Sunday, December 28, 2008

100 Things Meme

Here's another meme that's making the rounds:

1. Started your own blog - well, yeah!
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland - and Disneyworld..want to go to EuroDisney and Disney Japan...
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo - I have an 'unreliable voice' - not something I would get to do - unless you count singing in the shower
11. Bungee jumped - not interested in bungee jumping..though DD said it was a blast
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child - had two..quite enough!
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty - I may have..not sure though - I know we visited the island that the statue is on...I seem to remember lots of stairs...
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked - not interested in doing this either!
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill - mental health days are very important!
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb - did hold a couple of geese (they are not really cuddly though)
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon - used to run track in HS...
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run - don't remember hitting one...and not likely to at this age!
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
- but..always could use more!
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing - but not with ropes
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
- at home.. not in public!
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
- well..it was a 'scherenschnitte' portrait - and I had a caricature done once
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
- if you count snorkeling in a swimming pool...I did have the snorkel, face mask and flippers on!
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
- was an extra in 'Seabiscuit'
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen - did help prepare food baskets for Christmas
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies - was 'Cookie Mom' one year too
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving - not dreadfully interested in this either! Ballooning would be ok though...
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check - not something I would deliberately set out to do!
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favourite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
- a few!
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
- and ONCE was quite enough, thankyouverymuch!
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book - did help edit several though
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car - and had to teach DH how to drive it as he'd never driven a stick shift..
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible - have read most of it...in bits and pieces..should read from cover to cover sometime...
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
- went squirrel hunting with Daddy...(yummy) and have caught and cleaned fish
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury - yeah..and got named 'Foreman' because I was wearing a suit...Note to self...do not wear suit to courthouse if picked on jury again
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
- or is that be owned by a cell phone?? DH and I even call each other when we are in opposite ends of the house..better than yelling...
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day
- many times!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Annual Christmas Sirens...

..or 'I want to scream!'

Every year right before Christmas, they have a parade of sorts in our tract - I think its for Toys for Tots - where they have a fire engine and a cop car (at least I THINK that's what it is..they never have come down my street - its a teeny tiny street) BUT I hear the wailing of those sirens and the loudspeaker and the air horns blasting away as they wend their way thru the streets.. not quite sure WHAT the purpose is..except to annoy all the poor dogs in the tract...and it goes on for over an hour!!!

I am feeling a bit Scroogey I guess...but this seems to be a bit of a waste...and it's sooooo irritating...I'd rather they played carols...

Oh thank goodness...they've finally stopped...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Orchid Convergence

At the last Arizona quilting retreat, one of the activities was learning how to make a convergence quilt from Ricky Tims technique. Not knowing if I would like this technique - you never know till you are done with the piece if the fabrics you have picked 'work' for a convergence - I used some sample pieces that I had gotten in a Rosie's Quilt Cupboard run a few months earlier. The orchid fabric came in two sizes and I thought that might make the convergence look more coordinated...picked out a green and a black from the pile of sample fabric and made the convergence top at retreat. Its been sitting in a zip bag as a PIGZ (Project in a Gallon Zippy) with its backing and batting since I got home..kind of buried in the stuff on top of my cutting table..I was looking for a cable template that I wanted to use on the Butterfly Heart...and found the bag..but no cable template (I ended up free handing the cables..) Thursday afternoon, I was in the mood for a little machine quilting, and this was calling to me...so I added the borders, fused the scraps of the orchid material and trimmed out what orchids I could, arranged them on the borders, fused them in place and quilted the center of the quilt! The next day I added the viney leaf quilting to the border, and the binding..Went together very quickly! And..I like it!



















Here is a detail of the larger orchid in the corner:

Butterfly Heart

I renamed the Crazy Heart quilt to Butterfly Heart...its finished! I put the last stitches into it last night. I blocked it by spraying the non-embellished areas with sizing..and ironing..but that made the wool a bit flat, so after it dried, I went back and steamed the quilted areas so the wool would puff up again..

