Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Hanging Around My Garden This Week

Yesterday I had the pleasure of having lunch with seven members of the Dancing Queens at the East Bay Grill in Plymouth. All of these ladies were dedicated, hard working, amazing educators in the Weymouth Public Schools, and it was a pleasure to see them.

I used a simple app called PicFrame to give you a glimpse of the hanging pots around my yard. It's the first time that I have used this app.  It's pretty intuitive, but let me explain how to use it for those who are interested. After opening the app which I believe costs $2.99, select "Frames" in the bottom left corner. There are endless frames from which to choose. Select a frame with the number of photos that you want and then click on each empty box. A drop down menu will let you import a photo from your camera roll or do  a number of other things. After placing a photo or series of photos, you will be able to adjust the photo within the frame by simply moving it around.

If you wish, you may add text by selecting the 'T" in the box in the top right corner. That's all there is to it.  At that point you have various options to share your work.

This would be fun to use for family photos or travel photos, and I promise you it is super simple. One note; I am not sure it works on all platforms. I am an Apple product user.

Hope you are all having a picture-perfect day!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Hibiscus Quilted Wall Hanging - Progress

Well, part two of my hibiscus wall hanging project is almost, nearly, not quite totally, but pretty darn close to being ready, and I am pleased with how it looks at this point.

The yellow stickie in the top left corner has a note to remind me to add the stamen and pistil parts. The leaf in the upper right corner is there because I'm still working on the bottom section. You can see what is left of my pattern. As I indicated in a previous post, I do tape each piece back in place because I never know whether I will want to make changes or not.

I have been tweaking this piece for the last few days. I thought that late on Wednesday or Thursday I had it the way I wanted, but the next morning I made changes. I'm most creative late at night when there a fewer distractions. When I was in college many, many, many years ago, I wrote the majority of my essays between 12:00 and 4:00 am. I still like working that way. Emma is asleep, there are no errands to run or things to do, so I like to work then though I usually make myself quit by 2:00am.  When I am in the midst of a project, I tend to get a tiny bit obsessed.

I have not done any stitching yet as I am still making changes. It's currently in my dining room resting on a batting covered piece of fiber board. As I walk through the room, I glance at it and may decide to make a change or two.

It won't reach my sewing machine for another week or so as I like to live with it at this stage for awhile. Once I am satisfied, I will do a skinny zigzag around all of the raw edges of each piece.  Then I'm thinking that I will do some thread painting as I have purchased some luscious variegated threads that should work well on this piece. I'll want to practice thread painting on a smaller piece first.

The yellow and the orange  fabrics on the outer edges were pieces of fabric that I painted. I wrote about that process here. I also used this batik fabric. When I see fabric such as this that I think I might use at some point, I will buy a half yard or more.

This is what it looks like now . . . swiss cheese . . .  but there is still plenty to work with at another time. :-) [I became aware of using fabrics such as this after taking a wonderful class with Esterita Austin ten years ago. She is a terrific teacher and the workshop involved an absolutely incredible week in Tuscany!!!]

Here's hoping that you have a wonderful, colorful, lovely week.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Hibiscus Quilted Wallhanging - Part Two

It was back on April 6th and 7th of this year that I first discussed my plan to create a quilted wall hanging based on a hibiscus photo that I had seen on another blogger's site. She was gracious enough to grant me permission to use her photo. If you click here, you can see all of the preliminary steps in the process.  After that preparation, the project got put on hold until this morning when I began working on it in earnest. 

I thought I would document the process in hopes that you might find it interesting.  Also, who am I kidding . . . I'm hoping it keeps me focused and working on this project. :-) :-)

I added one more step by adding a vinyl overlay. (I purchased the lightweight vinyl in the home decorating section of Joanne's.) It is a duplicate of my original pattern design.

As you click on any of these images, you will be able to see a larger version.  Each individual section is labeled with the color to be used on that piece and each separate blossom part is numbered.

I use an 18mm rotary cutter and a Fiskus finger rotary cutter which I really like to remove each individual piece. I work on only one piece at a time. My fusible of choice is Misty Fuse as it doesn't change the hand of the fabric. After putting the cut fabric shape in place, I tape the paper pattern section back into the master pattern.

