Monday, June 20, 2016

Happy Solstice

Happy longest day of the year, Northern Hemisphere!  Also Happy June Full Strawberry Moon!  Which kind of sounds like a sketchy movie title, if you think about it: "Happy June's Full Strawberry Moon."  I think I'll pass on that film, thank you.

I have an unexpected free evening due to a glitch at work.  Of course, it's not really free because that means tomorrow I'll do double duty, but let's live in the moment.  In a little while, I'll take a nice walk as the sun goes down.  I feel like I should do something more than that, it being the solstice and all.  Like, oh, I don't know, twirl around in a stone circle with a couple of paper lanterns and a precious jewel tucked into my gauzy frock, all while singing the theme from Outlander

Sing me a song of a lass who is gone...say, could that lass be I?

Nope, still here.

It was Day 9 of the 21-Day Decluttering Challenge yesterday and the task was to "declutter your hobby."  And then I laughed and laughed!  But she added, "Or a hobby you no longer enjoy."  Okay, that's doable in a day.  I made a donation pile of vintage knitting, crochet, and cross stitch books because I no longer do those things, and drove said pile directly to Goodwill along with three other boxes of junk from Days 1-8 of the challenge. 

But before taking that drive, I happened to thumb through one of the books and saw this.  Moppets!

What in the ridiculous world?  

I think Moppets deserves a good caption.  "Moppets: For chills or spills!"

Eh, that's all I've got at the moment, but maybe you can think of one.  Leave it in the comments!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Summer Light

Even though I no longer have a school-age kid, I still think of June, July, and August as summer vacation.  Do you, too?  I love this time of year, right now, when the days are long and the possibilities seem to stretch as far as the sunset.  That sense of space and light and freedom.
It may or may not surprise you that I have no particular plans for the coming months, except to enjoy them day by day.  There are no big excursions in the works, though I'm sure a road trip will occur spontaneously now and then.
We have been doing some biking, exploring the trails by pedal power.  Also doing some recon on foot of other potential paths before we hitch up and haul the bikes.
We're out for the leisure of it, the warm breeze through our hair (or helmet), the sights and scents.  Not so much for the sweat and burn and saddle soreness.
After the first ride, my knees were griping, and we hadn't even done any real hills.  Since then, icing them down afterwards has become the thing to.  Not as much fun as tossing back a cold brew, but cold refreshment of another sort.  You do what you have to do.
In the sewing room, there's been some puttering.  I started this month's circles for the Quilty 365 project, and they started to come together as a beautiful garden of colors.  June's theme, as I imagined it back in January, was "Floral or Light Multi."  A change from the one color per month idea, and although I wasn't as confident as I may have been when the plan was hatched, I went with it anyway.  
Well, it turned out just fine.  I delved into the scrap bins in search of flowers and there they were, like seeds ready to bloom.
Although we're only halfway through June, I've got the whole 30 days together in a kind of neat bouquet.
My "scraps of scraps" sitting on the side of the cutting table are finding their way into made-fabric.  Not sure what may become of them, but have no doubt something will, eventually.
Other putzing has involved de-boning some thrifted men's shirts for future projects, and altering and hemming a few clothing items for summer.  Among them was a brand new pair of Cabela's women's capris with the tags still on them that I found at Goodwill.  They were unflattering on me as capris, so I shortened them into shorts.

I do have a project in mind for a quilt to donate to a local group that hosts a hunting event for veterans in October.  They have door prizes or gifts, and I'd like to provide something for that.  I'm thinking a Hunter's Star block quilt, but I'm just beginning to hunt for ideas, colors, etc.
We kicked off the summer by celebrating Dad's birthday on Memorial Day with 35 or so family and friends.  Here we are, the siblings and Dad.  Always a good time!
I am also doing the 21-Day Daily Decluttering Challenge hosted by Courtney Carver at Be More With Less.  It's Day 6 today, so if you're of a mind to jump in, feel free.  It's been very gradual steps these first few days, which is good, but already I've got a big box of miscellaneous things ready to donate, as well as a laundry basket full of sheets and towels from the linen closet.  I feel lighter already.

Hope your summer is off to a great start.  Do you have any special plans?

Monday, June 6, 2016

And the Winner Is...