Here is the full quilt. I love how the wool batting makes the quilting seem to pop out. Wool is my favorite batting to hand quilt...needle goes thru like a hot knife thru butter! I did end up having to tack the heart down - it looked too strange without it being tacked..so I took hidden quilting stitches along all the seams and it looks much better. The center butterfly was not originally quilted or embellished..but it looked poofy too, so I quilted around it...because there are so many layers at that point, I ended up doing one stitch at a time - it has much better definition now..I don't think I have seen the technique of using both encrusted crazy quilting and sane (traditional) quilting in the same piece..but I like how mine turned out!


















Here is a detail of the upper quilting...I added an orange outline of the butterfly in between the outline quilting of the butterfly feathers to make it stand out a bit - hopefully you can see it..the picture is a little dark to keep the flash from washing the orange out...














Here is a detail of the corner feathers - the butterflies are made of feathers too:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Crazy Heart Progress


Here's the progress so far on the Crazy Heart..
I have it stabilized..now to put in the detail quilting around the heart and in the border.
The brown edge is just the back pinned to the front to keep the wool batting from shedding all over the piece..I think I don't like the brown on the outer edge so the binding will have to be something else..probably the orange fabric.
It looks kinda wrinkly in this picture, but I am pretty sure its just because its been stuffed in a project bag...I am going to press it before I mark it for the detail quilting...
Also..the heart may need some tacking down on the interior..it's pretty stiff and puffy..
Older post about this piece is in September 2006

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Back in the Saddle...

Well hopefully I won't be as absent as I have been with blogging..I finally got a new battery for my camera, it's charged up and I can take photos again...

I joined the 'Finish 3 UFO's by 12/31/2008' Challenge on the quilting forum - I have at least 14 UFO's or WIPs... These are the three I am working on:

1. Valentine's Table Runner...this was hand pieced at Retreat 2007 in the Mystery Blocks Challenge that Lindahoo ran. I finished quilting it today and gave it a quick wash...it caused me sooooo much trouble! Once I got it sandwiched, I could not find the metallic red thread I wanted to use...then once I found it and started quilting..the red material stretched all over the place, even though it was pinned within an inch of its life and looked HORRIBLE...tore all of that out...got some regular Gutterman hand quilting thread...not much better luck with that (by this time I was considering throwing it in the trash!) ...so I popped my Big Foot on my machine and subdued this recalcitrant piece!!! It looked fine with just the machine quilting, but there were a couple of large open areas (the batting is fleece, so it did not HAVE to be quilted) so I added some hand quilted hearts there...now I like it! And its DONE!!!

This picture makes it look more pink than it is..the fabrics are really red and a cream color...














Here is a detail shot of the hand quilted hearts (sorry they are a little hard to see):















2. Crazy Heart Wall Hanging - which is in quilting now. UFO since 2006, when I did most of my crazy quilting. I am mounting the heart in a frame and quilting around it..it will probably get some braiding added to the border...

3. My Cow Quilt - it still is getting a bit more applique done, then will be quilted.
There is a story behind that one - when I was working on the 'Project from You Know Where' last year, I was working so hard and such long hours that I kept dreaming about the people from work...now..they are nice folks and all, and I like working with them (we had many hours of meetings every day) but I could NOT get away from them, even in my sleep! When I was a little girl, I remember my Mamma telling me if I was dreaming about something I did not want to dream about, I should wake my self up, turn over in bed and think of something pleasant..so I did..and there was a cow, out in a field, with a blue sky, and puffy white clouds, and some trees and some flowers...This quilt is a memory of that!!!

I will post pictures of the others later...

I've also done some amigurumi (crochet) too..a mouse and a cat..the mouse I gave to the Resident Quilt Inspectors..it's getting a wee bit ragged already!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

AZ Retreat 2008

End of February, I attended the Arizona Valley of The Sun Quilter's Retreat...oh my, what a lovely time I had! It was wonderful seeing my quilting friends again...and meeting some new friends!

We had lots of great activities - the Hostesses outdo themselves each year, plotting and planning and creating a wonderful environment for our retreat...

Here are a few of the things I worked on:
Charm bag - this is the outside...if I do another one this size..I think the outside pocket would look better with 4 squares instead of 2...overall though..it's cuter than a bug's ear!



Charm bag inside...has a piece of plastic canvas in a slipcover to keep the bottom from getting too baggy looking. The inside pocket is a good size and has a magnetic snap. One of the ladies put her magnetic snap on the whole bag..this might have been a good idea too! This was an extremely easy bag to make..I will probably make more of them!



