Thursday, December 30, 2010

Some Random Things

Well, Christmas is over.  The presents are all unwrapped, and now life is starting to get back to normal.  The cookies aren't all eaten, but we're working on that.  (oink!)  Our holiday was a good one, with lots of family and food, and I hope yours was good too. 

We got around 3 inches of snow the night before last.  It melted off the streets long enough for me to make a quick run to the grocery store yesterday to stock up again, then we got a little more snow last night and the temps dropped to below freezing.  The lake froze last night, and everything looks like it's pretty icy out there.  Our high temp today was 32*F.  In other words, winter is here!  Not like so many places around the country that got blasted with the Christmas storm, but still fairly unusual for this area.  So, it must be time to sew again!  Yay!  DH is back out in the pottery studio (with his space heater!), and when I'm done with this post, it's off to the quilt studio for me.

Since there has been so little sewing/quilting happening here, I thought I would share some of what my sister has been doing.  She's been working on some wool applique.  Above is her funky "Trees".  She started this a year ago, and it's been traveling with her wherever she's gone all year as she adds to them.  She told me she had a lot of fun doing these.  I think they're great fun.

Here's a wool applique bunny she did.  It will probably become a pillow at some point.  I think this one is my favorite, because I love bunnies.

This might look like floating bubbles, but they are actually flowers.  The last time I saw this, my sister was in the process of adding the stems.  She tried one thing, didn't like it and took that off and is now working on the next attempt.  I think these are fun!  I don't know what her plan is for this piece.  She doesn't use any patterns, by the way.

My multi-talented sister is also an assemblage artist.  This is what she gave me for my birthday this year.  The round disks are hand-made coasters, she thinks.  I'll probably hang this in a vertical position, not horizontal like it is in the photo.  This will look fabulous on the indigo wall in my bedroom!

If you're interested in seeing some more of her work, check out her website.

Here is the free-pieced house that is currently on it's way to Beth of Live Laugh Quilt blog.  I made this for her "Friendly Neighborhood" project.  She'll be drawing winners on the 1st of the year, and I sure hope this gets there in time!  As you can see, I made an indigo house (appropriate, eh?) and it's surrounded by fir trees, just like in Real Life.   I'm not sure you can tell I free-pieced this, as it came out pretty tame.  But it was fun to make.

And in the window you can see Dunkel and Shade.  They think they own the place, so I had to include them!  hee hee!

We finally joined the 21st century the other day.  T*rget had an LED TV on sale for a price that was crazy low.  DH had been saving his pennies for a while, and it was finally the right time.  Wow, can I just say Wow!?  This looks fantastic.  And the best part?  We can hook up the laptop to the TV and watch Netflix streaming right on the TV!  Love it!  No more huddling over the desktop up in the office.  We don't have Hi Def on Comcast yet, but it sure looks High Def compared to the old (and I do mean old) TV.  So, happy day!  We're still doing the happy dance!

We watched the movie "Julie and Julia" last night.  I loved it!  And Meryl Streep sure "was" Julia Child.  She nailed it.  I remember watching Julia when I was in high school.  I thought she was a little odd then, and now I realize how brilliant and funny she was!  And I loved the whole blog thing - wonder why??  Oh, and am I the only one that backs up the movie to see the quilts in the background?  hee hee!  During that whole hysterical scene with the lobsters, I kept trying to see that quilt in the background.  DH is a good sport about backing up to see the quilt!

Well, here we are at the end of another year.  The years seem to be zooming by so fast anymore.  But it was a good year around here.  Our blessings are many.  And I want all my readers to know that I truly appreciate you stopping by to read my poor scribblings.  I'm still amazed and grateful that you do.   I hope the new year will be kind to all who're reading this, and that there will be blessings upon you and yours. 

Happy New Year!  See you on the other side!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to All!

"Christmas Grove"

I want to wish all my bloggy friends a very Happy Holiday for your winter holiday, whatever it may be. I hope you get just what you're wishing for!  I want you to know how much I appreciate your visits and all your comments!

We will be celebrating the day with my father-in-law, our son and his beautiful family and his mother-in-law/our friend K.  I'm so thankful to be able to spend the day with family, although I will miss my dear daughter and her hubby, who are in Nevada, and my sister who is home with her children.

There was been precious little sewing/quilting occuring here in Haus Indigo.  I did get some presents sewn, but no pictures of them. alas.  So you'll just have to imagine how wonderful they are! I hope to be back in the quilt studio very soon - I sure miss it!

The quilt above was made for me in a Christmas exchange among the members of my quilting bee way back in 1994.  My friend Shirley C. made this for me, and I think it's one of my favorite Christmas quilts.  I don't know if you can tell, but it has sequins on the trees to make it sparkle.  A few years ago, I was showing my then-3-year-old granddaughter the quilt when she started pressing the sequins.  She asked me, "How do you turn it on, Grandma?"  That still makes me smile!

I hope you are smiling too.  I'll be back after the presents are unwrapped and the cookies are eaten!


Sunday, December 05, 2010

Whoo hoo!! "Word Play Quilts"!!!

At long last, the Book Event I've been waiting for all year is here!  Monday, December 6th, 2010 is the day that Word Play Quilts by Tonya Ricucci will be released by Martingale Publishing.  I've been reading Tonya's blog since 2005 when she lived in Egypt.  I found Tonya through Bonnie Hunter's blog.  The two of them were my first introduction to bloggers and quilt blogs.  It opened up a whole new world to me, and it was so exciting!

These two word blocks are ones I made for Tonya, when she asked bloggers for "happy 4-letter words", and she put them all together into her quilt "Cake", which is on the cover of her book.  (Look at the lower right-hand corner and then the 4th row up from the botton, 2nd block from the right.)

This is the block I made when Tonya asked for words in different type styles for a Halloween quilt.  It was one of my first serious attempts at making the letters.  I was assigned "round" type style.  I don't know how well I did at the roundness.  I certainly stressed over this word.  It came out way bigger than I thought it would.  You can see Tonya's finished quilt here.

Tonya has been a huge inspiration to me.  Long ago, when I first found Tonya's tutorials on making her UnRuly letters, I attempted making some letters.  I made the entire alphabet but a poor choice of fabrics made them pretty much unuseable, due to the very low contrast between the letter and the background.  But those letters and what Tonya was doing with them intrigued me.  

Life got in the way for awhile . . . we moved from California to Washington, and my quilt studio was in boxes for most of the first year here.  But when I got it up and running, I decided that I was going to play with the letters.  

I joined Tonya's "House Home and Pantry Quilt Together" and you can see the blog here.  This is the start of my Witch's Pantry, and sad to say, this is all the further I am at the moment. 

Tonya asked all of her students for name blocks, so I made this one for her.  I used indigo fabrics, of course! The "S" was an inspiration that came to me in a dream one night, and I was thrilled that it worked!

This year, Tonya had the "Liberated Amish Quilt Challenge" - see that blog here.  "Shine" was my "warm-up" piece.  This little quilt just asked to be made first.

This is my finished (flimsy stage) quilt top for the Lib Am Challenge.  I learned so much about free-piecing from this quilt.  I got the wonkiest when I put down the rotary cutter and picked up the scissors.

Here's a closeup of the word in the border.  I used all scraps from the quilt top to make this.

This year my guild had a color challenge, using paint chips.  I had written down the idea for this quilt about 5 years ago, and decided that it was the right time to make this quilt.  I'd just finished the Lib Am quilt top and felt ready to tackle this project.  I learned a lot on this one too, and the most important lesson was that the more you make the letters, the easier they become to do!

This is the start of my next "wordy" quilt.  It's been on the back burner for most of this year, and I think I'll work on it again after the holidays.

Tonya and her wonky UnRuly way of making quilts (as well as Gwen Marston and the Gee's Bend quilts)  has changed the way I make quilts now.  I highly recommend that you give it a try too, if you haven't yet.  It's a lot of fun.  I don't think I'll ever worry very much about being "a little off" again.  Tonya's tutorials guide you step-by-step.  If I can do it, so can anyone!

And, if you go to Tonya's blog, you can click on the widget in her sidebar to buy her book from Amazon.  If you do it that way, Tonya will earn a little bit of $$.  I've already ordered my book there and am anxiously awaiting its arrival.

In celebration of Tonya's book release today, the entire Liberated Quilters web ring, which was inspired in part by Tonya, is showing off their creations that Tonya and her UnRuly letters have inspired. The widget to get there is on my sidebar. Take a few minutes and look at all the wonderful quilts. Maybe you'll get inspired to try some letters too.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

It's about time . . . .

. . . I showed up around here!  Wow, where did November go?  It was such a busy month!  Way too much going on, it seems.  There hasn't been time for posting, unfortunately.  I hardly even got close to the computer for much of the month.  I missed all of you!  I'm hoping I'll do better at posting more often this month.
I finally received all 48 of the Block Lotto wonky star blocks.  Here they are all laying on the living room floor.  This was the best I could do without getting into major furniture moving.  I won't start working on these until after Christmas . . . or at least until my Christmas presents are all sewn!

Remember these?  Here are the other 8 house blocks, finally finished.  They've now been cut in half (top to bottom) and the left halves have gone to California, where they'll be exchanged with my quilting buddies in January.  I'm so proud of myself that I actually got this done early!  This is so unusual for me.  I just wanted to be done with them, so they were there on time and I didn't lose them in the holiday mess hustle and bustle.

November saw me reach a major birthday - 60.  Wow, I can't say I'm middle-aged anymore, can I?  Yikes, that sounds so old.  I know it's not really - 60 is the new 50, right??  So, in celebration of my impending decrepitude, DH treated me to a more portable machine than my trusty Bernina.  I was having trouble hauling that hefty girl up and down the stairs and out to sewing/quilting events.  So, she has a new little Brother.  Except maybe it's really a sister, since it's PINK.  I need to go find some purple glittery "bling" to stick on it to mitigate some of that pink, which is not my favorite color . . . I would have preferred purple.  Oh well, I can live with it because I LOVE this little machine!  And it's so light and easy to move.  Now I just need to go to the free class the store offers to learn how to use that nifty needle threader.  I'm starting to feel older just because I'm having so much trouble threading that needle!  Darn tri-focals.

So, just what was I doing in November, besides getting older??  Let's see, we had a pottery show locally, had a birthday High Tea that was so much fun, went shopping (see paragraph above), went to the Puyallup Quilt, Craft and Sew show with a new friend (I behaved myself and didn't buy too much), went to Oregon for a "Pottery Party" that a friend does for us, visited with my sister the rest of that weekend, and then cleaned house like a mad woman and was hostess for Thanksgiving. Whew!  Oh, and last week we got to deal with a big snow fall.  At the end of all the snowfall, we ended up with 8 inches of the stuff!  I did manage to get to the store to buy the turkey etc. for the holiday, right before we got most of the snow.  (A week ago, our low was 8*F.  The pond was frozen until about 2 days ago.)  And our family managed to get here for the big day.  We had lots of fun and food.  It was grand!

Here's what our front yard looked like with all the snow:

Kind of puts you in the Holiday mood, doesn't it?

If you have a spare few minutes this month, here's some quilt photos to peruse when you can.  These are from the East Bay Heritage Quilters quilt show from this spring.  They're in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay area, with about 500 members.  There are about 10 pages of photos, with some truly awesome quilts.  And some fun liberated ones too!

So, now I'm ready to make my Christmas presents.  I'm hoping to be done early with that too.  But what I really want to do is sit and work on some of my quilt projects.  And visit all of your blogs.  Wish me luck!