Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend

    I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend: I know I sure did. On Thursday I went to one cousin's home for a delicious dinner and a very relaxing, fun afternoon. All of my seven littlest cousins were there with their parents. 
    Friday morning I headed to Stoughton for our monthly quilting weekend. I left early in the afternoon, stopped home to let Emma out to play, fed her and then headed to Beverly for another cousin's annual Beverly Tree Lighting pre-party. Armed with cups of hot chocolate guests headed to the Common. The crowd was entertained by a choral group from Beverly High. Soon, a police car's flashing blue lights signaled the arrival of Santa Claus. It's amazing how this very, very busy man manages to fit the tree lighting ceremony into his busy schedule each year! 
     Saturday and Sunday after church I went to Stoughton where I spent the time working on my actress   cigarette silks  - crazy quilting blocks. Tomorrow I will post some completed pages. 

     Finally, last week I was at the pet store to purchase food for Emma. I happened to stroll by the apparel section, and this little pink jacket caught my eye. Really, you have to admit it's perfect for Emma. It has an attached little black knitted hood. It would have taken a stronger woman than I am to pass it up since it was on sale!!! This photo was taken Wednesday morning; here's the next day, Thanksgivng Day after we received a few inches of snow. Emma is wearing her warmer little blur parka.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Leonora Harris and Nora Bayes

 I have been working on making a crazy quilt book. Each page will feature a cigarette silk with an actress from the turn of the last century.  This is Leonora Harris (1882-1953) who starred in seven silent films and appeared on Broadway from 1900-1947

Another completed page shows Nora Bayes (1880-1928).

Nora Bayes was a comedian, singer, actress, and women's rights advocate. There was quite a bit of information about her on the internet.  She was a very popular vaudeville star unafraid to go up against impresario Florenz Ziegfeld. Another interesting tidbit was that she was married five times!  To read more about this interesting lady, visit Nora Bayes - Jewish Women's Archive. For fun, thanks to YouTube you can listen to her perform two WW1 era pieces: "How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm" and George M. Cohan's Over There

The purple strip joins the two sides. Eventually this piece will be folded in half and the edges whipped stitched to create one double-sided page.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Final Reflections on Houston Quilt Festival 2014

     Final reflections . . . one more look at just how large the George Brown Arena is. Across the street there is a little park with a small lake.

I can see either of these as a subject of an art quilt.

Here's the view from one of the arena's outdoor balconies. 

Another new hotel is going up.

I thought this interesting building had the look of a modern quilt.

On Thursday night we went with two ladies I had met on a quilt retreat in Tuscany in 2010 and their friends to have dinner at a restaurant at the Aquarium. It was truly beyond awesome. We had an early reservation, so we were lucky to be seated only a few feet from the giant central tank.

When I returned home, I told Valerie all about it. She appeared to be listening intently especially when I told her how big the enormous tank was.

We flew home on Saturday. Don't you just love having a window seat!

I urge any quilters reading this to definitely go to Houston some time  for the International Quilt Festival.
     Note to self for future reference: next time plan to arrive on Wednesday for the preview evening and leave on Sunday.  Also, consider taking one of the all-day trips.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Some Interesting Quilts from Houston

     All of the quilts at the Houston International Quilt Festival were outstanding. I took photos of many quilts that caught my eye, and here are just a few. The above button creation, "Red Sunflower," by Susan Bianchi was a delight to the eye!

     Not only am I drawn to buttons, but I've also been bitten by the crazy quilt bug. Look at these impressive pieces.

If you love crazy quilting, check out Geraldine's blog Older Rose

Betty Pillsbury has a website . . . Betty Pillsbury - Crazy Quilts & Embroidery

Here are three more wonderful pieces.

To see more of her work, visit her website Eileen Williams - Fiber Art from the Crystal Cove of North Carolina.

Virginia Greaves quilt was based on "Migrant Mother", an evocative black and white photo taken by Dorothea Lange from her work documenting the living conditions of farm workers and their families during the Great Depression for the U.S. Farm Security Administration.

Look at this lovely quilt by Nancy Ryan and see more of her work on her website Nancy Ryan Quilts.