I slip the cut shape in place then roll the vinyl overlay out of the way. I use a small Clover iron to glue the piece in place being careful at this point to only touch the iron to the middle of the piece. Since it is only tacked in one small area, it is easy to remove the piece if I want to make changes, and I have already done that several times so far.

So here is the start. It's difficult to see clearly at this point with the vinyl overlay. Next time I will remember to roll it out of the way before photographing my progress.

Wish me luck . . . :-)

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Saturday Sampler

 My dad's oldest sister, my Aunt Mildred,  always had a fuchsia hanging pot at the entrance to her breezeway.  I love to photographing fuchsia, so I make a fuchsia hanging pot each summer, as well.
Alas, this magnificent white iris below is blooming in my neighbor's yard not mine. It is truly spectacular.

I am sad that I have finished reading  Amor Towles' novel A Gentleman in Moscow. It starts slowly and thus it took me a while to get into it. I kept wondering why so many people had recommended it, but I kept reading and was gradually drawn in. It is perhaps the best novel that I have read in the last ten years. The writing is exquisite.  The protagonist, Count Alexander Rostov, after the Bolshevik revolution is sentenced to permanent house arrest in the Metropol, a grand old hotel in the center of Moscow. Confined from the age of thirty, the young aristocrat seeks to live a life of purpose within the walls of the Metropol.

At dinner the other night, I spoke glowingly of this novel. A friend who had read it did not enjoy it at all. She commented that there was no action in the story. Isn't it interesting how another reader may have such a diametric opinion of the same book? I should add that my friend is a voracious reader; this novel, however, did not capture her interest.

I, on the other hand, found it to be a treasure. The scenes were beautifully rendered and the people with whom the count engages richly drawn. The plot does move, especially after a young child is entrusted to his care.

What I knew of Russian history came from college World History classes and films. This novel taught me much about Russia's turbulent history and perhaps offers insight into the Russian psyche today.

It's a subtle novel, but a rich, finely written one, and I urge you to make the acquaintance of this Gentleman in Moscow. BTW, I read that this novel is in the development stage and will be turned into a television series. I can see that it would make for a wonderful mini series, but please don't wait until then. Read the novel as the writing is too special to miss.

On a lighter note, I picked up this pillow for my sunporch the other day, and being 'the consumer' cut off the attached tag. These tags always make me smile. Had there been at some point a rash of hoodlums racing through department stores slashing off these tags??? What's up with that??? Under penalty of law, I promise to never do such a terrible thing.

For Emma fans . . . she came home from the groomers Thursday afternoon sporting this lovely flower.

Auntie Laurel sent this image along.

Those who know and love miniature schnauzers know that one end is bark and the other end tail wagging exuberance. My Emma would bark like crazy at robbers attempting to break in and when they were inside she would promptly roll over begging for a belly rub. Let's  hope that the barking would discourage any would be burglars. :-)

Construction on the new Tufts Library is coming right along. Click on this or any other photo for a larger version.

And finally, just to put a smile on your face . . . . . . :-)

Have a wonderful week.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Crosstown Quilters Guild - Spring Luncheon

This morning, sixty-two members of the Crosstown Quilters Guild braved the elements to attend our luncheon. We had had torrential rain earlier in the morning.

Above are just some of the colorful tulip BOM blocks turned in and won by lucky Donna F. who now has the makings of a gorgeous quilt.

There were many quilts, pillowcases, Christmas stockings, and one shibori tote shown during today's "Show and Tell" session.  One quilt that caught my eye was a bookcase quilt by Ann R. who made it for her daughter's classroom. This photo was taken by Ann while the quilt was still in process. Ann eventually added feet to the bookcase. Clever lady that she is, Ann cut the words from selvedge strips to create titles and authors for the spines of some of the books. Wasn't that a simply brilliant idea!!!

There were lots of laughs, smiles, and way too much food. Two tables of real food . . .

and two tables of yummy desserts.

I love the ladies in this quilt guild who have made my first year as guild president such a wonderful experience. Here's one reason why. I announced that we were looking for volunteers to join the charity committee. Before the meeting ended, I was approached by six volunteers. We cut it off at six, but others also later volunteered. As with all quilt guilds, sewing for different causes is a large part of what we do. I'm glad that our two long time coordinators will have more help organizing our efforts next year.

