Sunday, March 25, 2012

iPhone-o-Gram!

The movie was hilarious!

We just stopped for frozen yogurt and I had to run out into the parking lot to capture the beautiful dogwood tree in full bloom.

Dogwoods are one of the symbols of a Southern Spring that make my hear soar! I just wish they lasted longer!!

Sampler Blocks, and a Free Kindle Book!

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon here. DH is tired of working on taxes ((I am so grateful for an accountant DH who takes are of all this stuff!)) and we are headed out to go see “This Means War” which looks really funny.

We’ve seen the preview a couple of times and it’s out now – so we are going! Bring on the popcorn! Oh, and I love my coke zero with 3/4 coke zero, and just top the last 1/4 off with some cherry coke please – YUM!

I finished the sampler blocks from over at Randy’s Blog. I’m all caught up! Here is a shot of my messy sort of design wall. It’s a very small area, and I know I’ll outgrow it but they look really fun up there!

I was asked where my love of cheddar and orange came from. I honestly don’t know. My love of Pennsylvania Dutch quilts from around 1870 started in the early 1990s ((Isn’t it terrible when someone says “the 90s” and you think it’s only 10 years ago or so?!)) It was my affirmation that yes, I could put orange next to pink, next to red and poison green and throw in some Prussian blue and chrome yellow and all would be well! And “true” cheddar to me was always shown best as a solid, not a print ---so I keep those in two different categories, one is cheddar, the other is NOT in my book ;c)

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It’s definitely BOLD! and BRIGHT! And – yeah, very CHEDDAR!

As to the freebie book….This one looks really good:

Death by a HoneyBee by Abigail Keam is free today from the Amazon Kindle store, and has received a perfect 5 out of 5 stars based on 5 customer reviews.

Category: Mystery & Thriller

Book Description:

Josiah Reynolds is a beekeeper trying to stay financially afloat by selling honey at the Farmers’ Market. She finds her world turned upside down when a man is found dead in her beeyard, only to discover that the victim is her nemesis.

The police are calling the brutal death murder and Josiah is the number one suspect! Josiah makes the rounds of quirky characters that can only be found in the lush Bluegrass hose country. Fighting an unknown enemy in the glamorous world of thoroughbreds, oak-cured bourbon and anti-bellum mansions, Josiah struggles to uncover the truth in a land that keeps its secrets well.

Reviews:

"Suspenseful, funny, and imaginative, DEATH BY A HONEYBEE is a fantastic read." Lynn Pruett, author of Ruby River. --LYNN PRUETT, author of RUBY RIVER

Ms. Keam has the makings of a very good mystery writer. . . . DEATH BY A HONEYBEE is an enjoyable read which will capture the interest of most die-hard mystery fans." READERS FAVORITE May 17th 2010

--READERS FAVORITE

With this we are introduced to a cast of characters and a storyline that, like honey, is sweet and delicious. Linda Hinchcliffe, CHEVY CHASE MAGAZINE, April 28th 2010

--CHEVY CHASE MAGAZINE

Whatever you get up to this afternoon, enjoy it!

Tiles, Tables & Triangles!

If you’ve followed along on many journeys with me, you’ll know I have a penchant for tiles and places they are used. I love tiles!

I’ve often thought that a simple hexagon tile floor ought to come with markers so we can color in the tiles to create any design our hearts could imagine. Might be messy on the socks, though --- so maybe make it a tiled WALL --- dry erase markers. Works for me!

My first day of classes in Burbank last week for the Glendale quilt show was Thursday ---other teachers had also arrived that day, or the evening before and had taught Thursday classes as well. After class, the teaching staff met in the lobby to be rounded up by quilt show staff, we were loaded into cars and caravanned to the Market City Grill in downtown Burbank. What a fun evening, and oh MY the yummy food!

But of course, what caught me right off was the vibrant tile designs outside the building ---and I bet if you saw this on your own, you would have thought to yourself “Oh, Bonnie would LOVE this!” and you’d be right!

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I loved the abundance of yellow on the outside of the building…and there is NO DOUBT what is on the menu, it’s plainly written in the tile!

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It was definitely a night for a gourmet veggie pizza for me. I saw one being delivered to the next table, and though there were wonderful fish and pasta dishes --- this girl wanted PIZZA! And it was yum….but look at that tile work, doesn’t it make you smile?

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Square in a Square and Flying geese..checkerboards around the door…and SCREAMING YELLOW! Yeah, baby!

But that wasn’t all to tease the quilty-senses….look at our dining table:

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It’s a paper piecer’s dream inspiration!

This was all inlaid stone, marble, quartz, some shell for the shiny bits, and all around GORGEOUS. I would so love to have a dining table like this – but quickly ascertained that it was way too heavy to check home as luggage…LOL But what a NEAT NEAT end to our quilt show day!