Here is the Hawaiian Wallhanging that I have been working on since our trip to Hawaii...I started the applique in Hawaii and finished it off to be a keepsake for my DH of the trip...Batting is wool - I love working with the wool batting..it's a dream to needle and I love how it springs up and creates a lot of definition...



This is a Whimsey Ball for my DGD for her first birthday...It was very easy to make also..had loads of fun putting it together...a few of the ladies wanted to take it home with them!


This is my convergence quilt top - I am planning on putting a black border around this and using some of the orchids from the smaller print to applique on the top corner...along with some ribbons...I really want to try one of the curved convergences...this kind has way too many fiddly seams to match and that is not my favorite part of piecing!!! It was amazing to see how different the result was for each person's fabric choices...


We also had classes on how to do paper piecing using the freezer paper method, how to applique using the basted method and how to draw feathers...I noticed I am doodling feathers all over the place now! Just have to get a test sandwich together and try them now on the machine...

One of the other fun activities was having a Secret Sister...you put stuff into your secret sister's bag when they were not in the room and someone else put stuff in your bag and on Saturday night we had the Big Reveal! The Secret Sister that was putting stuff in my bag gave me some really terrific things! I do a lot of hand piecing and did not have a sandpaper board..she made me a lovely one..in my most favorite green color! She also put in some great marking pencils, a needle grabber, some tailors chalk and made the cutest embroidered pin cushion out of a large bottle cap...She gave me a mother load of wonderful batiks for the reveal gift!




Inside the sandpaper board - sandpaper on one side to keep material from sliding around when you are using a pencil to mark the pieces and the other side has felt for arranging the block in the order you are going to sew it...


The gal who is my Secret Sister likes penguins...so I made her a penguin pin cushion - "Peircey, the 'Pin'quin"...unfortunately..ran out of time before retreat to take a picture of all of the things I gave her so I don't have a picture of it...but it turned out cute!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Walking in this World - Week 4 Checkin

I continue to be super busy at work..I spent over 70 hours at work...hopefully next week will be alot less....the data for the conversion is looking better, only a few wrinkles left!


This week was about discovering a sense of adventure...and boy howdy, did I have an adventure this week - this is my 'Artist Date' for the week! The finance manager took a small group of us out for dinner to thank us for our hard work. We went to a sushi bar! I have never been to one...and promised myself that I would at least TRY some of all of the items that they ordered...They were a little surprised I could use chopsticks since the group of them had never seen me eat oriental food..I learned a long time ago and actually am pretty good with the sticks! (I forgot to take my camera so these pictures are off the web and not actually of our dinner..but representative of the dishes we ate.)
Edamame - this is one of my favorite veggies!


We got most of our orders sashimi style - meaning no rice...
These are representative on some of the items ordered:


we had fatty tuna (ok), octopus(interesting), eel (smoked and tasty), shrimp (any shrimp I eat will be cooked from now on!)...the shrimp heads were deep fried tempura style...and tasted pretty good! They are very crunchy!

This is sea urchin...it was tasty too...I have heard you either really like sea urchin or you hate it...I would eat it again:

This was my favorite of the sashimi dishes - yellowtail! Yummy....

But my very favorite dish of the evening was the plate of sweet potato tempura that they ordered for me!


Morning Pages - did them each day..I did have to force myself to do them though this week.
Walk - went for several walks in the little park beside work...it does help to clear my head. SoCal was very pretty for most of the week (it's raining again today though!)
Exercises - did not find time to get a new little sketch pad..but did pull out the sketch book I already have and added a couple of sketches...wasn't really able to carry it around as the excercise asked..maybe will try that later...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Walking in this World - Check In 3

Whew...this was a very stressful week! I had to make a couple of last minute changes to the conversion programs and the first two tries were a total shambles...got it sorted out, but was so stressed!!!
Don't know if y'all will find this as hilarious as I did but here goes....
Came home after one of my super stressful days - everything that could go wrong, did it seems, and then I had an hour and a half commute in pouring rain...I was more than a wee bit 'cranky' shall we put it...Got into the kitchen, knowing I did NOT want to go back out in the rain to a take out..blech!!...and the garbage bag was full...asked DH if he could take the garbage out...he was kinda resisting (after all, its raining)...I said I was making 'chicken curry' for dinner..he asked 'How do you make it?' and I said..'First, you get your shoes on, then you take the garbage out...'...He (he's an actor, remember) puts on his Country Bumpkin look and starts drawling 'Yanno, I may not know an awful lot about this here cookin' and such and I am a bit gullible, but I am purty sure there is NOT a recipe that starts out "First ya get yer shoes on, then ya take the garbage out" '...by the time he got done pronouncing that, I was laughing so hard I could almost not stand up straight...
Laughing was just what I needed though!

