The new decor includes bark cloth drapes and pillows with a more tropical theme. I was able to use the same pillows and just slipcovered them and retained the small pillow. The red lamp had to stay. I was concerned that this might be a lot of furniture for a room this size, but it has made it a very cozy room. You can just see a tiny part of the fifth unit at the right of this photo.

The entire wall of cabinets and display areas has given us a lot of storage in addition to the display area.

See ya later alligator! This was the view from our lanai on a Sunday afternoon. He was at least 12 feet long and within 15 feet of our house. We were out shopping at the time but our neighbor took this photo.
He's going to be the puzzle for you. I'm using the crazy puzzle cut as there were 4 crazy men within a few feet of this guy.

Click to Mix and Solve

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dinner and cards

Tonight we met at my house for dinner and cards. Here are Lynn, Dorothy, Mary, Marion and Pat. I thought I wouldn't be in the photo but the sliding doors not only are reflecting the view to the west but also I'm there! I have known Pat since our first year of high school. We hadn't seen each other in years until we decided to become snowbirds. You've seen Lynn before and we are long time friends. Even though I met Mary only about 4 years ago we have a connection that goes way back. Dorothy and Marion are friends I have only known about 5 years. We are enjoying appetizers and drinks here with a lively conversation.

We each bring part of the meal. Tonight's menu was Pizzaburgers, a wonderful fruit salad, delicious coleslaw, chips and key lime pie. Everyone always out does themselves since they only have to make one thing.

I have to apologize to the handsome men here as I caught them off guard and they are really much better looking that this photo! Ron is standing and then we have Ed, John, Chuck and Pat. Ron was another high school classmate and I've adopted John as my brother in Florida. Chuck is also someone I met here but with that connection that goes way back. Ed and Pat are also new friends I've only known for 5 years. They seem to really be enjoying the food!

The women played a lively game of cards at the dining room table called Shanghai. Pat was the winner. Poor Mary had a really bad night as she never got a good hand but I sent her home with something I had two of when she asked where I got mine. Gives me one more empty drawer and gives Mary a place to store some things in her pantry.

The men adjourned to the lanai for their game of cards. We asked them what they played and got several different answers. I suppose they couldn't see what they were playing since it was dark out there and they didn't turn on any lights.

A great evening with a great group of friends.

This Mariner's compass quilt is something I started a while back. The center is too large and out of proportion so I am waiting until I decide how to resolve this issue to finish it. It is also tonight's puzzle.

Click to Mix and Solve

Short trial post

I hope I can post this before the computer shuts down again. I'm still having troubles.

This is a quilt my friend Suzie brought me as a hostess gift. I LOVE it. It is perfect in my house. I have it one the counter in my great room.

Hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What is a journal quilt? Part 3

My first introduction to journal quilts was a series Nancy Halpern did many years ago. I haven't been able to put my fingers on any on line photos of her project and all my books and magazines are in Wisconsin. I know of several others who did similar projects through the years.

This quilt solved a lot of design and quilting decisions for me when I made a quilt with these fabrics in my June series. It is so much easier to experiment when you are doing a small piece.

One reason there is a difference of opinion between peoples idea of what a journal qult is is because of the extremely popular exhibitions of Journal Quilts at the IQA shows in Houston and Chicago. The shows were a good thing for journal quilts as they have drawn attention to this way of working. There were rules and guidelines to follow when people made journal quilts for the show. There was also a lot of freedom as most anything was allowed for all but the last show. Without those rules and guidelines there would not have been a cohesive show. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Karey Bresenhan who originated the journal quilt exhibitions in Houston.

I recently had the pleasure of seeing all the quilts from the grand finale journal quilt exhibition which was juried. The quilts were fantastic and they made an impressive show.

I hope people realize that people can still make their own journal quilts following their own guidelines even though the IQA Journal project is over. You can make your own rules!

This was another journal quilt that helped me decide how to quilt one of my June series.

One interesting and important question that was asked in the comments on the previous journal blogs was "What do you do with them after you have made a lot of them?"

There are several valid options: Join several together to make a larger work, display them in your home or office, share them in shows, sell them, blog them, make a book with several of them as the pages, use one for the pocket on a tote, make one into a cutch purse, attach to a piece of clothing, give one or a group as a gift, sell them, or _______________________. (You fill in the blank.)

I had intended to offer mine for sale in the gift shop at Quilts: Another Dimension.
I didn't get to Florida to retrieve them before the show so I wasn't able to do that.

As I have written these journal quilts posts and revisited the 9 quilts I am so glad I didn't part with any of them. I really appreciate them so much more as the intimate little works of art they are. When I was making one a month I was mainly concerned with fitting the work in between other things I was doing and what I was experiencing in my life.

You have now seen all of my journal quilts I completed. I intend this to be the final post on the subject, but I'll leave it open if I have more to say. I'd appreciate any other comments you'd like to leave on the topic.

