Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cleaning Cupboards for Closing!

Well, we almost have the van packed with all the extras from my various cupboards and sale items from many years ago (like the king-sized sheets for $2 apiece). Every little bit will help defray the cost of furnishing all those bedrooms! We close day after tomorrow and it is getting exciting. Our wonderful realtor got the bank to agree to fix the very minor things (like no electricity in the outlets on one wall) that were wrong even though it was a foreclosure. She has been wonderful. Our mortgage broker (who is also a dear friend) managed to get us a mortgage rate 1% lower than even around here for a first house, much less a second house -- guess we are a good credit risk! So the van is full to overflowing!

I always have to have projects to do on the road and at my daughter's house -- my hands are never, ever still. So I have fussy cut about 350 hexagons so far from my stash and from fabrics given to me by friends. I probably have another 500 that have been rough cut but which will be trimmed up while merrily going down the highway. I am cutting the setting triangles this afternoon so I may even have the beginnings of a top by the time I return and the "I Spy" quilt will be done by the arrival of my first grandchild! When I get back, I am going to cut of half yards of all the other novelties (unless big enough for a quilt back and I like) and get rid of the rest.

Now I never talk about politics and won't start now but to say that it is sad that there is so much horrible negativity from both sides especially in the local elections. I just don't see the point in skewing the truth and taking things totally out of context and around here it is both sides. Politics seems so much like religion in that you get stuck in your beliefs and then frame everything that happens around you in words to support those beliefs. I think it is great that so many people around here are registering with no party affiliation!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Getting Ready for the Close!

This is a constant sight in our house -- Warren's beloved cat, Mickey, begging for a treat which Warren will oblige him with very quickly. He makes his wants known. We have no idea how old Mickey is but we think he is getting on in years. We got him as a stray about a year ago and he fits right in with the other two seniors in this house.

Things seem to be moving at a frenetic pace on the new house and maybe my age is showing these days! Poor Lisa has been doing most of the work at her end as she lives a lot closer to the new house than we do. I have tried to do my share but inevitably it leads back to her having to make the final phone calls because she is physically going to be doing the bill paying. The last few days it seems as though everything I do has something wrong with it like missing digits in account numbers or misreading my own handwriting! I couldn't even get our local paper to cease delivery for a week until the third phone call (first two phone numbers were out of service!) Very annoying.

The good news is that except for the annoyance of losing a couple of days of transferring the money because I had one too few digits in the account number of the receiving bank, everything else seems to be done and we are down to the minute details. There never seems to be a day when there isn't one of those details popping up though.

It will be fun to camp out at the new house (literally as there is no furniture yet) and go to the local kite festival this weekend. I found out that one of the three branches of the North Carolina Aquarium is very closeby as well as a nature preserve -- yippee, lots of pictures and hopefully some nice blue crab at some point as well! The average yearly temp is in the mid-60's so I guess that is why there is a palm tree in the front yard -- NC always seems a bit north for palm trees but with global warming, they may be in Rochester before too long!

Monday evenings are spent learning how to use Photoshop with an awesome local instructor in an adult education class! His wife is a quilter and recommended the class as a good way to learn the software and she was really right! I spent the evening removing people's heads and whole bodies from photos!! What fun!! And I finally learned what a Photoshop layer is -- yehhh

This is one of my daugter Lisa's pictures from Namibia which had a big black shadow on the left hand side which I thought could be improved upon!

We learned how to do cloning and healing tonight and also layers and removing peoples and objects from pictures. Great fun!! I didn't even try too hard and I am sure it could be improved further if I took a little more time with it. Isn't it cool to be able to fix photos though!

I like to use my own photos as well as Lisa's as sources for new quilts. She has been to Africa twice now and would go again without a moment's hesitation. I had the wonderful opportunity to go there close to 40 years ago now -- an experience you never ever forget -- I still occasionally dream about it and going back! Of course we didn't have the wonderful digital cameras back then!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Many M's -- Marcia's and More Marbling

We still have roses in the garden despite the little bit of snow that was flying for a couple of days (nothing sticking). There have been years where we have had roses through December even here in snowy upstate NY.

