Monday, February 29, 2016

Signs of the Time

A sign of spring . . . just hold on; it's right around the corner. The colors of the crocuses are similar to those in this vintage embroidered tablecloth which I put out this morning.

I'm glad I came across this bright, cheery tablecloth which was stitched by one of my aunts many years ago.

It was such a lovely day that Emma and I headed to Hull this afternoon to take a walk along the boardwalk at Nantasket Beach which provided a welcome change from our usual neighborhood walks. Emma is an excellent fitness buddy. :-)

Unclear on the Concept . . . 
I recently came across this sign.

That's fine, but as you will see there is another message on the other side which is unfortunately a sad sign of our times.

It's seems pretty clear who the real nut is and there were also some nasty Hillary Clinton signs. What has happened to civility in this election season? I have always enjoyed watching the debates and listening to the 'experts' offering their opinions and insights, but this year it is different. There is so much mean-spirited, bigoted, hate speech and downright nastiness coming from one side that it truly scares me. I shudder to think what the next ten months will bring.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Photos from My Grandmother's Album - Block 2

Here is my second completed crazy quilt block for my new project. The caption under the photo in my grandmother's album indicates this photo was taken in Winthrop, Maine in 1906. I have no idea who these people were other than my grandmother who is the young woman standing to the left of the horse. Here is the photo as it appears in the album.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2016 -Block 1

At the end of December I signed up to take part in the Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2016 challenge.  Participants are supposed to create and post one block per month. Unfortunately, January went by too fast, so I'll need to complete two blocks this month to catch up Here is my first finished block.

It has been a hectic week. Among other things, yesterday I went to lunch with some fellow retired teacher friends and tonight I had friends for dinner. Since I'm always happily running from one thing to another, it's wonderful to slow down and work on these blocks.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

New Crazy Quilt Project

Two years ago I created my first crazy quilt piece which featured photos of my paternal grandmother. Now I am starting a new piece with photos from my maternal grandmother's photo album. Growing up, I liked to look at the small, faded photos from the turn of the last century. Last night I made the first block to which I will add stitching and embellishments.

My grandmother is in the top right corner. I have found that for me, "Jacquard Ink Jet Fabric Cotton Sheets" give the best results for printing photos. At this point, I am thinking of making nine six inch blocks, but that could change.

In my previous post, I mentioned the wonderful hand applique class that I had taken with quilter David Taylor last August. After finishing that post, I went to The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims website where I was stunned to read about an explosion and fire that had occurred at the home of David Taylor in Steamboat Springs in Colorado on Tuesday evening. He was safe as he was teaching in Chicago at the time. Most of his magnificent quilts are in private collections, but a few were lost in the fire along with his machines. If interested, you can read more about it here.

On a lighter note, yesterday my godchild and her family came for a visit. After breakfast at our local diner, the girls raced around the backyard with Emma, and then we all played a game. It's always great fun when they come for a visit.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Hummingbird Quilt - Hand Applique

Tonight I finished the hand applique hummingbird quilt which I began in a class with David Taylor last August in New Hampshire. 

David provided his pattern, the background fabric and the fabric for the hummingbird. The hummingbird appeared to be so intent on something that I decided to add a flower to the lower right corner and also used a green wood fabric to create a frame for the piece.

I mentioned in the last post that I had used a hera marker to create the crosshatch pattern. When it came to quilting the frame, I used a quilting bar. I made my first quilt in 2003, but this was the very first time that I had ever used it. So simple . . .  who knew????

Monday, February 15, 2016

Humming Along Nicely

In my ongoing attempt to finish things, I have been working on this hand applique piece that I began in a David Taylor class last August. You can read about that experience here.  I finished the hummingbird quickly, but the piece had taken up residence on my spare bed along with a number of other UFOs. (For non quilters, UFOs are unfinished objects ;-). I just didn't know how I would quilt the background as my free motion quilting skills are rudimentary at best, and I didn't want to take a chance of ruining the piece. Knowing that it would just stay there indefinitely, I decide to do a simple crosshatch pattern for the background. The internet was full of tips and various methods for crosshatch quilting. You could use the bar which came with your machine, blue one inch painter's tape and stitch along the edge, or do as I did and use a hera marker.

