Monday, November 30, 2009

Following the Sun

Well, despite dire warnings about the weather today, it has been beautiful and sunny all day although the breeze picked up enough that I came inside in the late afternoon! Again t-shirt weather so we follow it to Florida this week!

These are our resident ibis feasting on a neighbor's lawn. The books say that the northern range for the white ibis is S. Carolina but I guess since we are so close..... the barrier islands nearby provide rookeries for a lot of sea birds.

The pelicans were truly going nuts today and I consistently saw 20-30 of them diving continuously in the shallow water off our beach. This went on pretty much the whole day.

My bird book is packed away so I can't identify this pretty little fellow. He is not familiar to me at all! I frequently get a glimpse of many small birds around here as well as the everpresent mockingbirds. The woods are just two blocks behind us. Well, one of my Facebook friends (my best friend in elementary school) identified this bird as a loggerhead shrike and I think she is right on! My picture is a bit fuzzy as it was taken from quite a distance.

Our roses are still blooming like crazy with lots of buds. Don't know whether I should dead head all the rosehips. This is a pretty hardy beach rose!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Kure Cure

There is nothing like watching the dolphins jumping in the water from your deck in your tshirt to make you feel relaxed! The biggest problem is getting any work done -- quilting or otherwise! Despite that, we managed to get a full Thanksgiving feast on the table yesterday. We had just a lovely time but Lisa will be leaving with our kitties tomorrow and we head to Florida early next week .

I stopped by the little lake in the middle of the next town (Carolina Beach) to take pictures of the Coots. These are striking black birds with white beaks. I couldn't get too close as they were down at the end of the lake this morning but there were certainly a lot of them. The mallards were also there and obviously expected to be fed as they jumped out of the water and walked up to me as soon as I arrived. There was also a fairly substantial group of ibis on the grassy peninsula going into the lake but the sun was right behind them so no pictures today!

Just more of the Coots!

Of course, I had to include a couple of pictures of my beautiful granddaughter Amelia with her big brown eyes! Her parents tell me that all she wants to do these days is walk around with either mom or dad holding her up.

She has two bottom teeth now and spends her time chewing on everything.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Back to Kure for Thanksgiving

Well, it was a long drive down to Lisa's with the two kitties in the back seat but they were real travelers and gave us no trouble whatsoever! We have a dog kennel with a second floor. One kitty really was totally ho-hum about the whole experience while the other let us know that it sucked, but he wouldn't give us any trouble as long as we didn't do it every week! They both were perfectly quiet!

Upon arriving at Lisa, I found a dvd with pictures of all the quilts in the Holy Mola Challenge hosted by Pat Pauly. Priscilla Kibbee and Marcia Decamp (links are on the side) both have pictures of all of the quilts, taken by both Pat and by Marcia at the dinner that was held. Marcia won the prize for the best but I managed to get one of the two honorable mentions as well, so I was pleased! Pat Pauly got the Viewers Choice which was my choice as well, even though I didn't officially vote!

We spent a couple of days in Charlotte at Lisa's trying to intermingle the two kitty families which met with only partial success. They will have three weeks to come to grips with this while they stay with Lisa while we are in Florida in December!

We made it down to the beach house a couple of days ago but the weather was iffy for awhile. It brightened up today and we celebrated by walking down to the pier to watch the fishermen and then on to the newly constructed boardwalk addition! The air temp had to be in the high 60s and the skies were a bit cloudy but the sun peaked through a bit! It was glorious to sit outside on the porch, watch and listen to the ocean and finish my book in a t-shirt
This is looking out to pier. There were not many fishermen but they were catching lots of fish -- whiting, sand sharks and some skates.

Now a pelican for me is not all that surprising. However, this is the FIRST time in all the years that I have been to NC that there were pelicans actually sitting on the pier. I see tons of them and have for years flying overhead and diving for fish but never landing! There were two on the pier today. These were both mature birds.

We also saw quite a flock of ibis as well as a pond full of American Coot. I will get picture of these before I leave but couldn't from the car!

This was one of the many cowbirds (at least I think it is a cowbird) that were hanging around the fisherman.

Here is the cowbird, up close and personal. They are obviously very unconcerned by all the humans as were the pelicans!