Well, it has been a hectic nine days where we have gone from house offer to final mortgage commitments -- our mortgage broker said she set a new personal record with a nine day window! Of course my dear daughter and business partner said "nah, nah, nanah, nah" because I had said we could never get done before the end of the month! So next Thursday I head to NC and Friday we close and I get to spend our first night in the new house!!

I have done a bit of marbling the other day using a totally different pallette -- all browns with a little yellow tossed in for good luck. It isn't dark enough to use as background in my new pictoral piece but I like it and it will find a use!! Also the second prints were very pale neutrals which you can never have enough of!!

Just some of the marbled browns I was doing.

This is one of the many hibiscus very happy in their new kitchen jungle where it is a little warmer than outside!

This is the yearly kitchen jungle. Warren constructed a framework using pvc pipe and puts grow lights on top so we have our own little greenhouse in the kitchen.

This is the beginnings of Marcia's "orange" jacket. The top is a mola and the bottom is beautifully pieced stripes.

Yesterday I spent with Marcia and Priscilla and got really charging on the Bird of Paradise piece that I had laid out before the Ruth McDowell class. I used curves in this one and decided I would use some wild Kaffe Fassett fabrics in the background. The original was done using machine applique but I had always wanted to repeat it using piecing. I am liking this one much better so far!!

This was the bird of paradise piece where I was auditioning fabrics. I made several substitutions along the way before deciding that this area looked okay.

By the end of the day, I actually had sewn together all the sections I had put together during the day which was pretty amazing. It is always a surprise how fast this stage goes if you have done all the marking of the pieces.

This is the back of Priscilla's Koos jacket. She has already made it her own by adding some additional embellishment (and didn't we know that was going to happen!) You MUST check her blog for the pictures of her with the tigers!! The link is in my favorite links.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Marbling YET Again.....

Well, it is all quilted now!

After several days of all the excitement of getting the new house with a closing only a couple of weeks away, I am back with my marbling (of course). It is really so much fun to just throw colors down and see what happens. Sometimes you get some wonderful surprises! Today I decided (after finding yet another book in my marbling books stash) that perhaps I was crowding too much color on the size so I backed off a bit. Decided I liked the look of too much color better! The only thing I can emphasize over and over again is make sure you have a lot of difference in values -- just color difference won't do it, especially with the marbling!

I spent the better part of yesterday collecting those novelty prints and have been fussy cutting motifs each night! I did take a brief respite last night to FINALLY finish quilting the pelican. I am moderately pleased but will quilt "background" differently the next time -- more variety of line. It works but it could be improved. Now the next big decision is do I bind or just use facing? I will take it to my committee of two to help me decide tomorrow. I would love to hang the pelican in the new beach house but am afraid it would fly away with a tenant -- maybe just hang it while I am there!

The committee did decide and we all chose to go with a thin black binding which kinds of contains all the blue. I really do regret the way I quilted it as I wish I had used a smoother curve but no way am I going to undo it!

This was a second print taken from one of the leftovers. I got two prints from almost everything today. By the end of the day, I only had about 1/8 of an inch of size left and it didn't even come all the way to the sides. My problem is now that I can no longer find the white large trash bags locally so will have to order some more from the internet. I use these to surround the size in a box that I really like. It makes cleanup easier.

These next two are probably my favorites. I did my usual compressions and then added in some colors that were not very aggressive and then took quick prints.

These are two more of the same and I really like this effect so will do more. I was pretty productive all in all.

This was the first print from the new size and really was just three colors, a few strokes of a broomstraw and then a print. The first prints are never just what I want but this one isn't too bad as it has some nice dark lines.

The ladies called this one a brain MRI. A little different to say the least!

This is just more of the compressed and then speckled with color. I do like the look of these as they almost stand on their own as compositions. This was probably my favorite.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I am a Fabriholic.....

Isn't this the first step to recovery? Although not previously announced on my blog, I will be a first time grandmother (I know, I know my profile says that my children haven't had any children to distract me) and OF COURSE am making a quilt for the new arrival (March). With some luck, it will be done by his or her second or third birthday. What does this have to do with being a fabriholic? Well, I have collected novelty prints since the early 70's when all you could get was poly/cotton. These were all for those baby quilts or children's quilts that I would someday make.