It was so much fun to read your comments on the Crafted Applique blog hop and giveaway post!  The Crafted Applique method seems to have generated "New Possibilities" in the minds of many of you already!
Today is the day to pick the winner of the book so graciously provided by Lara Buccella for this giveaway.  I asked my husband, with his eyes closed, to draw one comment from the pile on the kitchen table (talk about low tech!).

And the winner is...BARBARA WOODS!
Congratulations, Barbara!  Your book will be sent to you directly by Lara, so look forward to that! 

Once again, thank you all so much for visiting and taking the time to comment.  There are a couple other giveaways still happening, including Lara's own for an adorably appliqued Zippy Seahorse Bag she created!  You can find all the details at BuzzinBumble.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

May Circles for Quilty 365

I got a little behind on my Quilty 365 circles during the month of May, but caught up at the tail end.  I had a couple other projects going on for the Crafted Applique blog hop (see yesterday's post—there's still time to enter the giveaway!).

The color theme I chose for the month was blue-green or green-blue, as in everything from aqua to turquoise to teal.  It's one of my favorite color ranges.  There's just something tranquil and restful but also light and joyful about it.  Gosh, it's more difficult to put into words than I thought!

Anyway, here is the group for the 31 days of May.  That brings my Quilty 365 circle total to 152.

I still don't really know how they're all going to go together in a quilt (or quilts), but that's all right for the time being.  Just going with the flow.

In my handwritten note, my idea for the color of the month in June says "Floral or Light Multi."  Well, that seems sort of wishy-washy now that I'm at this point.  But I'll try to navigate my way through the month of circles with that in mind.  Hopefully, once things get going, it will start to seem like the cohesive theme I must have envisioned when I scribbled it back in January.

Linking to: Quilty Folk

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Crafted Applique Blog Hop and Giveaway

Hello all!  I'm excited to be part of the blog hop today for Lara Buccella's new book, "Crafted Applique...New Possibilities."

Lara blogs at BuzzinBumble, and we met via the comments section of our blogs a couple years ago and became friends. She is a genuinely sweet, kind person, and I was honored when she asked me if I would review her book and be part of her book tour blog hop.  

I'm also happy to be able to give away a copy of the Crafted Applique book to one lucky person, so keep reading and leave a comment below for your chance to win!

Applique is something with which I have some experience on a small scale— mostly wall hangings and such—with mixed results.  I've done a bit of needle-turn applique and a few projects using fusibles.  I got a little fed up with fusibles at one point and tried some raw edge applique by just pinning things in place and edge-stitching.  A bit tricky, as you might imagine, and I dread it fraying or coming apart in the wash.  So I was really interested in learning about a new and different technique in Crafted Applique.  

Makes fabric fusible yet flexible?  Non-fraying even after washing, and won't gum up your needle?  Okay, I'm in!

There are some absolutely gorgeous projects in Lara's book.  The one featured on the book cover is my favorite!  The really cool thing is that once you know how it's done, the sky's the limit, and I predict you'll be off and running with your own ideas in no time!  Gotta love a book that not only has wonderful step-by-step instructions and projects but inspires and enables you to create your own right off the bat.

Let's try some simple shapes, for starters, I thought.  I'm often inspired by nature, and this year we've got an interesting thing happening in our backyard—some crows have decided to nest in the tall ash tree next to the deck.  They've been fascinating to watch!  I say "they" because crows are very social and cooperative birds, and taking care of the nest, and the crow mama sitting on it, is a family affair.

So with our resident crows in mind, I found a silhouette to use as a pattern for this mini-quilt, which finished at 10.5 inches square.

I love how it turned out!  It was very easy to prep the fabric, cut out the shape, adhere, edge-stitch, and quilt.  And it's reassuring to know that the sharp details of the feathers and beak won't fray.
For my next project, staying with the simple shapes theme, I thought about the effigy mounds that populate the landscape here in southern Wisconsin. Effigy mounds are large raised piles of earth stylized in the shapes of animals, symbols, or other figures.  

