27 January, 2015

Adding Curves

 I'm on a roll... with curves! I've been putting together quite a few of these double "football" units, they measure 12" X 6" and are border pieces for the quilt I'm currently setting together. Unlike the Winding Ways blocks that I posted about yesterday, these aren't cut out using a die cutter; but, rather, by the old-fashioned method of drawing around templates and cutting the shapes with shears! I can be very patient to get the desired results.
Templates, marking pen, pins and shears: cutting the pieces by going back to my quiltmaking roots.
Why all he trouble? For this: "Adding Curves" (74" X 74"). The Orange Peel blocks and borders were all hand traced from templates and hand cut; then machine pieced to set these blocks-of-the-month from last years' $5 quilt workshops at Sew Original together. I wanted a unique setting. I haven't attached the border units to the center yet, but have only pinned them in place to the design wall to give you an idea of how it will look; it will be bordered on all sides, I'm halfway there.
These are the very same blocks, made up in a different colorway. This quilt is called "The Last Straw" and measures 56" X 70". It was put together late last summer; I believe that it has an entirely different visual appeal from it's sister quilt. I'm looking forward to quilting both of these in the near future; but, for now, I have a few more curves to navigate; I'm taking my time and enjoying the process.
Life is Good!

26 January, 2015

Slow Down, Curves Ahead!

I had leftovers cut out from the challenge wallhanging of last year; I found them when it was time to purge that bin of its contents and reassign it to something new. So, what to do with the leftovers? Pitch them? Nah, I decided to put them together and add them to the burgeoning Orphan Block bin. I had never been too excited about the piecing order on the Winding Ways block and tried something new this time. I put together the top and bottom sections and decided to join the block along the gentle "S" curve center seam.
Pin, pin, pin... never too many pins on curves; and slower stitching, let up a bit on that foot pedal!
VoilĂ !

VoilĂ   times four! These have now joined the other orphan blocks for a someday quilt.
So, I'm on a roll... plenty of pins and a deep breath; there are more curves just ahead... stay tuned!

Life is Good!

25 January, 2015

Opposite Day

When : Always January 25th

Opposite Day is a topsy, turvy day when everything you say, do, see, and hear are the opposite. If you say go left, you mean go right. If you say look up, it means look down. If you see your left foot...is it really your right?
Yesiree, Bob. Opposite Day can be a whole lot of fun. It can also be very, very confusing. This special day is celebrated primarily among school children. Sponge Bob Square Pants even got into the act, with an episode containing the whimsical nature of this day.
Thought for the Day: Opposites attract.
And, in the spirit of the day... if your kitchen faucet pull-out/spray handle develops a leak and you have to wait for a replacement part, let me be the first to tell you: you won't miss it, not one little bit. Who needs running water in the kitchen? It's fun to do dishes in the laundry room sink and that's not at all inconvenient!

Life is Good BAD!

24 January, 2015

Inspired

Hello from the ship! We've been back home from our Caribbean adventure for almost two weeks now; but I wanted to share some of the ship-board fun and inspiring sights from our time away with you.
  
This was our cruise routing, sailing out of, and back into, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The ship was the largest one we've ever sailed on, the capacity was somewhere in the vicinity of 5,000-- 3,500 passengers and 1,500 crew members.  With that many people on board you might think that it was impossible to be anywhere that wasn't over-crowded, that wasn't the case at all; it is a really  BIG boat! The Regal Princess is the newest addition to the fleet and in a weeks' time we explored every bit of her.
At times the corridors outside of the staterooms looked like this...
empty except for the house cleaning cart!

Mid-ship the elegant Grand Piazza dominates the public space; comprising three levels, this is where you will find all of the the on-board shopping, food venues and, at times, musical entertainment.