About four years ago I had a MASSIVE garage sale and sold 90 Large boxes of fabric (gave away anything that I didn't sell). I didn't offer up any of this novelty fabric and it has lanquished in its boxes every since, occasionally being added to from current "can't live without" fabrics. Well, TODAY was the day to go through my own stash to find prints for the quilt for my grandchild to be!

Oh my..... I used to buy large quantities of fabrics I really liked -- just in case they stopped manufacturing fabrics, you know.... Well, I must have somewhere between 500 and 1000 novelty prints and lots of it in multiple yards... It really paints a picture of my particular interests as well... I mean, how many people do you know that own three pelican prints (probably close to 15 yards altogether)? Or 200 different kitty prints? Or 30 different fabrics with seashells on it?

Now, I don't know how many of you have ever been to a very BAD website called but don't go there as they have wonderful and very cheap quilting cottons. It is a very bad place for us fabriholics to go. I have no connection to them whatsoever except an unfortunate very satisfied customer feeding her addiction. I figure if enough people know about it, they will buy up all the nice fabric and I will save a bundle every year.

Another wonderful place for those addicted to good fabric but cheap prices is It has only been recently that they have a web presence but many of you probably have wished you could go to this wonderful store in Gastonia, NC. They are not as cheap as the above store, but they are filled with bargain fabric and a good selection.

Of course there is always Hancocks of Paducah( where occasionally I find some great fabrics at greatly reduced prices (like Kaffe Fassett fabrics). Anyone who has ever been to Paducah knows this fabric store and how much time (and money)you can spend there!

Well, had to state my particular addiction as part of my steps to recovery. Eventually, I will cut quarter yard pieces of most of these novelty fabrics and sell the rest on ebay or at quilt club, keeping only the ones that I cannot live without (my pelicans).

Friday, October 17, 2008

New House, Quilt Club and Class!!

Well, it has finally happened!! Our offer was accepted by the bank and so now my older daughter and I own half a duplex one road from the beach in Kure Beach NC. It is a 2500 square foot, many bedroom, many bath place that we hope to rent out during the high season and enjoy in the off seasons!! There is an owner's closet where I will leave a permanent sewing machine and sew while looking out at the ocean!

Yesterday was the October meeting of the Genesee Valley Quilt Club and as usual the show and tell was wonderful but it was difficult to get good pictures because of the angles. I contributed my excess Dear Jane blocks for the monthly raffle. I included over 180 blocks, the book and the notebook I made up with all the possible color combinations you could make of one block and the rotary cutting instructions!! I know the woman who won and she was very excited and gave me a big hug!! So that was nice!

I also had a garage sale for a dear old friend and new quilter who died in February. I surprised (shocked would be a better word) her husband with a very large check after the sale was over. I came in with probably 12 boxes of stuff and went home with one file box. I priced things to sell and they did!!

I also shared my vintage sewing trade card and cigarette silk collection with the vintage quilt group. I also showed them some of the pamphlets from the 30's dedicated to sewing and fabrics and written by Mary Pickens later known for her associations with Singer. There may be a few more collectors after they saw what I had!!

This is a piece done by Sarah Terry where she used a piece of her marbled fabric. She was in the same class as I was last summer and loves it as much as I do. She (and I am sure you also) can see the flowers in this one!!

This was an exquisite quilt by one of our most talented quilters. It is a surprise for her six year old grandson who loves cars. Toni is so so talented!!

This was a really fun quilt for Halloween which had all sorts of Halloween fabrics as well as the center panel. Just fit with the season. I got to wear my Halloween jacket as well for the meeting. I don't get to wear it that often!!

Today we had a class with Judi Warren Blaydon, a really well known art quilter. Yesterday she did a wonderful slide presentation on some of the quilts that were considered totally avant garde twenty years ago and how far we have come as quilt artists. The class today really emphasized the use of value in creating line, transparency and even sometimes luminosity. The setting was just beautiful and everyone enjoyed the class!

This is Judi with Mary Weiser who we don't get to see too often so it was a pleasure!

This is Judi and Pat Berardi discussing color placement.

These were Pat Pauly's designs which both showed her fabulous use of pattern and color even in the constrained format!

This was the view onto the pond from the shelter where we had the class.