Morning Pages - did them every day.
Exercises -
Here's my collage. At first I thought I would not be able to do this exercise because I don't get many magazine subscriptions and the ones I do, I would never cut up! I ended up using ADVERTISING!!! A couple of flyers, a couple of catalogues and ad for a local Chinese food restaurant later, and here is my collage...

I am exploring my issue with little free time...


Artist Date - did not get to doing one this week...and it made me sad...
Walk - it was rainy most of the week and really quite cold...thought about it a couple of times and opted to just use my excercyle instead...

Road To California Report

I did not have as much time at the show this year due to having to work...the Progect Manager is kind of a Nervous Nelly and wants everyone to be there every day...so I only got to take a couple of evening classes...but the ones I did take were facinating.

First class was a minature landscape done with curved piecing..the technique is very easy...and the results very lovely. I did mine with batiks..have wanted to do a batik landscape for several years and have been collecting the fabrics...just needed that kick in the rear to actually accomplish it!

Here is the one I did - it needs its borders and I want to figure out how to add a birch tree on the left side before I finish it off..I am planning on adding some beading and embroidery to it:


and here is the one that my friend did - before trimming:


The other class was on exploring the techniques to using Shiva Paintstiks. A couple of things surprised me - first, the paint has a very definate odor..which I did not notice in the classroom...but only after getting the pieces home...and secondly, the brightness of the paints seem to fade quite a bit as they are drying..you have to leave them for 3 days then stick them in a hot dryer for 30 minutes to set the paint.


Here is a sample of stenciling:


Here is a sample of rubbing:


Here is a sample of torn edge:

Walking in this World - Check In 2

Catching up on blogging - this was originally posted on About.com/Quilting:

Morning Pages...did 'em every day this week...
Artist Date..my annual excursion to the Road to California Quilt Show. Cruised around by myself for a while, looking at the vendor show...took two clases..one in curved piecing for landscapes...the other using the Shiva Paintstiks...loved both of them...too tired to download the pictures though...
Walk....did oddles of walking at the show...
Observations...Expand the universe of what you are comfortable with - and don't let those that see you as one thing discourage you from trying something different, if that's your goal.
Exercises.. was quite giddly with delight to find that the answers I had written down for Size Shifting the last time I was doing WITW for questions 1 & 2...I actually DID this week!
I was also able to cross off 5 of my 'I Wishes' because they are done...and added 5 new ones...

Walking in this World - Check In 1

Catching up with blogging...this was originally posted on About.com/Quilting:

Check In
Morning Pages..did em every day but one...some days it's just a Morning Page though!
Artist Date...wandering thru Henry's and getting something for dinner that I usually would not...hummus and low carb pitas...
Walk...DH and I walked one evening during the rain...we walked in a covered parking structure and listened to the pounding rain while we walked..One of my associates came with me one of the other days and we walked over to the local eateries for lunch..SoCal is looking REALLY pretty since we had that major rainstorm, so its really nice walking right now (well..today wouldn't be - its 40 mph winds!)
Tasks - For the "What the Hell, Might As Well" I reviewed what I listed the last time I started this process...and lo and behold a bunch of things I actually DID do! So I crossed them off the list and added more new ones to take their places...
Observations - for me, the gist of chapter 1 was to not get into thinking that you cannot DO something unless everything is just right...by just doing small steps towards the goal, more will follow...kinda reminds me of the old saying about how to eat an elephant...one bite at a time...I have to beware of this even with the walks..my tendency is not to want to go walking unless everything is 'just right'..it's not too cold, it's not too hot, my shoes are the right ones, it's not to late in the day..