Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Workshop with Betty Busby

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I attended an amazing workshop with fiber artist Betty Busby offered by the Quilters Connection Guild . This gifted artist from Albuqueque, NM, presented a full, rich workshop that allowed participants to explore painting both non-woven and traditional fabrics. She would explain and illustrate a particular technique and then we were given time to try it. Here are some of my pieces.

These leaves have streaks of gold Lumiere paint which makes them appear to glow in real life. 

We were shown a short slide show of her work each afternoon, and she discussed how each piece was created.  Her work is wonderful and may be viewed here on her online gallery. 

If a workshop with Betty Busby is offered in your area, I would encourage you to attend. You will have a wonderful time and come away with enough ideas to explore to keep you busy for a very long time. :-)

Betty Busby will be the featured speaker at the next meeting of the Quilters Connection guild on Monday, October 16th at 7:00 at the Bentley University Executive Dining Room, LaCava Center,  175 Forest Street, Waltham. There is a $10.00 fee for guests.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Apple Picking Time

It's apple picking time! On Wednesday, which was an early release day for my little cousins, I went with my cousin Kristin and her two girls, her friend and her two girls, and her friend's mom to  Honey Pot Hill Farm in Stow, MA. It was a gorgeous afternoon and a good time was had by all.

Yesterday at our Herring Run Quilt Guild meeting my friend Edith showed this adorable quilt, and I asked if I could share it with you. The pattern, "Grow Up Tall Giraffe," is available from its designer at Bean Counter Quilts where you will find many other cute patterns. I might be sticking my long neck out, but I'm betting the new parents will be beyond thrilled.

Autumn color is quite sparse here south of Boston. We need a few cold nights to start the change. These photos are from my garden.

This past week I've been new car shopping and have test driven many possibilities. Since I only buy a car about every ten years, I study up, watch all of the youtube reviews, and read everything I can on each model. Car buying can be stressful, so I like to be as prepared as I possibly can be. I am pretty sure now what will be my next car. Also, this week I am excited to be attending a two-day fiber arts workshop taught by Betty Busby from New Mexico. The workshop is through the Quilters Connection guild in Waltham of which I am a member. Yes, I am a member of three guilds; Crosstown Quilters being the third. If interested, I believe each of these guilds has a few spots open for new members.

It has been a week since we learned of the unspeakable mass shooting in Las Vegas with so many lives lost and so many lives changed forever. It's difficult to stay positive when we are continually bombarded by news that makes us sad, angry, and disheartened.

I wish us all a week without stress and days filled with simple pleasures.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

I Love My Retirement!

Don't get me wrong; I totally loved my job as an eighth grade English/Language Arts teacher, but this retirement gig is tons of fun! Since this blog acts as my journal, let me tell you about my week.  On Monday, I had lunch with a group of friends at the Common Market in Quincy. The conversation is always lively when this group of former teachers gets together. On Tuesday, there was a meeting of the Crosstown Quilters. On Wednesday, I had a flute lesson and dinner with my quilting buddies. On Thursday, I headed north with three friends to pick up our quilts at Dancing Crane Quilting in Contoocook, NH.  Contoocook is close to Henniker, so of course, we visited one of our favorite quilt shops, Quilted Threads, where I picked up a pattern and some wool for an upcoming project. 

This is a Stoughton quilting weekend, and I spent my time prepping a Halloween fused applique wall hanging with, I swear, a zillion pieces. Some ladies laughed when I said that I hoped to get it done in time for Halloween. They wondered which year I intended that to be. On Friday, my friend Laurel and I had gone to Lincoln, RI to Ryco Creative Sewing Center where there was a fabulous selection of fabric, and I found among other things just the perfect candy corn fabric to back my Halloween quilt. My credit card was smoking by the time that I left :-) We also enjoyed a yummy lunch at a new restaurant for us in nearby Cumberland, RI. When you visit Rycos be sure to stop for a bite to eat at Davenports.

This brings me to today. I attended early Mass, but returned after the 12:00 Mass for a blessing of the animals. Emma, wearing her game-day shirt, happily greeted all the other dogs and their owners.

She was curious about what was happening, but here's the amazing thing . . . she didn't bark even once; if you know mini schnauzers, you realize just how amazing that was! She seemed to enjoy the whole brief ceremony even when she was sprinkled with the holy water. :-)

 Then it was time to settle in and watch the game.

Emma's attention quickly waned and a nap was soon underway.

As soon as the game is over, I'm heading over to Stoughton where our group quilts to use the large tables to layer my Halloween quilt.

It was quite a week; I wonder what's on my schedule for this week? I hope the week ahead is full of happy moments for you.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Thread Painting a Flower Applique

I can't believe it has been two weeks since my last post. Why? Beats me! Anyway, I have been working on some quilting projects. I thought it might be a good idea to finish the Halloween quilt that I started last fall. I'm adding a piano keys border, and hopefully will post a photo of the finished quilt soon.

Last Sunday while watching the Pats, I finished this small piece of wool stitchery. It was a kit from Buttermilk Basin.

I've also been spending some time doing surface design on fabric. This was a piece that I painted for a class that I took on Friday. 

