Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Very Good Read

This is a quick post to recommend a novel that I truly, truly loved, Susanna Kearsley's The Rose Garden. I don't want to give anything away about the story as I would rather have you discover it for yourself. How much did I enjoy this book? Well, I read it twice . . . once last fall and again this past week when it was returned by a friend who I might add also loved it. If you enjoy a story that will sweep you away with well drawn characters, lush settings, romance, adventure, and the unexpected, give this book a try. You'll love it, too!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

After the Storm

Yesterday, I finished another row for my "Row by Row Experience - 2015" quilt. This row, "After the Storm," is bright and oh so colorful, but it was an absolute bear to make. I do enjoy paper piecing, but between keeping the raindrops falling in the right direction and working with a small, confusing color chart, this row took way too much time. 

The other day I wrote about some of the books that I use in my crazy quilting, and I wanted to mention one more, Judith Baker Montano's Fibreart Montage. This wonderful book combines quilting, embroidery, photography, silk ribbon work, and embellishments.  It was from this book that I was inspired to create my cigarette silk actress book after seeing her cigarette silk actress quilt; please click here to see that completed project. A few years ago, I created this underwater fantasy based on a project in her book.

 Here's a close up to show you some of the stitching and bead work. This piece is not that large, and so I intend some day to make a larger version.

Emma and I wish all of you a very Happy Easter.

Update: I just came back from an afternoon walk with Emma, my fitness buddy, and couldn't resist adding this photo. Don't you just love the shadow. . .  :-) 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Posing in the Cornfield

Here is the block that I began working on at the quilting retreat which I recently attended. Last night while watching "Dancing with the Stars" I added the final few stitches and bead work.  In this photo my grandmother is the second from the right. 

When we see the selfies and photos that are taken today, I guess it shouldn't surprise us that folks also took fun and interesting photos back at the turn of the last century. Just wait until you see the "ladder" photo that I will be posting soon. Anyway, I wanted to add stitches which would suggest the cornfield, so I chose 4mm light green silk ribbon to make the Japanese ribbon stitches (elongated green leaves) to which I added variegated gold embroidery floss bullion stitches to suggest the corn. At first I thought it might be a tad busy, but the more I look at it the more I like it. :-)

While at the retreat, I was asked which crazy quilting books I would suggest. I have a number of books on crazy quilting, but here are the ones I use/consult the most. 

Crazy Quilting - The Complete Guide is always in my crazy quilt project box. It's compact, but it has page after page of wonderful blocks, basic crazy quilt info, and very clear stitch illustrations. If I were to recommend only one book, this would be the one.

I saw Brian Haggard on The Quilt Show a couple of years ago and his Crazy - Quilted Memories gave me the idea to incorporate vintage photos in my pieces. 

Finally, Foolproof Crazy Quilting by Jennifer Clouston is another wonderful crazy quilting book to have on your shelf.

If you're wondering why I didn't mention any book by Judith Baker Montano, that's because I will be writing a special post next time about her.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Welcome Spring!!!

These crocuses were completely covered by five inches of snow this morning on this, the first day of spring.  By this afternoon, the temperature had risen and the March sun had begun to quickly melt the snow.

These determined crocuses were none the worse for wear, and I always like seeing their colorful blossoms against the snow. I only wish there had been a bit more sun to brighten the scene.

With this storm we ended up with just over thirty inches of snow for the season as compared to the over 110 inches we had last year. 

I thought you might like to see the cute little gift that was made for each of us by the organizers of the recent guild quilt retreat that I attended.

Stilettos are so handy for moving small pieces of fabric under the sewing machine needle.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Bathing Dresses - 1905

Over the weekend I spent some time working on this crazy quilt block which I finished last night. Proper young ladies wore these "bathing dresses" of "bathing costumes" in 1905 when this photo was taken in Center Harbor, NH. My grandmother is on the bottom left.

