Sunday, December 26, 2010

Gifts made for others

Before Christmas, I was busy making gifts, so I couldn't post pictures because the recipients might be peeking.   Now that they have all been gifted, I can show you the gifts I made for others, at least the ones I remembered to take pictures of - some flew out the door as soon as they were finished!

Let's start with this quilt basket.  No, it's not the one I made earlier this year (or was it last year?) for me to tote things on road trips (it fits perfectly between the front and back seats of our cars).  My brother-in-law saw my basket, and thought it would make a great magazine basket, so I made him this one for Christmas.  The coloring is slightly different, with the stakes and weavers having slightly different shades when it dried.  The shape is also improved over mine, because I've had more practice:-)  For a short while, I thought it might not get finished in time for Christmas, because I managed to break one of the ears that attaches the handle to the basket in my rush to finish it in time. Luckily, the basket supplier was able to get the new handles to me in time to finish weaving and let it dry in time!


The pin cushions I made for a couple of my friends, Cathy and Ellen were from the same pattern as this chicken pincushion (pattern by Reets's Rags for Stitches), but I gifted them before taking a picture.  Theirs have a bunny jumping over flowers, and are so cute!

Everyone that saw my apricot / black swirling stars scarf, loved it, and I had read about weavers tying a new warp to one that was already on the loom, so decided to make lots of scarves for gifts, making two from each warp and then tying the next colored warp onto the ends and winding on, so I would be able to make them quicker.  I was amazed how quickly I was able to get the new warps on, and begin weaving again - about 3 hours, tops!!!  The other nice thing was that once the first warp was threaded correctly, I was able to tie on the others without errors, making it not only quicker, but more accurate!  Of course the 8-thread stripes probably helped keep me on track.

One of the blue / black scarves was gifted to my friend Cathy, and the other to a brother-in-law:

The fuchsia and teal scarves went to friends:

One of these black and white scarves went to my sister-in-law, and the other is still to be gifted to a friend.  You can tell from this picture that from each warp I wove one with all stars and if I had enough of both colors, I wove the second as stars with a band that had a rope-like design (same treadling, but only one color weft in that area).  If I only had enough of one of the colors, the scarf was woven with only the rope design.

I thought you might like to see a close-up:

And here's one of the black and white scarves, once the fringe was twisted.

I also wove a black and tan scarf, and also wove off the remaining warp of each colorway, both to experiment with woven colors and also to save for other projects.  A few were long enough that I might have enough for small purses or bags, but I'll decide that later.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Baking

There's been lots of cookie baking going on around here, and then making trays and delivering them.  This year my friend Ellen came over to help, and of course, she went home with some too, as I could never have made as many without her help!  The dining table was covered with kitchen towels for a larger cookie cooling area, and the bins at the end of the table grew, as the baking continued.  Many of the recipes are the same 
ones that my mom and grandma used, and a couple were my great-grandmothers! 

For frosted sugar cookies, I love the "Old Fashioned Vanilla Sugar Cookies" recipe, from Sugarbakers' Cookie Cutter Cookbook.  They don't just look beautiful, they taste great too!

Coffee Chips are an unusual cookie recipe that I got from my grandmother. Luckily I saw her make them, and remembered to ask for the recipe, because I've received many compliments on them!

This year, I made my great-grandmother's sugar cookie recipe with margarine, and the touchy batter was even more difficult to roll out, so they are a bit thicker than they should be, but taste good anyways.

Thumbprints are a family favorite, and my family has always filled them with frosting after baking, instead of jam, as many recipes say to do.

Some of the open cookie bins:

Happy Holidays!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Flower Show Quilts Book Winner

Happy Holidays, and thank you all for such nice comments!   Congratulations Dale Anne Potter, you're the winner of my book, Flower Show Quilts!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Time for celebration, book review and a giveaway!

Flower Show Quilts is packed with beautiful florals on patchwork backgrounds, and contains all the everything needed to re-create the quilts as I made them.  There are ten projects, from table runners to lap sized quilts, and not only includes the patterns and instructions for each design, but also stepped out instructions for my methods of turned edge applique, raw edge applique, foundation piecing, and even a section dedicated to free motion quilting!  While I was writing the book, I decided to make the table runner in three different colorways,  just to show you that quilts don't have to be made "just like the picture in the book", you can change colors to make a quilt you will be happy living with or giving as a gift.  When I was at Quilt Market in October, I saw one at the EE Schenck booth that had the flowers on a beautiful blue background!

If you already have my book, I'd really appreciate it if you would post a review on Amazon!

Last week I received an email from Martingale, letting me know that they were ordering more books printed, hurray!!!!!

I had planned to do a book giveaway closer to its release, and since that never happened, I figure there's no time like the present.  So leave me a comment here or on one of my Facebook pages (links on the right side of my blog page and below) and I'll draw a winner next Monday!  That gives you a week, but I'd advise you to leave the comment before you forget and miss the boat :-)

Here are the links to my Facebook pages:

Happy Holidays,

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Madrona photo shoot

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, I'm busy making gifts, and many can't be seen until after they've been gifted, and of course, there are some that may never be photographed, because I gifted them as soon as they were finished, so I have no pictures.  Anyway, I had to get the large quilts photographed today so that I can use the space tomorrow to set up the Christmas tree, and that means I have pictures to post:  Madrona today, and others to follow. 

Well, here it is at last, the finished Madrona quilt, taken while hanging, instead of doing my best to take a picture of it lying on the floort.  At 89" wide and 62-1/4" high, I believe it's the largest wall quilt that I've made so far!

Here's a detail shot of the bark.  I wanted to show the ragged look that the trees have as the bark peels away.

The trees and much of the quilt top were collaged into place, and then quilted, leaving all the raw edges to ravel and add texture.

The ferns were fussy cut from a batik fabric, but re-colored with Seta-scrib fabric pens.

And here's my photo set-up.  Sometimes I hang a black curtain behind the quilts, but not today.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Painting Homework

For those of you who hadn't noticed, I tend to work in batches and bursts, working, playing and learning in other media, which help me to re-fuel and also find their way back into my work (sometimes).  In the background of everything else I have had going on recently, I've been working on some watercolor paintings for the online class, Sketchbook and Watercolor: Journal Style class with Jane LaFazio, and thought you might like to see my newest paintings.

First the apple.  Simple fruit shapes are usually what artists are assigned to paint first.  I think it is because many have an overall simple shape that is easier to get started with, but then you need to find a way to make it interesting, by looking for details in the fruit.

Hopefully, I've managed to make it appear real in my painting:

While I'm not a fan of figs (too sweet), my husband is, and I wouldn't let him eat all of them before I had a chance to paint them too:

And then when he was out mowing the grass, he came across some beautiful mushrooms, and was nice enough to bring one inside for me to paint (I only kept it in as long as I had to, and we used gloves to move it, because we thought it might be the poisonous variety he looked up on the internet).

Crazy Log Cabin Puzzle

Right before I left for Houston, I finished my "Oasis" quilt, but of course, I hardly had time to finish it, let alone photograph it, so pictures will be coming...

The other night, I stayed up and finished Madrona!!!!  The only things left to do are sign, pres again, and you guessed it - take pictures, so those are coming soon, as well.

Since those were done, I was able to get back to my crazy log cabins, and I decided to listen to one of my readers, and fit the wonky blocks together.  Here they are in progress (sorry I didn't think to take more):

The secret word here is "partial seams", as that was how I was able to get them to fit.  Start with two that fit together and go from there.  Some areas were built, then seamed together, leaving the ends unstitched, so that I would be able to continue the seam later.  To fit the last areas together, I marked where one edge overlapped the other, and then cut, adding a 1/2" overlap. 

Here's a close-up:

Monday, November 08, 2010

Painting With Jane LaFazio - continued

I'm way behind on my homework in Jane's class (Sketchbook & Watercolor:  Journal Style, at Joggles), but making progress (yea, I still have quite a bit of a mess to clean up after bringing all the vendor booth stuff home, but I'm temporarily ignoring it, in order to get things done that need to get done right now).  Last night, I drew and painted a Sweet dumpling squash, beginning with a pencil drawing, ink, and then painting.  I wish my pictures were better, but at least I'm showing my "model" and the painting:-)

This morning, in between, bouts on the computer, I've been painting again, this time a dark green winter squash that didn't have a label.  I'm thinking it might be a Kabocha squash, but don't know for sure.  This one was "straight to pen", drawing with my pen without a pencil sketch to start with:

BPQ Vendor Booth

For those of you who weren't able to make it to the Block Party Quilt Show, I thought you might like to see some pictures from my booth.  My friend, Ellen helped me with the entire show, from set-up through take-down, as well as helping me sell books at my lecture at the Stray Threads Quilt Guild meeting on Thursday night (yep, it was on the same day as set-up, so I needed all the help I could get), and I have to say, I wouldn't have been able to do it without her.  THANK YOU ELLEN!!!

Setting up the booth was a bit tricky, as we had to leave space to add my book quilts in the hour before the show opened, because I needed them for my lecture on the night before.  Here's how the booth looked on the first couple of days:

I realized that I should have hung the poppies at the top of the booth, so it would be at eye-level, but when you've got less than an hour to decide and hang 11 quilts, you just want to get them up.  At the end of the day, we rearranged a couple to make the booth look better:

Inside the booth, there was even more to see:

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Lecture / BPQ show / Raffle Quilt / Vendor Booth

This is such a busy time for me, but all fun stuff!  This coming weekend is the Block Party Quilt Show is Issaquah, WA, and I have a vendor booth!  With the book release, and just returning from Quilt Market,  it's busy around here!  Tomorrow I'll be setting up my vendor booth at the Block Party Quilters Show, as well as lecturing at Stray Threads Quilt Guild, tomorrow evening, and Friday, through Sunday I will be found at the show, tending my booth.  Luckily, my friend Ellen came to my rescue, working on things that needed to be done while I was gone, and also helping me at my lecture and also in the booth through this weekend.  