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Isn’t it just LOVELY!? And it was extra fun to ooh and aahh over the table with the other teachers: David Taylor, Larkin Van Horn, Mickey Lawler & Diane Pitchford! ((Yes, I'm name dropping, we had so much fun!))

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I’ve had geese and triangles on the brain ever since!

However, I’m not in love with curved paper piecing. So last night after the Big Clean Up in the studio ((interrupted by intense bursts of hail, thunder, lightning, and rain)) I drew up some little foundations in EQ and set to tackling my crumb bins. They are OVERFLOWING – and it’s either sew them up, or pitch them!

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I know these are more simplified than the table above – but it satisfies my need for something “Wild & Goosey!” I’m not sure how many I’ll make, or how big I want this to be, but I haven’t had an “extreme piecing” project since the Pineapple Crazy was finished. This will travel easy with a handful of scraps, some foundation papers, and I’ll have a great “on the road” project without having to pack the entire studio with me.

I know this post is late this morning. Since coming back from California I am still seriously out of whack on my sleeping patterns. This morning I woke at 9am! I never do that --- and it’s been this way all week. I think I’m over sleeping because I’m tired, which makes me more tired. I need some exercise, and some endorphins! But the rain hasn’t helped that -----today I NEED a spring walk around the neighborhood. I’m just afraid the trees I wanted pics of had all their blossoms pounded off in the hail storm last night. Sad smile

I just feel like I could lay down and sleep for a week, and this is so unlike me!

Enjoy your Sunday everyone!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

iPhone-o-Gram! Hail!!

We are under tornado watch until 11pm. I am of course in the basement as always---

I braved being pounded to get a pic of the hail coming down on my back deck---joined by much rain, thunder and lightning.

Definitely a good day to stay in and putter in the studio!

Horizontal Messes!

THIS is the mess I am dealing with.

Why is it that EVERY horizontal surface becomes a place for clutter to accumulate?

I fight it and fight it and fight it ---When I’m home, it might be for a few days or a week, if I’m lucky more – but often times I am in such a hurry to get things done because time is short, I don’t take time to always put things away as I am done using them….and stuff begins to pile.

Some of this fabric.

Some of these strips.

Some things waiting to be cut down.

Some are quilt trimmings, remnants of backings after quilting is completed and binding has been put on.

Different rulers I’ve used.

Cone threads left from quilting previous quilts.

Cookie sheets that were stacked with quilt parts waiting to be sewn --- are now empty, and also become a place for things to pile.

TOO. MUCH. STUFF!!

I can’t stand it any more! It’s a CLEANING DAY!

And maybe – if I get this all cleaned up, I’ll find the inspiration to want to sew something, because right now…..I’m just not feelin’ it.

Shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone I’ve lost my mojo. I know it will come back, if I can just get out of the clutter and BREATHE!

PS-- can you tell from the window that it is raining outside? It kinda matches my mood. Just sayin'

Quilt Patterns in the Snow ----

I received an email yesterday that is just TOO good not to pass on! ((Thank you Bill Tomlinson!))

I was so intrigued that I had to google this man and find out more about what he does.

This was the content of the email, interspersed with imagines too beautiful to be believable. I can’t imagine the intricacy of making these patterns in the snow wearing snow shoes!

An Interview with Simon:

Q: How long does it take you?
A: "Typically a large design is the size of 3 soccer fields and takes 2 days. In this context a day means until I get too tired to continue, how long this takes is mainly a function of the snow condition and how tired I was before I started. Usually between 5 and 9 hours."
Q: What inspires you?
A: "Most of the designs are simple geometric figures, or figures generated by repeating simple rules at different scales. In due course of time I hope to harvest pictures others have taken on these things during the process of making them, to demonstrated how it is done."

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Artist Simon Beck must really love the cold weather! Along the frozen lakes of Savoie , France , he spends days plodding through the snow in raquettes (snowshoes), creating these sensational patterns of snow art. ((Yes that design is in the SNOW – it’s not blue fabric!))

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How does he get this SO symmetrical?! I’d love to see this from above, flying in a plane!

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Working for 5-9 hours a day, each final piece is typically the size of three soccer fields! The geometric forms range in mathematical patterns and shapes that create stunning, sometimes 3D, designs when viewed from higher levels.

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Orange Peel!! Look at that snow texture!

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How long these magnificent geometric forms survive is completely dependent on the weather. Beck designs and redesigns the patterns as new snow falls, sometimes unable to finish a piece due to significant overnight accumulations.

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How do you get it so PERFECT?! Look at that sun just coming up over the mountain – so peaceful!