The quilting group that meets monthly in Stoughton had Mary Cannazzaro of Cannazzaro Creations in Rockland come to teach a flower (non-raw edge) applique class which was great fun. There were about twenty of us in the class. Mary was an excellent, organized teacher. We started by first learning her (not raw edge) applique technique. After lunch, we tackled thread painting on the flowers which we had prepared in the morning. I had never tried my hand at thread painting, but let me tell you . . . it's FUN! Mary also shared tips on creating the background sandwich upon which the flower would be appliqued. (You do most of the thread painting on the flower first on a piece of stabilizer and then later attach it to the quilt sandwich with more thread painting. By the time I left on Friday, I had quite a bit of the thread painting done, and I was determined to keep working on it which I did on Saturday.

Yesterday after church I quilted the sandwich of backing fabric, wool felt, batting, and the top fabric. Mary had suggested some lovely quilt designs, but I chose instead to do a simple crosshatch pattern.

I'm afraid that the thread painting may not show up too well but believe me there is an awful lot of stitching on this piece. :-)

Next, it was time to deal with the binding. I decided against facing it as all of my walls are light in color and this piece wouldn't stand out. So, I tried using some of the various shades in the background fabric, then I tried the brown as used in the center. I tried auditioning other colors, but finally decided to use the same fabric as I had used for the leaves.  ( I finished sewing the binding during yesterday's New England Patriots game. Again, never count Tom Brady out. He pulled out a win in the final minute of the game . . . Amazing!!!)

If your guild is looking for a trunk show or a workshop, you should contact Mary at Cannazaro Creations.  You might also contact them to see if this class is going to be offered at their shop as I know you would enjoy it.

I can see where thread painting could become addictive. I'm thinking that I'm might even attempt a thread painted portrait of Miss Emma. After all, her eyebrows and beard would be perfect for thread painting!!!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Autumn Door Wreath

Yesterday I saw a photo of an autumn wreath which caught my eye on the blog, adirondack girl @ heart. Diana's blog which is primarily about her passion for antique and vintage things is always fun and interesting to read.  Yesterday her post was "12 Quick & Easy Fabulous DIY Projects.  "

I had made an autumn door decoration last year, but it didn't have quite the impact that I wanted. It's now hanging on a white closet door where it looks great. Today after our Herring Run Quilt Guild meeting, I stopped at Michael's to pick up what I needed for this project. Since I already had a grapevine wreath,  I only needed to purchase the flowers and the burlap bow.  I used pliers to snip off the stems leaving about an inch and a half, and then with trusty glue gun in hand attached the flowers around the wreath. The project took all of about ten minutes. . . okay . . .  maybe twelve. :-)

By the way, today's guild speaker was art quilter, Pat Pauly. Her presentation was delightful which made me regret not having signed up for yesterday's workshop.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Cock a Doodle Doo and a Candle Mat, Too!

I finished up two projects this past weekend.  The wool candle mat has a light seafoam green center. which may appear a bit darker than it actually is. The two inch border squares are fastened together with a blanket stitch. Blanket stitch was also used on the outer edge of the larger circles and the outer edge of the piece. The inner circles, each about the size of a dime, were so small that I simply used a stab stitch for them.

I had originally purchased this colorful rooster fabric for another project that never got started, so I decided to whip up these placemats instead. I used Thangles to make the red and gold half square triangles for the accent strip.

While I was sewing down the binding, I watched The Ghost and Mrs; Muir on our local PBS station. The movie featured the lovely actress Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison. Though released in 1947, seventy years latter this black and white film holds up well. I urge you to rent it on Netflix if it is available as the movie is an absolute delight.

Interesting side note . . . Do you remember watching the Hope Lange TV version when you were young? Well, in the process of checking on the date of the original movie, I saw that there are a number of episodes of the TV version available on YouTube. I enjoyed that show,  so I may have to check them out.

It's hard to believe that Labor Day has come and gone. The summer flew by as it always does. I had a few friends for a 'cook-in, eat-in' yesterday, and we all agreed that my sunporch was the perfect place to spend a lazy, comfortable afternoon.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Weymouth's New Osprey Overlook Park

A friend and I went to lunch today at the Strawberry Fair, a family owned restaurant that has been in business for over forty years in Norwell,  MA.  This colorful display greets you at the entrance and as the name suggests each of the rooms is decorated with "strawberry" items. As it says on their website, they serve simple "old fashion goodness."

After lunch, we went to check out town's new "Osprey Overlook Park." Wow!!! 

What a tranquil, beautiful spot it is. It's located in East Weymouth at the end of Wharf Street. We were there about 3:00 and there was a hawk circling overhead, a Great Blue Heron on the opposite shore, and an osprey fishing for his dinner. I only had my iPhone with me, but you can be sure I will return with my camera and long lens soon.

A couple of other notes about this little gem. This park was built on our capped municipal landfill and there are hopes that the nearby incinerator will eventually be taken down. (It hasn't been used for forty years.) The walking paths at the overlook are flat and level. One path leads to the gravel trails of Great Esker Park. Because of ongoing foot issues, the longer trail is out for me, but the shorter, paved one is doable for anyone and leads to a bit higher ground where there is a bench with this magnificent view. I can envision bringing a chair, a bottle of water, and a good book and then wiling away an hour or two reading in this spot.
Osprey Overlook Park is part of the town's Back River Trail Master Plan, a proposed trail system running the length of the Back River and Herring Brook to Whitman's Pond. Kudos to all involved in this ambitious, amazing undertaking. 

Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend.