Monday, February 29, 2016

The 8th Anniversary Of My 25,000 Day Old Birthday Party

This had to be one of the best parties I’ve ever hosted!
I took NO pictures….I just wanted to enjoy the party and the memories are still fresh in my mind after 8 years.
The photo you see share a few souvenirs from the party.
How lucky am I to have my 25,000 day old birthday fall on Leap Day and on top of that it was a Friday, the day everyone is in a party mood!
My intent was to make all the food…heavy appetizers and desserts. As I mentioned the party to my friends many of them volunteered to bring something and I did little food preparation.
The food was awesome and plentiful. By the end of the evening almost all the food was gone.

M & M’s
My guest list included neighbors, quilting friends, my Village People friends, my card club, my Wisconsin friends now living in the area, and just plain friends.
I made the rules and they were observed since no one had ever been to a 25,000 day old party before.
This was the invitation:

Kay Sorensen’s 25,000 Day Old Party
Yes, that’s 25 THOUSAND
February 29, 2008 XXXXXX That’s my house!
5 pm. Til ????????????
Heavy appetizers,  dessert and beverages
What to wear? Florida Friday night “going out” clothes!!
In case you have never been to a 25,000 day old party I’m including the Etiquette Rules for a 25,000 day old party
Etiquette Rules for a 25,000 Day Old Party
1. You may NOT bring a present
2. No cards unless you can find a card for a 25,000 day birthday celebration
3. It is NOT proper to bring a present
4. If you have adult houseguests they are most welcome
5. PLEASE do not bring a present
6. It’s all about FUN and enjoying the party!
7. Do not bring a present does NOT mean bring a present.
In case you are one of the people I told I won’t really be 25,000 days old until March 1st, I WAS WRONG. I recalculated and the proper date is February 29th. I forgot February had 29 days this year. Oh, well, what can you expect from someone who is almost 25,000 days old!
Driving and parking Please come in your golf cart if possible. (If you live in The Villages or Ocala do NOT come in your golf cart!)  If you’re driving and can double up it will help the parking situation. And if you live in the neighborhood you can walk!
As guests arrived they were greeted with a hug and a flamingo necklace which set the theme for the party….FLAMINGOES!
I made up a questionnaire and the reward for getting the answers was a flashing flamingo pin! Almost no one completed the questionnaire but it was the best thing I’ve ever done to get people mixing. With friends from such a variety of groups so often people tend to stay in their own little group….not at this party….everyone mixed and met new friends. I did come up with ways to give out almost 50 flashing flamingo pins!
And how many friends attended….64! It had been a cold season and I was thrilled when we had the warmest day and the best weather of any day that month. We were able to have the doors to lanai wide open and people moved back and forth between the great room and the lanai.
If  you are approaching 25,000 days old or any other interesting number I hope you too will have a special unexpected party.
Remember, you are only 25,000 days old ONCE!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

WIP–Decisions To Make

This is another one of my long term projects started almost 10 years ago.
I did some sunprinting on the border fabric which started as a fat quarter.
Next it told me to cut it into 4 pieces to be a border….but it didn’t tell me what should be in the center. I played with a lot of different fabric and settled on this rust salt painted fabric.
I still had no direction so again played with many fabrics and decided to do one of my negative/positive cuts for the center. I wasn’t sure how to cut it, but ended up looking at an old sketch book and I had sketched something like this…probably over 10 years ago.
I was pleased with the finished composition but I still have decisions to make. While I am making these decisions I like to hang the work on a wall where I can see it as I go about my day doings other things. Decision 1: Do I make it bigger? Decision 2: Do I add some freeform curved piecing? Decision 3: Do I leave it this size?   I settled on decision 3.
But wait, I still have to come up with a quilting/stitching plan to finish this. I have several ideas and I could make the decision today or it could take more time.
Stay tuned!

Friday, February 26, 2016

My Oldest And Youngest Granddogs

This is Riley. He is my oldest granddog. I don’t know exactly how old he is. He is the first Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in the family. He actually escaped from their yard and crossed a busy 4 lane highway to come visit me when he was younger.
This is Oliver. He is my youngest granddog and is just a little over one year old. He is a Cocker Spaniel. He knows how cute he is!
If you follow my blog you have seen all 4 of my granddogs recently.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

I Can’t Believe I Quilted The Whole Thing!

Yesterday I decided to work on quilting this. I actually was able to complete the quilting.
I tried something new when quilting this….not with the idea of making the quilting better… but with the idea of balancing my body better as I quilted. I unplugged the foot pedal and used the on/off button on the machine itself. I did practice a little before I started. I have to say it was a lot easier than I expected. I did need to anticipate my stops so I could have one hand on the quilt and the other ready to press the button. I would not do this for something where I needed to be 100% accurate, but it worked great for the quilting. I did set the machine at 1/2 speed.
You may be able to get a closer look at the quilt on your computer by clicking on the photo.
I’m hoping to get this finished soon..but I have a few decisions to make first.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Love Doing Free Motion Quilting!