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Interestingly enough, he said, 'The main reason for making them was because I can no longer run properly due to problems with my feet, so plodding about on level snow is the least painful way of getting exercise.

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Gradually, the reason has become photographing them, and I am considering buying a better camera.” Spectacular art for the sake of exercise!

I love the perspective of this one with the buildings in the background, you can see just how large they are…but how do you graph something out like this before stamping it into the snow?

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I love this one, it reminds me of the 7 sisters quilt pattern.

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Don’t you think this guy needs to do a calendar as well? I’d buy one!

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Man, I am so inspired….I am literally speechless at this, and that doesn’t happen often. My hat's off to you Simon!


Friday, March 23, 2012

iPhone-o-Gram! Basket!

I used the easy angle for this one which means I could use 2" strips and 3.5" strips which I already had on hand.

I love this block in this size and could make a dozen more!

I'm having to do some "burn" testing with a lighter to be sure the fabrics are 100% cotton. Some weren't! Son wanted to know what I was smoking down here----funny!!

Back to the machine!
Bonnie

Tools in the Tool Box!

I love quilting tools & gadgets --- some play with me every day, some just come out when the right job calls for them.

My explanation to the DH about WHY I have so many different tools is this --- Why do screwdrivers come in so many different sizes? Or golf clubs? So you’ll have the right tool for the job when that job comes along.

Last night ---it was THIS BLOCK that required a bit of revamp on the triangle method I was using to get the results that I wanted.

One of Randy’s blocks for this installment of the 6” Sow-Along blocks is a traditional Cut Glass Dish --- only in 6” size it means that each of those triangle units finishes at 1”!

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Oh, don’t look too closely at my points, they don’t all match, and I picked out and re-sewed all I was going to ----it’s staying! I had tried my regular Easy Angle ruler, but the pairs of triangles were so small that they didn’t sew very well even with a stilletto for me.

How small is too small? I think this confirms it! So my choices were to either “Draw a grid of 1 7/8” squares – draw diagonal lines through the grid, and cut apart after sewing 1/4” on each side of the diagonal lines” Which WORKS GREAT – but my fabric was already in 1.5” strips ---Soooooo ----

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I pulled out my nifty Quilt in a Day triangle square up ruler --- I used this when doing the gazillion 1” finished half square triangles for my oak leaf and reel quilt that I unstitched and rearranged at the Gwen Marston retreat I went to in the Fall of 2009. You can read more about that HERE. Oh and HERE TOO. Such fun! Such a gazillion triangles…OY!

What I did for both the “Cut Glass Dish” block above, AND the triangles for the Oak Leaf & Reel quilt was to sew 1.5” strips into tube sets….stitching on both sides of the strip pairs, and then placing the 1.5” line ((Which is the UNFINISHED size of the unit I am making)) on the stitching line of the tube set, using this ruler to cut my half-square triangle units.

After cutting, very carefully open them up and press. And as always, clip dog ears! :c)

This DOES mean that the triangle units have bias on the outside edges of the unit, but there is not much stretch to a 1” finished square. A bit of spray starch before cutting can minimize any stretching, and I get very accurate very small units this way.

I don't recommend steam when pressing things with bias edges ---it can encourage wonkiness to happen!

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You just have to know that with a bias edge on anything, you are going to have to press carefully, handle cautiously, and even that bit of stretch and ease can work in your favor if you know how to handle it right! The only thing I would have done differently on these was to maybe press the seams OPEN. There is a lot of bulk in this 6” finished block because I didn’t.

But it’s DONE!

Now on to the other two blocks for this week, and to catch up on the bonus blocks that came last week too!

Out Antiquing!

With the price of gas these days ((And yes, I KNOW it is double what we are paying over in Europe and beyond, but it still smarts a bit here!)) I don’t want to make short little jaunts – I want them all to count as one big loop together to make the best use of my time and money. That meant that Post Office, Bank, Car Dealership, Sew & Vac and Massage were all on the same loop yesterday afternoon.

That also means that instead of running home with 2 hours to burn in between the Car Dealership where I needed them to PLEASE fix it so my new phone connected to the blue tooth in the car so I could talk HANDS FREE ((And they fixed it! Genious!)) and my Massage that wasn’t until 5pm ---I spent some time just browsing some favorite haunts that I hadn’t gotten to in quite a while.

You saw the machine from the Salvation Army store yesterday via iphone-o-gram. But what you didn’t see are the lovely antique quilts I found at a local antique mall! Some finds were sweet, some were funny, all had me running my fingers over the stitches wondering who the makers were, and how/why did they end up in an antique mall in hopes that someone would take them home and love them?

The first pic of course is NOT a quilt, but a machine – poor beat up piece of history, too abused to be of “Much” value, but I turned her hand crank, and she moved just fine. I wonder what was stitched on her? Wedding gowns? Baby clothes? Household items? The every day chore of mending and patching --- and maybe….there were quilt pieces that went under this needle too.

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This sweet green and pink bear paw variation caught my eye….at first glance I couldn’t see that there were bear paw triangles on the green squares…..it looked totally like an asymmetrical block to me…does it to you? But look:

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The pinks have faded…but I can see pink triangles around those green squares!

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And since it is spring, and Easter is on the way ---Let’s put the Easter bonnets ON the ducks!! It looks like someone got into Sunbonnet Sue’s closet and ran off with all her bonnets..LOL! The fabrics were really funny --- this one made it look like she had appliqued an eye:

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Maybe it’s not a duck. Maybe it’s a --- buzzard? :cD

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These just made me giggle ----with those bonnets just perched on top of the heads….but maybe if it was wearing the bonnet like SUE wore hers, you’d never be able to tell it was a bird at all, the whole head would be invisible? :cD

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I turned the corner to catch a glimpse of vibrant color --- drawn to it like moth to flame ---and found a double-knit polyester wonder ---- big triangles set in broken dishes with some checkerboard going on at the bottom end. It was heavy and stretchy, just a top. I remember my mom making pant suits out of this kind of fabric when I was little. That stuff was always kinda itchy --- and HOT! There wasn’t room to lay this one fully out --- cramped quarters and narrow hallways.

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Now this is more to my liking! Very springy cactus baskets 1930’s style! pink backgrounds, blue sashings, yellow cornerstones and baskets – and the basket tops are all scrappy. LOVE the large fan quilting!

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Isn’t this just sweet?! Definitely a good season for Easter Baskets!

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Lots of 1930’s love found yesterday. This top was tied as a comforter --- and used and used and used. Kind of sad to see it so shredded, but on the other hand, it covered those the maker loved while they dreamed. It lived its life as it was intended to.

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Here you can see the ties that held the layers together --- and even see the hand stitching in the lighter areas. It felt like it had a heavy wool blanket inside. It was only held together by random ties – it might have survived better if it had been quilted closer.

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A very funky double wedding ring with big stitch quilting and machine quilting too! Was this a multi-generation project?!

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The arcs were all big stitched in the inside, but the melons and around them were zig zagged!

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A tied wooly kaleidoscope, busy and fun!

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My diggings unearthed a treasure --- a feathered star!

All kinds of bells and whistles were going off on this one ----do you see the half round shapes in the center of each star block? They are all slightly different which gave me the clue that there were indeed different makers for each block. Look:

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Lovely red and cheddar and a sweet print background. Some of the melon shapes were appliqued, some had machine stitching, some reverse appliqued! All different kinds of skill levels.

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The points on this one are pretty precise --- and the round tops of her melons are machine stitched!

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Big chunky rounds…and evidence of a pen and ink signature or initials in the center….

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Close up: The ink…and the larger round half melons, appliqued, not machine stitched ---

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Love the pink plaid in the center! And this one had embroidered initials…

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Oh, I love the colors in this one! See how different the size of those half round thingies are? Don’t you wish you knew more about how this quilt came to be?

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Love this fabric combo too! Not to mention the cheddar/blue sashings! Still different shapes yet when it comes to those melon thingies --

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I love the simple red blue/cream combo…..and how the quilting shows up in this photo. Double diagonals in the border…simple echoing (twice) in the side triangles, and X’s in the corner squares. Can you see the machine top stitching on the melons?

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Sweet color combos! Yellow and pink and burgundy! Taller pointier melons! Only two of the blocks I found had evidence of signatures or initials.

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Lots of cheddar, lots of double pink….browns and blues, but something could have faded out along the way ---I love this in all its wonkiness!

And just before you think that’s all I found ((As if that feathered star didn’t completely blow me away!))

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How about a sweet piece of Americana? Look at these fun churn dashes!

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It had a wide red paisley binding, with curved corners. I flipped it to check the backing fabric --- somewhere around 1890-1910 as far as I can guess --- and my favorite of that time period – quilting in BLACK THREAD! I love black thread quilting!

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Check out this awesome block! It has Masonic Symbols – Compass and the Square. What an interesting novelty!

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I spread it out to get a better look. Do you see the churn dash with the two blue corners and two red ones? FUN! And I love that odd cream bit in the bottom border where they ran out of blue.

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And if you guessed that THIS is the one that came home with me ---- you guessed right! As much as I loved that feathered star – this is the one that called to my heart in all its simplicity!

And now I get to confess that it is still in the car because DH was home when I got home last night and I didn’t want to bring it into the house yet…LOL!