Sunday, January 26, 2020

A Moose in My Dining Room

Why, yes, it is true . . . there has been a moose in my dining room for the last few weeks. I'm not sure what the attraction is, but simply put, I like moose. Though I have never seen one up close and personal, some day I hope to do so. Perhaps it is their extra large, lumbering presence coupled with those magnificent antlers? Whatever it is, I picked up the pattern, "Moose Socks" by Paris Bottman from the Bigfoot Bay Cotton Company. One glance at the wallhanging on display in the quilt store and out came my credit card. It made me smile. (By the way, this was the four section pattern that I wrote about in an earlier post when I wondered if anyone could guess what it would become.) Were you able to guess correctly?

Here's Emma, my assistant and quality control officer, keeping a close eye on my progress.

The antlers were done in a suede-like fabric. I did make a few changes to the pattern by using striped fabric to simplify the stockings and a great piece of reindeer Nordic fabric for the sweater.  (I liked the idea of a moose wearing a reindeer sweater; yup, that's how my mind works.) A section of pine forest fabric worked beautifully in this piece.  (It may take me a year or two or longer to get to a project, but along the way I pick up fabrics that I think will work well and tuck the pieces in with the pattern until the time is right.)

He's a big fella (27.5x24.5"), so he is now hanging in my kitchen.

I just love his/her big goofy smile and inquisitive eyes. Can't you just imagine him/her galumphing through someone's backyard and getting tangled up in a sock filled clothesline? It makes me smile and . . .
A little nonsense now and then
Is relished by the best of men.*

*The definitive authorship of this very old couplet is not known. It has been attributed to among others Lord Byron and Robert Louis Stevenson and a version of it appeared in Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

One more thing: I made an additional stocking to use as a label on the back of this piece.

Things are a bit bleak in our country right now; find time to enjoy a bit of nonsense this week if only to relieve some of the stress that we are all feeling. 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

A Fun, Lovely, Busy, Creative Week

On Thursday evening, I attended a meeting of the Quilters Connection Quilt Guild in Watertown. From the sale table, I purchased two large bags of silk ties. I didn't really have a plan for them, but I do from time to time do some crazy quilting and the price was right at $3.00 per bag! I have an idea for a modern crazy quilt that would incorporate some of these ties. I also did a bit of searching online and found a wonderful Youtube tutorial "Using Silk Ties to Create Beautiful Scarves by Pat Statzer." It seemed like something fun to try, and I had a silk scarf from a Shibori class that I had taken at Cannizzarro Creations in Rockland. For some reason the color didn't really take, and there were just small patches of blue on it so I decided to use that scarf. After picking up a big, old pot at Goodwill, I was all set to give it a try last night. It was easy and quick and so much fun to unwrap the packet.

When I had first opened the bag of ties, I discovered  . . . good news . . . the ties had already been opened and the linings removed.  This was also the bad news as there were no labels to indicate which ties were 100% silk or not. This process only works with 100% silk, and the tutorial indicated that it sometimes doesn't even work then. 

Here is my first scarf.

I did learn a few things from this first attempt. In the tutorial on Youtube, the artist cuts thin strips from the ties; I chose to cut larger pieces for mine and I like that effect better. The artist used ties that still had the lining inside, but my pieces did not. I simple cut bigger pieces and folded them over to create a double thickness. You will see why this was necessary if you watch the tutorial. You lay silk pieces on half the scarf and then the other half of the scarf and muslin is folded back over the piece before the whole thing is rolled up. Don't worry. The process is super easy and well explained in the video.

Next time, I will not use any red pieces as red dye is so strong that it tended to overpower many of the other pieces. That was not entirely bad as it gave the background a nice, pinkish color wash.

One other tip . . . I read somewhere that you should always rinse and dry the white scarf before attempting any kind of dyeing. It is supposed to better prepare the scarf for the dyes in the ties. I'll try that next time.

Here I have placed a few pieces of the ties that I used on the scarf by the effects that they created.

It was a fun, easy, inexpensive process, and I urge you to give it a try. I can not wait to try it again!

I also attended a meeting of the Crosstown Quilters on Tuesday where my friend Edith showed off her latest quilt. She had taken a Big Island Sunset class with Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill at the Herring Run Guild. You may purchase the pattern for the Big Island Sunset quilt at Whole Circle Studio.

Besides two guild meetings, I also met friends for breakfast one day and for lunch on another day. Life is good!

I did do some quilting which I will share in an upcoming post.

Have a fun, creative, lovely week.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

A Vintage Find, Emma's New Coat, and 12 Commandments

Leroy Jethro Gibbs (NCIS) has his rules, and so do I. His rules are numbered; mine are not, but I follow each faithfully. I have mentioned this particular rule in bygone posts, but let me repeat it here. When in the midst of winter the thermometer on my sunporch reads 65 or higher, I must grab a cold drink, a good book, and proceed to go plunk myself in a comfy chair and bask in the warmth and sunshine. Today is such a day! It is January 11th, and it is in the sixties outside!!! It was so warm that after returning from walking Emma earlier, I relaxed in one of my pink, plastic Adirondack chairs. ( I have yet to put them away under the porch. I'm afraid that if I do at this point, the next day we will be buried in a blizzard.  :-) I would still be sitting outside except the wind has really picked up, and I do not want to risk having a tree branch conk me on the head!

Anyway, I stopped at the Eclectic Connection in West Bridgewater recently after my flute lesson. There had been a detour, and let me say it was the longest, most convoluted detour on which I have ever been directed. Good news though as I eventually saw a sign for West Bridgewater, and I made my way to the big red barn which houses many dealers of antique and vintage items. It's an interesting place to visit. I wandered around and didn't see anything to catch my eye. Then, just a few feet from the exit, on a middle shelf, I spotted this small ceramic tree.