The Block Party raffle quilt was designed by me, but made by the quilt guild (I did participate in the sew-in for the blocks) and tickets can be purchased for a chance to win it.  For more details, you can visit the guild website here.  So far, I hadn't been able to get an unobstructed picture of the quilt, but today this one came in my email:

If you get to the show, please stop by and say hi at my booth.  I'd love to meet you!

Quilt Market - Day 3

Monday was another fantastic day at Quilt Market for me.  When I arrived at the Martingale booth for my book signing, there was already a line!  Many of the shop owners purchased more than one book for me to sign, and some told me they sold out quickly and had to re-order.  One lady told me that the books came in and never made it out of the back room!

Have you seen the Slice fabric cutter?  It's an amazing little cutter that can cut fabric with fusible web attached - what an accurate way to cut appliqu├ęs!  On Sunday and Monday I watched as they gave several away, and it's possible that they had given some away on Saturday, but I missed it.  Just being there for the giveaways was a lot of fun, even if I didn't win one, although I guess it could go on my Christmas wish list.....

Of course, I did do some shopping while I was there, first at sample spree, and then more from the show floor.  Part of my purchases are destined for my one of a kind art quilts, while I plan to use others for new designs in the future.  I'd show you a picture, but they won't arrive for about a week, since I had to ship them home, and one won't arrive until mid to late December, because it isn't scheduled to start shipping until then.

I've been looking for arches to photograph, and was surprised to find some just across the street from the hotel I was staying in:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Houston Quilt Market - Day 2

It was another wonderful day at Quilt Market!  As my only day without a "schedule", I was able to check out the quilt show, browse the vendor area, make new friends and more!  Being a new author, I just had to check and see who had it on display in their booth (besides my publisher, Martingale / That Patchwork Place), and the first one I located was in the Checker booth:

The next one I found was in the United Notions booth:

When I finally made my way to the E.E. Schenck booth, I noticed that they also had my book (sorry, no picture, because my camera battery died), and when the sales lady noticed me and asked if she could help, I said I had just noticed that they were carrying my book, and came to find out that they had done a demo of my table runner earlier today!  I also was able to meet the lady who did the demo and see her quilt top, and only wish I had been able to take a picture and remember her name.  Thank you E.E. Schenck!!!

Now yesterday, when I ran into Libby Lehman and Elinor Peace Bailey I would have liked to have taken their picture, but again, my camera battery had already run out (I've got to get a new battery or camera), but when I ran into Libby again today, she posed for me to take one for my blog.  If you ever get a chance to take class with her, go, you'll learn a lot, even if you've been quilting for years!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Quilt Market - Wish you were here...

I'm having so much fun here at the Houston Quilt Market!!!

Yesterday, was schoolhouse day, and I've received compliments on the presentation I did for my book, Flower Show Quilt.  One of the nicest compliments, was a shop owner that enjoyed my presentation enough to bring a friend with her to my demo this afternoon, because she wanted to share my book and quilts with her. (While I wasn't able to take pictures of myself speaking, I'm looking forward to receiving some from a friend and hope to post them soon.)

I also had a chance to meet quilt shop owners in person, like Terry, who has scheduled all three trunk shows for my book, Flower Show Quilts to arrive at her shop for different months next year!

When I stopped by the APQS booth, I was invited to return to their booth after my book demo to quilt on George, and of course, I took them up on it and came back to quilt for a while in their booth.  While satisfying my need to be quilting, Heidi took a picture of me with their George!

Tomorrow, I'm planning to check out more booths, as well as take some time to see quilts on exhibit.  I know there is never enough time to see everything (at least not as long as I'd like to spend looking at everything), but  I'll take my camera with me, and see how far I get!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

To Market, To Market,.....

I'll be leaving for Quilt Market on Thursday, and don't know if I'll get too busy to post again before I leave, so thought I'd take the opportunity to let you all know what I'll be doing and where to find me.  I'm hoping to have internet access on the road, so you should be able to email me (links can be found on my blog and website) if you'd like to meet up while Im there!

October 29 - Flower Show Quilts Schoolhouse Presentation at 3:45 pm in room 362D at International Quilt Market, Houston, TX

October 29-November 1 - International Quilt Market, Houston, TX. I'll be in the Martingale / That Patchwork booth #908, for a demo at noon on Saturday, and book signing at 10:30am on Monday.

Painting With Jane LaFazio

In between everything else, I'm also taking an online class, Sketchbook and Watercolor:  Journal Style at Joggles with Jane LaFazio.  I must admit to be behind with my homework, but am reading the lessons as they are posted, and hoping to catch up later.

This past weekend I was able to do a couple quick paintings in a tiny journal in my hotel room, from leaves collected outside.  The lesson was on "green" leaves, but sometimes we have to make do, and use what we can find, and since the leaves had turned in that area, mine aren't green.  When painting the first one, I forgot to leave some white (oops), but I remembered when painting the second leaf.  I do love the way the second leaf came out, and am hoping to do more painting in the future.