I also would like to encourage any of you who are quilters (or who would like to become a quilter) to try making journal quilts. When you do I'd love it if you will share your experiences and photos with me.

Tonight's puzzle is the same journal quilt you just looked at a moment ago.
Click to Mix and Solve

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What is a journal quilt? Part 2

This is another journal quilt that allowed me to use fabrics I had used in other quilts. I again experimented with different quilting designs. I used some traditional quilt patterns on this contemporary quilt.

On my last post I asked for comments on how you would define a journal quilt.
I hope you will take time to read the comments.
There were so many different thoughts and they were all very valid.

For this journal quilt I used the first fabrics I painted designs on along with other complementary fabric. I really enjoy adding detail to fabric with paint. Why don't I do more of that???? Again I experimented with different ways of quilting on this piece. As I look at my recent work I can see the things I tryed on these journal quilts appearing on so much of my work.

While I don't always know where I am heading when I start something new, I often see the results in future work so that is a benefit of working within the parameters I used for this series of journal quilts.

After you have read the comments from the last post feel free to add more thoughts and ideas of what a journal quilt means to you.

This quilt is also tonights puzzle.
Click to Mix and Solve

Monday, April 13, 2009

What is a journal quilt?

There are many answers to this question.
None are wrong.
All are right.

For me making a journal quilt is a way to make a quilt on a regular basis with certain guidelines. Generally those guidelines include a consistent size. It is a chance for me to experiment.
When I made journal quilts for 9 months I used them as a way to make me do the work. It was also as a way to create something that was related to either something I was doing in my other quilts, classes I attended or taught or to try something new.
This Tutti Fruitti journal quilt used every little scrap of the fabrics I had left from the big quilt. I had to bind it with a fabric not in the quilt.
I used it to test a quilting design I was considering using. I didn't use it but used a similar quillting design on the larger quilt.

The quilting style I created on this shibori quilt shows up on many later shibori quilts. The fringed dot also shows up on other quilts.

This quilt started with the piece of giraffe fabric. My goal was to use good proportion in the piecing of the quilt top and have it come out the size it had to be. I also used this quilt to try out some new quilting designs. These quilting designs have also shown up in later quilts.

Please click on each one of these quilts to see the quilting designs more clearly.

What do YOU use as a definition of a journal quilt? I'd appreciate any of you with thoughts about this to post them in the comment section. By doing that others can also benefit from what you contribute to this discussion.

When I made this journal quilt I started with the piece of black and white shibori fabric. I selected two other fabrics that would be the supporting cast. The quilting echoes the shibori design as it spills over to the other fabrics. To add a little spice to this quilt I reversed the colors on the binding so they would not match the edge of the quilt. This quilt is tonight's puzzle.

Click to Mix and Solve

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tutti Fruitti for Easter

Happy Easter!

I gave you a small version of this quilt before. Barbara asked to see it closer. I'm happy to oblige.

I thought you would like to see the fabrics I dye painted and overpainted with paint to make this quilt. The piece of fabric I painted purple is not visible here.

I'm also including another photo of the vignette with Tutti Fruitti hanging on the wall. It's much better than the previous photo I posted on February 9th.

I think I'm overdue for sharing one of our gorgeous Florida sunsets we see from our lanai and the window in the bedroom each night as they both face west. When choosing art the old saying is "Good Art doesn't have to match the sofa!"
Well, Mother Nature creates the BEST art and it does match the bedroom decor here!

Tutti Fruitti is the puzzle tonight.
Click to Mix and Solve

Saturday, April 11, 2009

If it's Easter there must be snow in Wisconsin!

Actually this photo was taken last year in southern Wisconsin on Easter. The bunny sculpture was created by 4 of my grandchildren while visiting their other grand parents. You can see how high it is by looking at the house in the background. It took a lot of snow and they certainly had a lot. I don't know how long it lasted as they left Wisconsin and flew to Florida to enjoy our warm weather last year. Snow on Easter may be the exception rather than the rule, but it was not the only time this has happened.

Another Easter memory also was the result of inclement weather. We were not able to hide the eggs outside so I took the grandchildren to the Dollar Store to spend some money while the Easter Bunnies quickly hid the eggs. Each child had a different color egg and they each had 4 real and 4 plastic eggs. They found all but one of the eggs. Jessica didn't find her 4th egg. Of course this was one of the real ones! I don't see Nicholas in this picture - he must be looking for the egg. We searched high and low for the egg and never found it. We then and there made a rule that Easter bunnies must write down where they hid each egg - especially the ones for the oldest children since they were hid in very difficult places to find.

On Thanksgiving I offered who over found it $10. I didn't want to have a Chinese thousand year old egg in our house! I'm not sure who found it, but since they had all been looking just as hard they split the money when it was finally found in the shop. It did not smell at all - although if it had we probably would have found it sooner as it was out in the open - just not in a room we used often.

Un Huevo Grande did not start out to be a quilt with an egg but that's what it became. It's tonight's puzzle.
Click to Mix and Solve