I have a tray with a mirrored surface upon which I display all sorts of little trees at Christmas, and so this one came home with me. But wait . . . the layers are stacked. . . four ashtrays and a lighter on top! How cool is that? It only cost ten dollars, but I saw similar ones listed for more online. From what I could ascertain, these cigarette lighter/trees date back to the 70s.

I have another vintage lighter and when its mechanism is wound,  it plays "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." No, I won't be starting a cigarette lighter collection as I don't smoke and I already collect way too many things. :-)

 Here was Miss Emma modeling her new winter coat on Thursday when the thermometer was reading 15 degrees with a biting windchill.  Emma does have a good wardrobe, but to be fair, she wears some of the same things that were originally worn by my first mini schnauzer, Katie. Emma needed a new warm coat as the previous one was wearing out in spots. This coat will be for bitter cold days or when we have a snowstorm. Believe it or not, these photos were taken within minutes of each other. The snow was still evident in the shady side of my yard.

The new coat kept her snuggly warm, but with the sleeves, it was like trying to get a snowsuit on a three year old! I think it is funny that dog coats always seem to have a pocket. Is that for their cell phones???  Anyway, Miss Emma will be styling and warm this winter.

One last item that was sent along by a friend.

The 12 Commandments of Growing Old...

#1 - Talk to yourself, because there are times you need expert advice.

#2 - Consider "in style" to be the clothes that still fit.

#3 - You don't need anger management, you just need people to stop pissing you off.

#4 - Your people skills are just fine. It's your tolerance for idiots that needs work.

#5 - The biggest lie you tell yourself is, "I don't need to write that down. I'll remember it."

#6 - These days, "on time" is when you get there.

#7 - Even duct tape can't fix stupid, but it sure does muffle the sound.

#8 - Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could put ourselves in the dryer for ten minutes, then come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller?

#9 - Lately, you've noticed people your age look so much older than you.

#10 - You thought growing old would take a lot longer.

#11 - Aging sure has slowed you down, but it hasn't shut you up.

#12 - You still haven't learned to act your age and hope you never will.

And one more:

So you know you're growing old when "one for the road" means taking a pee before you leave.


Have a fun weekend and keep smiling!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

First Two Finishes for 2020

This "Campers - Livin' the Dream" wool applique table centerpiece was begun around Thanksgiving, and I added the backing and buttonhole stitched edge while watching the Patriots play on Saturday. It was very sad, but I know in my heart that QB 12 will be back next year. There is no way Tom Brady would consider retirement after a game that ended in that manner. He'll be back for sure!

I saw a picture of "Campers - Livin' the dream in a catalogue, and though I am not a camper, I couldn't resist ordering this pattern with these colorful glampers.  Most of the stitching was buttonhole, french knots, or chain stitches. Though it doesn't show well in the photo, I added a few glittery little beads to the stars. It is a fun piece which I will happily pull out in the spring.

Next up was this sweet nativity piece which I had originally seen hanging, I believe, at the Vermont Quilt Show. I was a goner once I saw the tiny camels and sheep! Too cute! The pattern was "Little Bits - Trim the Tree ll with Nativity insert" by Cindi Edgeton, and all of these adorable little buttons came with the pattern that I purchased.. 

My finished piece is 11 x 14 as I didn't add as many borders as the pattern showed. 

I enjoy paper piecing, but some of these pieces were pretty tiny. In this small tree skirt section which measures roughly 1.5 x 3 inches there are fourteen pieces!

Though Christmas  has gone by, I may still hang it up for a bit, and just think, it will be all set for next year. 

Now I have three recommendations for you. 

The first is be sure to go see Little Women; it is wonderful. I saw it with a friend this afternoon at the Loring Hall Cinema, a perfect place for seeing this film. For those not from this area, this cinema is located in Hingham Square. The hall was opened in 1852 as a place for lectures and meetings but became a movie theater in 1936 and has been one ever since. 

Little Women is a lovely, lovely film and again, you really should go see it. It was filmed in Massachusetts. Scenes were shot at among other places: the Emerson Colonial Theater in Boston, the Arnold Arboretum, the Stoughton Train Station, the Bradley Estate in Canton, the Crane Estate in Ipswich, the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston, The Old Manse in Concord, Orchard House in Concord, etc. You may see a complete listing of the film locations and a map at the MA Film Office.

Do you sometimes feel that the world is spinning out of control and not just in the last few days with the escalating crisis in the Middle East, the impending impeachment hearings, the rise in hate crimes, the fires ravishing Australia? I start my day with two things from my email box which help keep me informed.

The first is the CNN 5 Things Newsletter which gives you what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.  In other words,  they touch on five things happening in the world that you should be aware of; for example, today it was the crisis in Iran, the Ukrainian airline crash, the devastating wildfires in Australia, the impeachment impasse, and the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. Each of the five items is usually a paragraph, but there are links should you wish to read more. Below that is the Breakfast Browse section with five lighter items and at the very bottom there is always something to   make you smile.

Another newsletter that I have begun reading is "Heather Cox Richardson from Letters from an American." She is a professor of history at Boston College and in her daily newsletter she offers historical facts and political perspective to explain the significance of events taking place in our country. Her commentaries are always insightful.

If you have read this far, thank you! I'll try to be briefer next time.  :-)

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sunday Sampler - 2019 in Review

Today's Sunday Sampler highlights some of the quilting and wool applique pieces that I have worked on during the past year.  There was at least one more quilt that I forgot to include in these collages along with some pillowcases, layette covers, and baby quilts.

My favorite photos are of family and friends, but here are some of my other favorites from last year.

Wishing you a year of creativity, joy, and adventure.