The mounds in this area were constructed by an ancient Native American culture known as the Late Woodland, or Effigy Mound Builders, between 800 AD and 1200 AD, likely the pre-Columbian ancestors of the Ho-Chunk Nation.
"It is believed that most effigy mounds fall into three classes corresponding to the three natural realms - air, earth and water. The cosmology of many Midwest Native American tribes consider these realms in terms of the upper world (air) and lower world (earth and water). Some of the prominent shapes in this particular grouping include turtles, panthers, canines, buffalo (bear), deer and birds. Long-tailed effigies, such as turtle and panther mounds are believed to be representations of powerful (lower world) water spirit-beings. Often times they are oriented toward a spring or water source."  (Source) 
Represented in my wall hanging is a bird effigy, top left, and then clockwise from there is a fox effigy, turtle effigy, and buffalo effigy.  The wall hanging measures 25.5 inches square.

I quilted this piece in a multicolored thread in a spiral pattern, leaving the appliqued shapes unquilted (thus more mound-like).
Of course in real life, effigy mounds are not as easy to see as a bright batik fabric.  You could walk by or around or over them and not notice unless it was pointed out.  In fact, the back of the piece more accurately represents how they tend to blend into the landscape. Thankfully, many effigy mounds or mound groupings have been preserved and marked, although innumerable sites were destroyed in the early days of agriculture and housing and industrial development.  

I've really enjoyed reading and working with "Crafted Applique: New Possibilities" as a guide and inspiration.  I can't wait to see what YOU will do! 

* * * * Giveaway! * * * *

What might you want to do for your next applique project?  What have you enjoyed or been challenged by in your experiences with applique?

Leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win a copy of the book, "Crafted Applique...New Possibilities"!   I will draw a winner from the comments on Monday, June 6, at noon Central Time.  Please be sure you are not a no-reply blogger, or leave your email address in your comment if you're not sure, so I can contact you if you win!

Thanks for visiting - and good luck!

And please explore any or all of the blog hop stops to see the way others have been inspired by Crafted Applique.  Here's the schedule:

Crafted Appliqué: New Possibilities Blog Hop - May 1st to June 5th

Sunday, May 1 - Introduce the Hop and post the schedule on BuzzinBumble
Monday, May 2 - Valerie Smith - Pumpkin Patch Quilter
Tuesday, May 3 - Dana Gaffney - Stormy Days
Wednesday, May 4 - Lorna McMahon - Sew Fresh Quilts 
Thursday, May 5 - Mary S. - Needled Mom
Friday, May 6 - Heidi Kuntz - Red Letter Quilts
Saturday, May 7 - Alycia Carmin - Alycia Quilts
Sunday, May 8 - Amy DeCesare - Amy Made That
Monday, May 9 - Sherri McConnell - A Quilting Life
Tuesday, May 10 - Lara Buccella - Sew Mama Sew 
Wednesday, May 11 - Christina Cameli - A Few Scraps
Thursday, May 12 - Melissa Corry -  Happy Quilting
Friday, May 13 - Sarah Craig - Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Saturday, May 14 - Soma Acharya - Whims and Fancies 
Sunday, May 15 - Val Reynolds -  Val's Quilting Studio
Monday, May 16 - Angela Pingel - Cut to Pieces
Tuesday, May 17 - Sandra Walker - Musings of a Menopausal Melon
Wednesday, May 18 - Cheryl Brickey - Meadow Mist Designs
Thursday, May 19 - Judy Murphy - Quilt Paradigm
Friday, May 20 - Yvonne Fuchs - Quilting Jetgirl
Saturday, May 21 - Cindy Pieters - Stitchin' at Home
Sunday, May 22 - Susie Zlogar - Susie's Sunroom
Monday, May 23 - Connie Kresin-Campbell - Freemotion by the River
Tuesday, May 24 - Ruth Bourke - Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner
Wednesday, May 25 - Kaja Zieslar - Sew Slowly
Thursday, May 26 - Ann Brooks - Fret Not Yourself
Friday, May 27 - Cynthia Brunz - Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Saturday, May 28 - Monday, May 30 ... Memorial Day Weekend in the U.S.
Tuesday, May 31 - Jenn Trott-Zisserson - Quarter Inch From the Edge
Wednesday, June 1 - Paulette Horn - The Way I Sew It
Thursday, June 2 - Sandra Jansen - Studio Sew of Course
Friday, June 3 - Christine Sherman - Triangles and Squares
Saturday, June 4 - Darlene Simmons - Quilt Shop Gal
Sunday, June 5 - Announce BuzzinBumble Giveaway Winners - Lara Buccella

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Hands2Help Quilt Finish

This Hands2Help quilt has been ready and waiting for quilting for a couple months, and this past week it was time to finally "git 'r done."