This guils year flew by; let's hope the summer stretches out very, very slowly, and that we all get some quilting done.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Shibori Tote Bag

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have fallen down the shibori rabbit hole. It is way too much fun folding and manipulating fabric and then dunking it in the indigo dye. You can't predict how the pieces will turn out and that is half the fun. 

I have already cut pieces for use in an upcoming quilt, and this tote was made from the leftovers. I used a "June Taylor - Quilt As You Go - Pattern Printed on Batting - Alexandra Tote Bag." As you may be able to see, the batting is pre-printed, so you know where and in which order to place your two and a half inch strips. It really was simple. The challenging part for me was that I didn't have enough long pieces, so I kept digging through my scraps searching for similar pieces that I could  join together. 

Shabby Fabrics has a wonderful  video tutorial that I watched while putting my tote together. 

I did make a couple of changes. First, I made a stiff insert for the bottom of the bag. Second, since I'm not crazy about open totes, I added a closure with a large decorative button. The automatic buttonhole gizmo on my machine would not accommodate the large button, so I made it the old fashioned way using zigzag stitches. 

The stiff webbing for the straps was included in the pattern package. This photo will give you an idea of the size of this roomy tote which is about fifteen by fourteen inches.  I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last week I purchased a gazing ball to complete my small garden. This white base and the other terra cotta one that I have in another spot were both curbside treasures.

I'd love to be able to show you all the progress that I have made in my big garden, but alas, there hasn't been much improvement. The gardening season has barely started, so there is still hope. :-)

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

In My Garden This Week

I've haven't posted much lately as I have been elbow deep in compost, peat moss, mulch, and dirt. :-) Yes, after so much rain, we are finally enjoying glorious days of sunshine. Temps are cool, so it is the perfect weather for gardening

I love this side view of the poppy and the soft striped background. It's one of the few poppies still intact.

WARNING: I brake for wooden chairs left curbside. If the seat is rotten or broken, it's even better. I'll find a spot for it in my yard. :-)
    [Note: I was just rereading this post from yesterday and noticed that I had written "break" instead of "brake." I guess I better brake  for pesky homonyms from now on . . . ]  

As you know from reading my blog, I loved being a middle school teacher. Let me tell you a fun story. On Saturday, I headed to a local garden center to buy a flat of white petunias as I always put a touch of white in each hanging basket that I make.)  No luck . . . but as I was browsing, I heard, "Miss Smith!!!" A woman introduced herself as being one of my students from when I first started teaching in the 70s. Wow! I did remember her and we had a short pleasant conversation. As I was walking back to my car, she proclaimed loudly to everyone, "There goes one of our town's best teachers ever!" What a day brightener!

The story continues . . . Sunday after church I went to a different garden center in search of the same white petunias, and I was successful. After making my purchase, a woman stopped me. She, too, announced that she had been one of my students the year that Central Junior High closed . . . 1981! She handed her phone to her husband and had him take a number of photos of the two of us. She claimed that I hadn't changed a bit and that she had loved being in my English class. (Now, I am probably thirty pounds heavier and my bright red hair has faded to a more strawberry blond, but nevertheless, she recognized me thirty-eight years later. :-)

Yesterday after food shopping at Roche Brothers, I decided to check out Southern Artery Gardens to see if anything there might catch my eye. (I'm truly, absolutely, totally incorrigible when it comes to flower shopping; I simply can't stop myself from visiting every garden shop in the area. I justify it by saying that I am an equal opportunity shopper merely doing my part to help the economy.) So, I looked around eagerly and waited patiently for someone to approach and say that he or she had been one my students. It didn't happen, but I did make the acquaintance of this pretty soft pink Knock Out rose which is now happily planted in my garden.

Here's a photo of my hexi quilt taken on my sunporch. The photo in my previous post made it appear darker than it actually is.

Thanks for stopping by and remember you may click on any image for a larger version.  There is also a box in the right margin where you may enter your email to be notified when I write a new post. 

Have a fun, colorful day.