Finally, what with going to the quilt festival and finishing the Halloween quilt for my now six year old cousin, I haven't spent much time practicing my flute. My next lesson is on Wednesday, so I'm trying to practice twice a day to make up for my laziness. Here's Emma casting a critical eye as I practiced this morning after church. I know I have posted a similar photo before, but it just cracks me up whenever I look down and see her. She is either enjoying the music or wondering just how much longer she will have to wait before we go for our walk. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Adventures with Emma - Scary Moments

     More about this Halloween quilt later in this post. First, some scary moments from yesterday morning. Things began as usual. I took Emma outside on a leash before breakfast. After breakfast, I began working on the finishing details for this Halloween quilt. Emma wanted to go out again, so I opened the door on the porch to let her. My backyard is completely enclosed by a chain link fence. After about five or ten minutes, I went to call her in. She didn't respond to my call and was nowhere in sight. It was then that I saw that the gate was wide open. I was terrified. My asthma wasn't very good yesterday, but I tried hurrying down the street calling her name. Nothing. I returned for my rescue inhaler and then headed in the opposite direction. No luck. Real panic was beginning to set in at that point. I called my friend who was coming to spend the day quilting and asked her to please hurry to help me search for Emma. Then I hopped into the car and began driving slowly around the neighborhood trying to spot her. When I came around the corner, I spotted a pickup truck in my driveway and a man returning Emma into the backyard. I parked across the street, jumped out, and began thanking the two men. "Where did you find her?" I asked. They told me she was down at the diner happily greeting people who were entering and leaving. [A neighbor later remarked that Emma was smart to have headed for a place with food. Nope . . . I know my Emma; she was drawn by the people. She is one very social dog.] Thank goodness my cell phone number and address are engraved on a little pink bone which she wears on her collar. The whole adventure lasted probably no more than fifteen minutes, but it was very, very frightening. Both the street that I live on and the one around the corner where the diner is located are very, very busy.
     I don't know why the gate was open or why I hadn't noticed it when I had taken her out earlier. I do know that the evening before it had been raining when I rolled out the recycling to the curb. I can only think that in my haste to do it quickly I had neglected to latch the gate. I realize how very, very lucky I was to get her back safe and sound.
     Now about the Halloween quilt . . . it was made for one of my little cousins who was born on Halloween six years ago. She selected all of the focus fabrics and I added the co-ordinating prints. The pattern is "Urban Cabin" by Atkinson Designs.
     Also, the last time that I posted I mentioned that there were hundreds of vendors at the Houston International Quilt Festival.

What did I bring home? Well, let's see: three patterns, five fat quarters, a rubbing plate for surface design, a yard of Japanese fabric, beading thread, a book by Melody Crust, a roll of hand dyed fat quarters, colorful rickrack, and some beautiful pearl cotton threads. The pearl cotton was from Artfabrik; I knew I was in trouble when I spotted that tantalizing booth. :-)

Just look at all of these lush colors! The pearl cotton, rickrack, and beading threads will be used in my crazy quilting projects. As you can see, I showed a great deal of restraint in my purchases. :-) 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

More from Houston 2014

We arrived in Houston on Tuesday afternoon. This is the captivating view from the registration area on the second floor. . . vendors to the left . . . vendors to the right . . . as far as the eye could see. They were all busy setting up their booths. What a tantalizing sight!!!

That evening we attended the award ceremony held in the ballroom. The winning quilts were hung on the walls but hidden behind black curtains.  After the Honorable Mention, Third, and Second Place winners in each category were announced, a curtain would be raised to reveal the First Place winner. Here are three of my favorites.  "Beneath My Wings" was created by David Taylor of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The detail was exquisite.  Click on the images to see a larger version, but even that won't fully do it justice. It is magnificent.

The top quilt in the Art- Whimsical category was the absolutely delightful "Eloise Joins the Circus" by Janet Fogg from Lake Oswego, Oregon.

It was beyond wonderful! Just look at this close-up.

Another beauty was "British Garden."

Here's a close-up.

"Umbrellas in the City" was definitely one of my very favorite quilts. This visually stunning piece  received, I believe, a second place, but I'm not sure in which category. I just know it was awesome.