Monday, September 29, 2014

A Weekend of Quilting

     This weekend was our monthly quilting weekend, and I'm happy with all that I accomplished. Here's a little piece that just needed to be layered and quilted.  It's now on the top of my quilt rack along with a mini pumpkin quilt and a little toy sewing machine.
     During the summer some friends and I had visited various quilt shops to collect their "Row by Row Experience" patterns. Here's my second completed row; this pattern was from Quilters Common in Wakefield, MA.

     After the row was completed, I was able to work on the blocks for my crazy quilt project. I'm taking a class at a local quilt shop, and the class project is to create a crazy quilt book. I was eager to sign up for this class because I wanted to incorporate some cigarette silks that I had. (Cigarette silks were premiums given in cigarette packages around 1910. The subjects might be flowers, foreign cities, birds, etc. My cigarette silks feature actresses from that era. The silks are old and somewhat fragile, so incorporating them into a book rather than a wallhanging, seemed prudent.) I'm using some of the ideas from the class but putting my own spin on the project.)

I have now pieced twelve crazy quilt background blocks using coordinating pastel batiks. The instructor had suggested that fusible batting be attached to the back of each block so an embroidery hoop would not be necessary. I then used misty fuse to attach a cigarette silk to each block. My next step is to frame and anchor each of the silks with lace, beading, or trim before moving on to the rest of the stitching and embellishing.

I get a kick out of the pose, costume, and facial expression of this actress.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Herring Run Quilt Guild 2014 - 25th Anniversary Show

The Herring Run Quilt Guild had their biennial show this weekend. The quilts on display were all beautiful. Imagine my surprise on Saturday to see this Vendor's Choice ribbon pinned on my "Manarola-Cinque Terre" piece. [The eight vendors at the show had each been given a ribbon to pin on his or her favorite quilt.]

This afternoon there was another wonderful surprise; my "Waiting for Lovers" piece received a Viewers' Choice First Place Ribbon! Wow! Ribbons were given out in different quilt categories.

Both of these quilts were original designs based on photos I had taken on a camera club trip to Italy in 2012.

My friend Edith received a 2nd place ribbon for this colorful masterpiece "Totally Eclipse." Honestly, this was a terrific show. I am lucky to belong to a guild with such creative, talented quilters. 

Here is the third piece that I had in the show. It was a block of the month,  "JOY," and the pattern was from Whirligig Designs.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Visit to the Big E - 2014

     On Thursday, I went with my friend Marilyn to the Big E in Springfield, MA. The Big E is difficult to describe but it truly offers something for everyone. Think of it as a giant agricultural fair - carnival - horse show - circus - eating, shopping, entertainment experience.
    We attended a concert by a group called Odessey, three talented musicians who played thirty instruments throughout their performance. This photo shows a performance by another group later in the afternoon.

     I have never gone to the circus at the big E before, but it was very good. The show lasted about an hour and there were a number of very fine acts. The last act was truly spectacular. A motorcyclist sped around a circular track suspended at the top of the tent while his partner hung from a spinning cantilever.  The woman sitting beside me kept her eyes covered throughout this entire thrilling act.

Tip: If you ever decide to go,  enter the circus tent forty-five minutes ahead of time to get a comfortable  seat in a chair with a back instead of a backless bench. After hours of walking around, it's good to take a rest!
     We strolled through the animal barns where we spotted this exhausted mother.

You can buy food everywhere.

There are also restaurants or you can purchase food in each of the five New England state buildings. For example, when you visited the Maine building, you might decide to have a loaded baked potato or a lobster roll or a slice of blueberry pie with ice cream. :-)
      Did I mention that there is also a short parade every afternoon at 5:00? 

With high school marching bands . . . 

Celebrities  . . . yes . . .  Sparky the Fire Dog and Smokey the Bear!!!

Not one but two hitches pulled by Clydesdales . . . the Hallamore hitch AND the Budweiser hitch!!!

You can even see the magnificent Hallamore Clydesdales up close in one of the agricultural buildings.

Tip 2: Whenever you need a break, head to the building where they have the equestrian events.

There is always something going on, and it's wonderful to watch. I could sit there for hours.

Okay, now, for those of you who have been to the Big E before, I know you are waiting with bated breath to learn what this year's 600 pound butter sculpture will be. Here it is under construction . . . a cow being tended to by a little boy and girl.

Though we were there close to eight hours, we didn't get to see everything. We had a fun time as did  I'm sure, the other 63,000 + people who were in attendance on Thursday. The amazing thing is that the area is so vast that it didn't seem even the slightest bit crowded. The weather was perfect and it would have been a totally perfect day if the traffic hadn't been so horrendous both going and returning. 

Photo note: All of these photos were taken with a Nikon DX 35mm 1.8 lens which I purchased this summer from a fellow South Shore Camera Club member. The lens is very light, and I was quite pleased with it. I was amazed that the photos of the motorcycle act came out so well. Click on any of the images to make them larger. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hanging on to Summer

     There has been a decided nip in the air for the last few days, and while I love the colors and feel of autumn, I'm hanging on to summer as long as possible. I whipped this piece up two weeks ago. The pattern is "At the Beach" from Patch Abilities, Inc. I had purchased the pattern and the flip flop hanger while we were visiting shops for the Row by Row Experience. The piece is 12"x14" and I placed a flip flop button next to the chair.
      Don't forget: The Herring Run Quilt Show is this weekend. You can find the details in the previous post.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Hint of Fall

After parking my car to attend a quilt guild meeting yesterday morning, I grabbed my iPhone to quickly capture this hint of the season to come.

Here's one final image using the Moku Hanga app on my iPad.  Besides selecting different borders and intensifying colors, you are able to change the width of the subject's edges.  You may also select from different "styles" to change your original image as I did with this yellow daylily photo. 

I had intended to spend today quilting, but it was just too lovely to be indoors. Speaking of quilting, be sure to mark your calendars for the Herring Run Quilters' Guild, Inc. 2014 Quilt Show: "With These Hands: Celebrating Silver." The show will take place September 20th from 10 AM - 5PM and September 21st from 10 AM - 3 PM at the Norwell Middle School, Rt. 123, Norwell, MA. There will be 150 beautiful quilts on display to delight the eye. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

More Moku Hanga Altered Images

    Here are a few more images using the Moku Hanga app. Below is the original which I posted earlier in the spring.

    It's fun to see how the images can be altered. Some work much better than others. Building with defined edges work very well, not all flowers images turned out well.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Moku Hanga App for iPad

     Today I came across a really fun app for iPhones and iPads called Moku Hanga. It replicate the Japanese method of wood-block printing and it is super, super simple. You select a photo from your files, and the app automatically creates the look of a wood-block print. Totally awesome!
     I liked the scene below, but I'll confess that the original image was less than sharp;  that didn't matter when it was transformed with this app.

These photos are all from my last trip to Italy, and I believe they were all were taken in Rome.

There are sliders to make different adjustments in color, saturation, etc., and you may also select different borders. I love the way these photos turned out!

Warning: This app is highly addictive and you can spend lots of time auditioning various photos, but don't let that stop you as this is a really fun, easy app to use. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Buzz in My Garden this Week


Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!! Here's another subject I enjoy photographing. When it comes to my gardens, I confess, I throw in the towel as August rolls around. One of the few bright spots are all the sedum plants now blooming around the edges of my garden and the bees love them, too.

 I also managed a quick shot of this elusive hummer.