I am on the home stretch with this quilt. I really enjoy doing free motion quilting. I never use a pattern and just let the stitches flow as I work. Most of the time I have no idea what I will do until the needle takes the first stitch. That is when the electric needle and I become one to create a design that complements the quilt.
I am using a little different method that I’ve ever done before with my machine. I unplugged the foot control and I am using the button on the front of my machine that lets me start and stop the stitching by pressing it. It allows me to sit evenly at the machine, rather than leaning to one side while using the foot control. I do need to anticipate where I will stop so I can get one hand off the quilt and ready to press the button. So far, so good.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Strange Things Are Happening!

This looks like hand stitching.
Kay couldn’t have done this could she?
What is happening to her?

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Finish Is Always A Fantastic Feeling!

imageI’m thrilled to have finished another quilt.Other than creating a work of art, finished has to be my favorite part. Everything I have worked towards is now in place and I am always so satisfied.
To me the back of the quilt is as important as the front. I pick something that will not show less than perfect quilting….as I work toward my goal of imperfection in my art and life!!!
Usually the back, facings and casing would all be the same fabric. Since the fabrics on the edges of this quilt are dark I decided to make the facings and casings dark as they often can be seen when looking at the quilt from the sides. I’m glad I made that choice.
I already have 2 or 3 (or 4)  other pieces in various stages of completion and I am anxious for those to reach the finish line.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Boy And His Dogs

This picture was taken of Cooper with Murphy and Marley when they were about 6 months old. They are now grown up and each have their own personality.
They were born in Florida and made the trip to Wisconsin to their new home by air, changing planes in Atlanta. They made it just before a big storm hit in Wisconsin.
Had I not reconnected with my Ohio BFF that winter after losing each other 40 years before this story would never have happened. Sally raised Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and when I mentioned it to Jeff and Heather they had been wanting another one to add to their “dog family” which already included Riley a Cavalier.
A grown up Murphy at 2015 Christmas time.

Marley gets to go to Doggie Day Care two days a week and it’s always fun to see what he is up to on the web cam!
Although my life doesn’t lend it self to having a pet, I can now enjoy my granddogs.
These are just two of my 4 granddogs.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Sneak Peak At A New Beginning

I wanted to share a peak at a small section of the new quilt I started working on.
It already has become something different than what I had thought it would be……..more to come….in time!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Quilt That Set House Color Scheme

I made this quilt at least 23 years ago. It is a nap or blankie size and I have it hanging over a chair in the master bedroom.
It is a unique coloration for a double wedding ring quilt. The love of the colors is what kept me interested long enough to finish it. It is hand quilted. 
We built an addition to our home and it was finished in 1993. This quilt was made before the addition was even started.
Some people may think I work backward! I had a color scheme for the addition before we even had plans completed. We used these colors in the addition and they also slowly crept into the rest of the house.
Nothing is static with my decorating but all the changes I have made have kept the color scheme throughout the main floor. I may have tweaked the colors in some of the accessories to keep things from becoming boring. I have added some pieces of vintage Scandinavian furniture I purchased on eBay but they are neutral teak.
I have added a very few new accessories. Most of them that I have received as gifts or purchased when travelling. I like a new look so I am continually moving accessories and sometimes furniture around the house. I know I have hit on the perfect surroundings as I never tire of the decor. Not only that, it is a lot less expensive that following the latest decorating trends.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

My New Friend Gail

Quilters have a way of finding each other. Gail and I have been “talking” on line for some time. Today we met in person.
She came over and brought quite a few of her pieces for me to see. She considers herself a “beginning” art quilter. I saw someone who has a lot of talent and is doing some very creative things. She works with various mediums in her work and has the eye and soul of an artist. Her workmanship is also excellent. I will be following her as she continues her journey.
After she shared her work I shared the few pieces I have here and some of the fabrics I’m creating.
We had a late lunch at Toppers Tavern and the food was great. We never ran out of things to talk about. I'm looking forward to seeing her again.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

We Interrupt This Quilt’s Story To Bring You Glorious Quilting

This is some of the most gorgeous machine quilting I have ever seen. It is free motion quilted on a domestic machine. This is the front of the bag. I did not make this.
This is the back of the bag, every bit as beautiful as the front. This arrived in my mail today from an artist in South Africa I commissioned to make this for me. I could not be happier than I am with it. The bag is made from denim. I am guessing from jeans that are still in great shape from the look of the pockets. It has a zipper closing at the top, faux leather handles and a pocket inside. The size will be perfect as I can put a lot in it but it won’t be heavy.
This is her website: She also has a Facebook group: LADY JANE QUILTING SHOP

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Quilting Makes The Quilt

The design of a quilt is important in  successful composition.
That can be enhanced by proper quilting. It is not always evident right away what will be best for a particular quilt.
There are no hard and fast rules. A lot of this can come from experience.
The quilting should not overwhelm the quilt design itself. There currently is a tendency to “quilt the bejebbers” out of a quilt. There are quilts that can be improved with that approach. Generally they are simple quilts with solid or traditional fabrics.
Bejeebers quilting would have destroyed what had been created with the detailed fabrics and design of the piecing in this quilt.
I personally believe that Bejebbers quilting started when we started machine quilting our quilts. It was furthered with the use of mid and long arm machines. There is nothing wrong with either machine quilting or quilts being quilted on a mid or long arm machine.
If used appropriately they can make it possible to quilt a quilt much faster than we could when we hand quilted all our work. I find that machine quilting is VERY appropriate for quilts with a graphic design that would be destroyed with the soft effect hand quilting would create.
Think about this next time you are thinking about quilting your next quilt.

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Quilt That Grew Up

I finished piecing this from the simple piece I shared on my previous post. It looks amazing hanging on a wall. This is one where the picture definitely doesn’t do it justice.
It is almost finished and I LOVE it.
 quilt with salmon painted start
This is what I started with. It took less than a day with this hanging on the wall to realize it needed more so I took it up a few notches.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Selecting Possible Fabrics To Add To A Quilt

When I am starting a project or adding to an already started project I get out a grouping of fabrics that relate to what I have in mind or what I have started.
quilt with salmon painted start
This is the group I selected to hopefully finish this quilt I showed you recently. I have used some of these fabrics in previous compositions so there may be just a little of some of the fabrics. Being limited this way can be a good thing as it makes me use my critical thinking to solve these opportunities…something some of you might consider problems.
All of the fabrics I chose have either been hand painted or hand dyed by me, Some have layers of pattern, both painted and/or dyed. The group also includes some fabrics I consider failures or ugly fabrics. Almost any fabric is a success as it can be cut up and when seen in a smaller strip or section can be very useful.
As I work on a project like this they no long are all neat and organized like this. You might even call it a “mess”! Having them in this mess style lets me see the possible combinations and when I open a piece of fabric I see things I may not have seen when it was folded neatly.
This is one way I work. I know some of you want the answers before you cut your fabrics. If I knew what it was going to look like before I started to me there would be no reason to make it as it had already been done! I also never worry about wasting a piece of fabric as if it doesn’t work in this composition it might be the perfect piece for the next one.
I hope this will not only give you an insight into how I work, but possibly rethink your ideas on how you work.

I’m Sending You Special Valentines!

aletine postcard key to my heart
This vintage Valentine is from my collection of postcards. It was sent to my father in law by his older cousins when he was a child. It is my favorite valentine postcard.
I made this miniature heart quilt close to 30 years ago. It is called Milwaukee Hearts!  I worked on it as I waited for my son to arrive at the MKE airport. I was so intent on my stitching I totally missed him as he walked by!
I did needle turn applique and it is hand quilted. It is smaller than a sheet of copy paper. My way of working has changed since I started quilting so many years ago.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Waiting For Inspiration On A Quilting Design.

I had painted this fabric some time ago and until now had no idea how to use it. I put together this small quilt and hung it on the wall. I was pleased with it but puzzled as to how to quilt it.
Spent the day looking at it and hoping for inspiration. Inspiration came….although it was not about quilting. It told me this was only the beginning of a larger quilt. How large will it be? It hasn’t told me yet. I have one piece ready to add as of now.
I have a big pile of possible fabrics to use to finish this one.
I am excited to see where it goes.

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Studio Is Never Finished–Part 3

Finding studio space for me can expand into any and every part of the house.
In this picture you see some fabrics I have recently dyed or painted as well as some from previous times.
When I play with fabrics like this I often find combinations of fabrics I would have never thought of putting together like these. They do have similar colors.]
Here is a very assorted group of fabrics that I am considering using, not necessarily all together.
Fabric is the thing that has been the starting point for me in my journey. I loved fabric as a child and have used it every since in one way or another. It fills my studio and inspires me to keep on creating and drawing my inspiration from it.
YES, it all starts with fabric, my own, commercial fabrics or some created by others.
And that my friends is WHY I need studio space!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Studio Is Never Finished Part 2

image As an artist it is important I have the supplies I need to work with available.   image Those supplies include fabric, dye, paint, thread, and many other items. image I can not waste time shopping for just the right fabric, etc when that fabric may not even be available this year.
I have used my space here creatively to store what I have and need to do my work.
The furniture I use is older repurposed pieces we have had for years.
Stay tuned, there is more to come. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Studio Is Never Finished Part 1

Wherever I consider my studio it is in a constant state of change.
It expands, changes, takes up any space available.
As I spent time this week doing sunprinting I put this table in the garage next to the car. It meant I had to learn to park the car a little more to the right or I couldn’t get in or out of the car!
I hung fabrics ready to sunpaint in the laundry room. The door on the left leads directly to the garage where I paint.
When it was time for the sun to do it’s work pieces got moved outside onto the grass.
A professional organizer would be appalled if they were to see my space and how I choose to use it!
But it is a place for me to work, create and come up with ideas.
In addition to being a place to work it also needs to be a place to store supplies.
It needs to fulfill all these needs and more.
I do store things in an organized manner…..even though some of the organization is in plain view which might bother some people. I don’t consider this a mess.
Having things in plain view helps me to focus on what I will do next…….which is a plan that often changes as priorities change.
Even with various non art related things happeing this week I can say I was able to accomplish quite a bit in this “studio space”.
Stay tuned as there will me more pictures and thoughts to follow.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Fire Is Lit!

I completed the quilting on Ice On Fire today. I used flames as my quilting design.
The thread is a red metallic which made photography difficult.
It is the kind of piece that draws you in for a closer look.
I am hoping you can enlarge this on your computer to see the quilting.
I lightened this photo so you can see the quilting better.
The only thing that remains is to add the facings and the casings and I’ll have another finish. That doesn’t always happen quickly!

Monday, February 8, 2016

And So It Begins…..Quilting Ice On Fire

I have started free motion quilting Ice On Fire.
The line you see is marked with soap and is the only marking I will do on this. It is just to get me working in the right direction. It will either wear off or I can take a wet terry rag and wipe it off.
The thread is a light weight metallic so it shows up a little different than it really is. It reflects light so it photographs differently than a flat surface.
So far this is working exactly as I hoped it would. I hope to finish the quilting today. I do find free motion quilting without marking goes a lot faster than following marked lines and also lets me put my signature style on my work – graceful and sensitive to the work.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Today’s Nice Ice

I am loving this group of ice dyed fabrics.
There are so many interesting areas and textures in them!
What will I do, what will I do with them?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Decorating With Quilts

My grandson and granddaughter-in-law live in a really neat beautiful older apartment in Minnesota.
The just sent me photos of the quilts they own hanging in their space.
This was the quilt they chose this year at Christmas.
This quilt was made especially for them as a shower gift. It features Blakes favorite color, purple and Stephanies favorite color, kelly green.
This was the quilt they chose for Christmas 2014.
It was exciting for me to see how they had used the quilts to add color and interest to their apartment.
Although the pictures are not as bright and clear as some I use, they do allow you to see where and how they have decorated with them.
They sure have excellent taste both in the quilts they chose and how they have featured them.
Great job, Stephanie and Blake!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Ice On Fire

Ice on fire
My most recent ice dyeing project yielded these fire colors.
Each piece has a different texture.
As I am typing this there were 2 different fire pictures on the TV and these are spot on!
My mind is racing trying to decide how I will use them.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

New Sunprint Piece

This is another piece that I started years ago. My goal when I did this layer was to continue with the circle theme.
This is what it looked like before I did the sunprint on it. I had already done 3 layers of printing with thickened dye.
I am not sure if it is done yet.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sun Printing Successes

first 6 silk sun prints
I was able to create some more sunprinted fabrics today.
Each piece will have a subtle texture on it.
I hope eventually I will be able to combine them all into a successful composition.
Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

More Sunpainting

I had no plan as I started painting. I decided to work from the bottles of colors that had been opened and I had duct taped the caps to keep them from evaporating.
I was pleasantly surprised the tape did it’s job and the paint was just fine.
These are the other pieces I painted.
The piece underneath the others is a loosely woven scarf that I used the two colors on.
The top pieces are silk shantung. I paint each one color and added masks on top to add texture. I am not sure if these will remain as they are or if I will add another layer or two?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Circles–Third Layer

I did some sun painting today with Setacolor paints.
Of the 5 or 6 pieces I did this was the best one.
circles 3 layers
This piece was started quite a few years ago. Before I started it today it had two layers of pattern made with thickened dye. Each layer had a circle theme so I wanted to continue that.
I found some circular plastic pieces to use and they were the perfect thing to add layer number 3. I now consider it finished.