The Grand Piazza, another persective.
It was in this area that we discovered "Alfredo's", a wonderful Italian restaurant specializing in brick oven pizza and salads. You may think that the quilter in me was inspired by this table. You'd be right, I was.
But then, take a look at this tile wall; can't you just see a fabric version of this in similar-hued batiks?
But, wait; this was the best inspiration of all! I'm already drafting this one up... someday, someday
I'll make a quilt inspired by this wall; the color, shapes and movement appeal straight to my heart!
This was the view sailing into St. Maarten, we docked on the Dutch side. In case you're wondering where all of the ship's passengers were in the previous photos, I'll tell you. When the ship was in any port we would disembark, walk around for awhile and enjoy the local sights and tropical breezes, then get back on the ship and take advantage of the pools on the top decks without the crowds of people; it was nearly deserted at those times and extremely peaceful and relaxing!
This  photo and the one below show the pools, and view off the ship, during peak hours on a sea day.

This was taken on our last evening, at dinner; all good things must come to an end. Our post-Christmas R&R was just the thing to start off our New Year on the right foot with a great adventure and to jump-start those creative juices that were inspired by all that I saw and experienced while we were gone! Now, it's back to reality~
Life is Good!

21 January, 2015

Home

"Home"... no other word better conveys peace, comfort and refuge, universally. Home can also be a great motivator. My precious mother-in-law has been away from hers since the Monday before Thanksgiving. From the hospital to a rehab center she's been gone from home for just over eight weeks now. Depending on our station in life, home is the place where we're in control, where we call the shots and determine our own schedule for the day. A medical facility is the exact opposite. Mom longs to go home, to her home; not into an assisted living situation. It's been a long eight weeks... for her, for the family and for her little dog, Linus. At ninety-two years she understands what her options are. Last week Mom's physical and occupational therapists composed a check list of tasks she needs to be able to accomplish, safely, in order to gain her release back home. Since then she has attacked the items on that list with the focus, vigor and determination of an athlete in training; much to everyone's shock and surprise! Up until this week what we had observed was a lack of initiative and motivation on her part. It's clear to me now why that was the case... she didn't understand the objectives and felt trapped, day in and day out, in a restricted situation against her will! Who of us would perform well if that were our perception? Now that she has a print-out of what's required she's enlightened and content; plus, and most importantly, she feels in control once again! What a difference this has made.  An exact release date isn't foremost on her mind either; that will reveal itself in time, but the goal: HOME, is on the table and that's the most significant motivator of all.
Life is Good!

20 January, 2015

T.H.I.N.K.

My latest challenge... T.H.I.N.K about it~
Life is Good!

19 January, 2015

Twenty Percent

Here are the first forty blocks completed in the "Bible Study" workshops that Quiltkeemosabe and I are conducting (for each other) on a monthly basis. We're working concurrently on constructing, and writing up instructions for, the 200+ blocks in Rosemary Young's Quilt Block Bible. (The book is inspiring, it offers beautiful photos of each block and includes a CD for printing block diagrams but doesn't offer any instructions.) With my latest "homework assgnment" just finished today, I've now worked out about twenty percent of the book! We'll meet again on Wednesday for our next session. These blocks measure 6" (finished) and each presents its own set of challenges.  I've been able to use specialty rulers on some of the blocks, with excellent success; I'm particularly pleased with Deb Tucker's Studio 180 tools, the "Wing Clipper" and "Tucker Trimmer" have already proved themselves indispendsable. A few blocks have been straight-forward rotary cutting, some have required templates and others foundation piecing as the best construction method. So far I've found myself falling back on every construction technique I've ever learned; except applique, that is yet to come!
After displaying all the blocks on the neutral toned design wall I decided to audition them on a mocked-up dark background, simulating a 1" sashing, to see if I would like this better; I think I do.
This block, Aunt Nancy's Favorite Star, was paper pieced. Deb Karasik's Perfect! Piecing Paper was recommended to me and I can't say enough good things about it.  After drafting this block and exploding the diagram into sections for foundation piecing, I copied those sections onto Perfect! Piecing Paper which I had loaded into the printer; the results were crisp and clear; it was effortless to stitch through and easy to tear away! I'm sold on this product, and will keep a package on hand from now on. Our objective as we make each block is to write up clear instructions that produce accurate results. So far, so good; I may only be twenty percent done but I'm one hundred percent happy!
Life is Good!