These are examples of the transparency that we were trying to achieve.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Murphy's Law

You can be guaranteed that if you need your internet service, you won't have it! It is a good thing that I now have a laptop that I can hustle over to Panera Bread Company to receive emails if I absolutely have to! Like when you are signing papers for an offer on a house..... My next door neighbor luckily is on a separate internet/cable line from us so he graciously let me use his computer and printer!

Fall has raced up on us here in Western NY and the leaves are falling like snow outside. This will not be a fall like last year when we had the brilliant blue skies and peak color all at the same time! It has been nice the past few days but we are morphing into more traditional Rochester blah fall weather -- rain and clouds.

Finally finished pricing all the "stuff" for the sale at quilt club on Thursday and even managed to clean up the marbling area in the basement. May try to sneak down and do a few prints today. Sunday, I printed with the new 5 holes/inch plastic needlepoint canvas and love the effect -- somewhere between a traditional git gel marble and my total compressed efforts. Think I am on to something here.

You really have to double click on these images to see them better!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Somewhere Over the Rainbow...

Well, wild abandon took over today and I basically just tried putting every color onto the size!! It was great fun. I even really played and took a print from a tray that had a very different look -- just a total play day. Not sure what this looks like, but I liked it!

The problem here is that I never run out of things at the same time!! I either have fabric left over and no size or size left over and no fabric. So I do up a bunch of whatever has run out and then the other runs out. Time is creeping up on me and I have a whole bunch of OTHER things I must do during the next week so will have to stop marbling at some point..... but in the meantime, here are the rainbow prints. Who knows what I will do tomorrow but I did buy some 5/inch needlepoint canvas today and these were created with a tighter needlepoint canvas!

Just so you would know that I do something other than marbling, here is the progress on the pelican which you will have to double click to see. You will also note that I have used a lot of marbled fabric both in the bird and in the background near the bottom. Some was probably cut off by my poor photography! The beak also makes use of my salt dyed fabrics as they were the perfect color and texture for the bird. I have machine quilted the bird and the right half of the background and will hopefully have it all done soon. It is tough on my shoulder to do too much machine quilting at one time.

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's Not Over Til It's Over

A very busy day today trying to get ready for a sale at quilt club next week! Yesterday dear husband and I filled the back of the van with a deceased friend's quilt stash of fabric, books and "stuff". I have spent quite a bit of time today trying to come up with prices for much of it. She was a relatively new quilter but she had lots of gadgets and stuff, much still in its original wrappers with the original prices. Her husband was pretty clueless about what she had and was afraid to even touch her sewing machine. I finally have all the pieces together of that including the original sales slip! It will be a real bargain for whoever gets it! It is a Bernina 165 with the embroidery unit and all the attachments etc. It has hardly been used. If I didn't have pretty much the same model, I would definitely buy it and may still as a second machine!
It is so obvious to me how much I was inspired by Yellowstone Park as I think I am just duplicating the imagery I saw there over and over again with all these compressed marbled pieces!

Well, despite all that, I did manage to do a little more marbling and tried something different (of course!). I have been playing a lot with the compression of the marbled paints so today I came upon some plastic needlepoint canvas which looks like it has about 5 holes/inch. I cut it real close to the edge of one of the holes and I am using it to compress/comb the size -- very cool. It is certainly nothing like a traditional comb but also different from the flat edge you use during the regular compression. It did give a different look which I really like. You can see it most prominently in the above piece which didn't have a lot of color on it. So now I am on the prowl for other things I can use. I also have another weird thing I am going to try as soon as I find appropriate "stuff" down in the mess in the basement -- I know it is there!

I think it is time to switch to a new size as you can see the chalkiness coming out on this one but I like it anyway!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Trying to Bring a Little Cheer...

Obviously, these are pretty dark days if you have all your monies in IRAs which are in nice "safe" mutual funds..... Hopefully, I won't have to take any money out of these funds for awhile. Luckily, my dear husband has his money in cds so he may have to support me in my old age.

So, although I said I was going to quit for awhile, I am doing up more fabric as I found some nice cheerful colorways today so had fun doing bright cheerful fabric. Even my dear husband liked some of it (he's not a big textile fan).

How about some nice bright yellows and yellow/oranges. Looks like pumpkin time is here.

The second print from the above tray.

This was my favorite print for today with yellows, reds, purple and green. I used the same for the one below but didn't compress that one.