And done she got, with some lazy, large meanderings—kinda like me, he-he.  Well, depending on the day; I do have my industrious and focused moments.
This colorful nine-patch and snowball quilt came in at 62.5 x 62.5 inches when all was said and done.  It will be sent off to Covered in Love, the Tyler, Texas charity that provides comfort quilts to families of patients who have passed away in the hospital.  I hope it brings a much-needed quilty hug to a grieving family and a special way of remembering their loved one.
Glad I happened to find the thrifted but never used blue vintage sheet as I was planning this quilt.  Sometimes you tuck something away so well, you almost don't find it again, you know?  There was enough to cut the snowball blocks as well as just enough for a backing, with the help of a strip from the stash.

Linking to Confessions of a Fabric Addict for the final H2H roundup!  Click over and have a look at the generosity and creativity of all the participants this year.  You will be amazed!

And while I'm at it, I'm going to join the Can I Get a Whoop Whoop! link as well with this baby quilt I finished recently for my niece Kayla. 
I gave it to her at her baby shower a few weeks ago, and she loved it.
Last week her little baby girl arrived, and all are doing well.  Happy news!  

Oh, and one more thing I've been working on, but just a sneak peak (or two):

I've been trying some Crafted Applique using the technique Lara Buccella details in her new book!  It's been fun and I can't wait to tell you more about it soon.
Come back on June 1 when I'll be a stop on the Crafted Applique blog hop, AND you'll have a chance to win a copy of her book!  See you then!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

April Circles for Quilty 365

It reigned purple in my sewing room in April.  That was the plan and color I'd chosen for the month for my Quilty 365 circle project.

Three weeks in, there was the sad news of Prince's departure from this world.  His music was part of the soundtrack of my life.  "Raspberry Beret" and "Let's Go Crazy" were among my favorites, but there were so many more.  His talent, vision, musicianship, creative genius, and supreme funkiness will be sorely missed.   
"If you don't like
the world you're livin' in
Take a look around
at least you got friends..."

Back to the circles, it took some creativity to come up with 30 purple dots.  Purple is one of those colors I don't tend to have a lot of in the stash, but since I'm a saver of scraps and strings, I managed to scrounge up enough to cobble together.

Back in the '90s, I decided to paint a bathroom a lovely shade of lilac.  Afterwards, when shopping for towels and rugs, I found out how hard it was to match purple.  Too gray, too bright, too blue, too dark, too grapey.  I finally went with tan/cream accessories.

Which happens to be my background square color scheme, so we're good.  Perhaps the point of purple is to defy the whole matching thing.  Mess with attempts to pin it down.  Just when you think it's this, it's that.  I admire that rebel quality.

So we have grayish purples, muddy purples, happy purples, sad purples, grapey, spring-fresh, and quirky purples.  And so on.

Another fun factoid about my experience with purple.  Once in a while, I'll get a whiff of something—a flower, a piece of candy—and I'll say, "It smells like purple."  I didn't know this was kind of weird until my husband commented that he didn't understand what I was talking about.  What does purple smell like?  Well, not like grape, as one might imagine.  More like a certain clover, which is also the same (in my mind) as what purple gumdrops tasted like in my childhood.  Later in life, I found out this may be a form of synesthesia.  I do have number form synesthesia, when it comes to visualizing calendars and timelines, but there are other types as well.  

I don't smell other colors, as a rule.  I think it'd be really cool, though, if I did.  In a fabric store, would the smells all blend together?  If so, would it smell like brown?  And as I'm thinking about what brown would smell like, I'm remembering the modeling clay from my childhood.  I spent a lot of time with my nose within a few inches of modeling clay as a kid.  Not Play-Doh; for some reason, I just wanted to eat that stuff.  Modeling clay came in sticks wrapped in cellophane.  There were a few basic colors in a pack, but after a while, they all got mixed together forming a big hunk of brown.

But enough about my childhood eccentricities.  Who knows, maybe my brain got rewired when as a tot I stuck the silver butter knife in the electrical socket and woke up several feet away seeing stars.  And I do remember those purple stars!

With January's blue circles, February's red/pink, March's green, and April's purple, that brings me to a total of 121.

Linking to:  Quilty Folk