Because my blog also acts as a journal for me, I'll explain what I did and learned in the process in hopes that it may help others and perhaps refresh my memory the next time that I do cross hatching. First, I layered and pin basted my top, batting, and backing. Next, I placed a yardstick diagonally for my first line which I creased with the hera tool pictured above and then proceeded to stitch it using a 3.0 stitch length.  I made another line one inch on each side of the first line. I had read that it is a good idea to alternate the direction of your stitching. . . the first line went from the top left to the bottom right, the second two lines on either side of it went from the bottom right to the top left, the third lines from the top left to the bottom right, etc.  That is done to help keep things straight and flat; I hope my explanation of the process makes sense. After I finished all the seams in one direction, I started on the opposite direction. As you can see in the photo above, I only had a few more lines to quilt when it occurred to me to take these reference photos. The finished piece will be 25x23 inches.

So, now the middle of the piece is completed and I only need to quilt the borders, add a hanging sleeve, and finish the binding. By the way, how do you like the eye of the hummingbird? In photography, we always try to have a 'catch light' in the eye to give the subject life. I could have created it with a dab of white paint, but I found the perfect little piece of fabric to create the desired  effect.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Brrrrr . . . It"s Getting Cold Outside

You know you're in trouble when the meteorologists start using phrases such as "dangerous windchill factor,""record breaking cold," etc . . . It is expected to drop to -5F* degrees by tomorrow morning. [That sounds a whole lot better than if it was converted to Celsius which would make it -20.555556C.] Yikes!!!  Anyway, Emma is giving me this, "Really? You mean I have to wear this sweatshirt under my winter jacket; I won't be able to move"  look!!! I like how her ear is cocked. Note the Valentine bling from the groomer on her ear tips. Our trips outside tonight and tomorrow will be super, super short; I, myself, will also be bundled up like Nanook of the North. [I've always heard the expression "Nanook of the North" but never knew where it came from. A quick search indicated that in 1922, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spent a year making a documentary featuring the life of an Inuit family living in the Arctic Circle. Even more amazing, you can watch the hour and fifteen minute documentary here on YouTube. Its other title is "A Story of Life and Love in the Actual Artic. " Guess what I'll be watching tonight.

By the way,  Monday at midday, it is expected to return to a balmy 25 with some snow and then later it may change over to rain. Tuesday should see temps in the 50s.   Unbelievable!!!

As I was finishing the writing of this post, I received a text from a friend letting me know that Jake, her seventeen year old dog, had passed on. He was a fine, old gentleman who would tolerate visits from Emma and before her, Katie, whenever I went away. My godchild and her family recently bid goodbye to one of their cats, Cleo, who was 18 and a half. Pets enrich our lives so very much. Give yours an extra pat, hug, and treat tonight.

Stay warm.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Sunny Snowy Saturday

Yesterday I shared these same views during the storm and later at twilight, but this morning it was so beautiful with the sun shining that I had to post these. If you look closely, you may spot Emma dashing about in the top photo.

I'm going to spend some time quilting today and hopefully later will post some photos of what I accomplish.

Update . . . I did get a few things done this afternoon. Here are three drawstring bags for children receiving DCF services. One of the guilds to which I belong makes these bags so children will have something in which to carry their personal belongings when being placed in foster homes.

I also completed the stitching on this row of raindrops for my 2015 Row by Row Experience quilt. Don't you love the colors!

I spotted these daffodils at the edge of my garden. It seems they, too, were fooled by the recent warm weather that we had been having!

Miss Emma is enjoying the snow, but it sure is no fun when it clings to her fur. :-)

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Very Snowy Day

With temperatures in the fifties for the last few days we may have been lulled into a false sense that spring was just around the corner. It all changed last night when a snowstorm was forecast.  At 8:00,  it was still warm and had just begun to rain. In the middle of the night, the wind was howling and it was raining very heavily. The temperature dropped after dawn, and we awoke to a typical snowy February day. The snow was not the light fluffy snow of recent storms but rather the dreaded heavy, heavy wet type. 

Around 6:00pm, the snow finally stopped and the sun's attempt to make a brief appearance created this lovely twilight scene. (I hung out an upstairs window to take these twilight shots with my iPhone :-).


I had planned to spend the day quilting, but somehow the day slipped away and I didn't accomplish very much . . . Tomorrow's guild meeting has been cancelled so maybe I'll get more work done tomorrow. . . Maybe . . .