There are many sites on the internet which show the evolution of "bathing dresses." Just a few years prior to this photo, bathing dresses had long sleeves and were floor length. In 1905,  black wool short sleeved bathing dresses were knee or slightly below knee length, and they were worn with black wool stockings as you can see in this photo. The articles also indicated that sailor collars and ribbon trims were common. 

Today at the supermarket there was a colorful display of African violets. Since I couldn't decide, I brought home three!!! When I see African violets, I think of my Aunt Alice who besides being a wonderful cook was also a dedicated gardener. There were always African violets on display in her house. It was from helping her in her garden that I developed my green thumb and love of gardening.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Crosstown Quilting Retreat

This past weekend I went to a quilting retreat at the Bayside Resort Hotel in Yarmouth with members of the Crosstown Quilting Guild

On the way, my friend Laurel and I stopped at the Tumbleweeds Quilt Shop in West Barnstable where this heart fabric bedecked tree greets customers. There I picked up a few fat quarters and some cute holiday themed buttons for future projects.

A good part of the weekend was spent on making this row. In case you are wondering, there are seventy-two tiny half square triangles and five paper pieced waves. It took forever! :-)

I also did some stitching on my crazy quilt project and began work on another row. Everyone had a wonderful time on this retreat which was filled with creativity and laughter.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Touch of Spring

Last year at this time we were up to our eyeballs in snow. Yesterday, the temperature was a balmy 72. Unbelievable! What a gift! Mother Nature may have other surprises for us before spring officially arrives, but meanwhile, we'll take these hints of spring any day.

My latest block for my crazy quilt project shows my grandfather John J. Cummings who was a plumber by trade, but my mother said he always referred to himself as a bathtub surgeon!  :-)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Farm Girl Vintage Quilt

At this morning's Crosstown Quilt Guild meeting, member Nancy Hunt showed her awesome Farm Girl Vintage quilt. Nancy is a prolific quilter and her work is always amazing. Don't you just love it!!! You can read more about Lori Holt's Farm Girl Quilt designs here.   I have the book, and if not a whole quilt, at least I see a table runner project in my future.

This sign was posted outside the meeting room. "PAWS to Read" is a wonderful program offered at many local libraries. Children sign up to read to these patient furry listeners. I wonder if Emma would sit still long enough to be read to . . . maybe if she could cuddle up in the reader's lap. :)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

St. Patrick's Day Wallhanging

Over the last few days, I designed and finished this shamrock quilt to hang on the front door.

I've also been working on my crazy quilt project which I do find to be rather addictive.  Below are some pieces of lace that I have tea dyed to use in my blocks. There are a number of tutorials on the internet, so I won't explain the process. There are two sizes of flowers in this lace, and I will carefully cut out the motifs and put fray block, not fray check, on their edges. While they are made by the same company, the fray block comes in a small bottle with a tiny brush applicator which makes the process easier.

Just a Comment on Commenting: Have you ever wanted to leave a comment on this or any other blog, but you weren't sure how to do it? Well, it's really easy. Just click on the word comment under the post.  It may say "No Comments" which means you will be the first to comment on that particular post or others may have commented already. A box will pop up where you can write your comment. Then you must choose from the pull down "Comment as:" list. If you have a google account, select the first option. If not, you may choose "Name/URL" where you can ignore the URL part and simply enter your first name. If you prefer, you may select "Anonymous." Then click on the word "Publish." Your comment will not immediately appear, on this blog as it is emailed to my account first for perusal to prevent any inappropriate comments. That's all there is to it, and it works basically the same on all blogs.

Now for the big question facing us today. No, not . . . What the heck is going on with American politics this year? That's entirely too troubling to contemplate. No, the question which we will learn the answer to in roughly five hours is . . . Will sweet Edith find true happiness as Downton Abbey draws to a close??? It would be too cruel for both Edith and loyal viewers if she doesn't. And what of Anna's baby? I'm thinking the Bates will have a boy, and after all they have been through, it better be happy and healthy. 

I started watching Downton Abbey in the second season and have truly enjoyed it.  The fashions, the characters, and the story lines have made Sunday at 9:00 on PBS must see TV. What oh what will we do next Sunday evening????????