Now I picked up these very odd seed pods from the ground on the way to our walk. They are about 3 inches long, prickly and quite heavy. They look like pine cones but came from a tree that looked suspiciously like a magnolia. Well, after some research, I found it was a magnolia, probably a grandiflora which is supposed to grow well in coastal areas and is an evergreen. These are great pods! Evidently the seeds are a brilliant red but I don't remember seeing them! I saw two of these trees on my walk.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

GVQC 2009 Fall Migration

To the left are the two "market bags" that I made during the day. I was hoping to get at least one more done. The bags are fun and I tried two different ways of putting them together and decided to go with the way that the authors intended! The "fabric" for the two totes was originally a quilt top made from all my discarded pieces of hand painted fabric from my early efforts. I cut them all up and made a lovely quilt top which was about the right size for a baby quilt -- but who wants a baby quilt made from hand painted fabrics that are a little rough and won't like to be washed and dried a million times. I held onto them for probably 8 years, decided I would use in a jacket and then discarded that idea because I just don't wear those colors! So, they are now very practical totes! This is a really nice pattern called "Market Bag" put out by Country Quilter. It is just the right size for going to the market. I am going to make some out of denim in hopes that the kids will use them. These two bags are lined with commercial fabrics (the pockets on the outside are also that fabric) and interfaced with a very heavy fusible interfacing but I may try a single layer of fabric only for "foldup-ability".

Once a year, Roz Smith and Janet Root have planned and hosted this Fall Migration day at a local party house where we just sew and hopefully meet a few new people. It has become so popular that last year they went to two separate days and this year as well. The second day this year was not as heavily attended so we will probably go back to one day again next year but let's hope not!

This was the pattern choice for this sewing day. It was a block originally designed by Katie Pasquini-Masopaust. It is called "Dancing Log Cabins". Katie gave Janet permission to use the pattern (afterall, Janet has a quilt in one of Katie's books!).

Part of the fun of the day is the custom of taking an object and passing it around the room. Each time you pass it, you pass it to a person you don't know or don't know well, you tell a little about yourself and find out a little more about the other person. This is Marcia Birken who just joined the club last May. She was very interesting and was doing a lovely log cabin. I found out that she had been a professor of math at RIT and was extremely interested in pattern in nature and that is how she came to quilting. Her first love was photography and now runs a small business marketing her nature photos which are awesome. Here is her website:

This is Laureen and Sue, a mother and daughter "team" who I met as part of the "get to know you activity". They are both relatively new members of the club as well. Laureen does environmental consulting when not quilting!

This is Betty Bufano's completed block for show! Can't wait to see the completed quilt!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

GVQC November Meeting

This was one of the Sudoku quilts done by Lois Kuh. Her grandson actually quickly noticed when two pieces were out of place!! (I am a big Sudoku fan.)

It was a pleasure to see that the quilt club had decided to dedicate some of our money to co-sponsoring with Arts Council of Greater Rochester, grants for fiber artists. What a wonderful idea and it will be exciting to see who applies for the grants. It was also a pleasure to see that we are again sponsoring the quilt group which is under the auspices of Compeer, a local peer mentoring group here in Rochester. Because all funding has been cut severely here in the state, it was good that the Club saw fit to send a generous check in their direction!

As always, Show and Tell was one of the highlights and I always find one or two pieces that just intrigue me and today was no exception!!

I absolutely loved these next two quilts!! I couldn't find out the maker's names as I wasn't watching when she was talking (taking pictures instead). The colors are just wonderful and fun scrappy quilts -- I love scrap quilts!

Pat has told me that the two quilts were by Vickie Coykendall for her two nephews! They are wonderful!

This quilt was basted today and now one of our star quilters (Ann Nash) will finish the hand quilting. She is an incredible quilter who is expert in all phases of applique and quilting! Can't wait to see this done -- her quilting is exquisite! She shows her Welsh roots here as well. She has done some awesome wholecloth quilts as well.

Marcia Eygabroat showed an awesome quilt as well but didn't photo it as it hasn't appeared on her website yet. She is a member of our RAFA group.

Our speaker was Paula Schultz who owns a shop called Cottons, Etc. in the central part of the state near Oneida. She is a wearable artist and did a trunk show for us today as well as spoke on her inspirations. She had quite a variety of garments that she shared with us and encouraged us to enter juried competitions and challenges.

This was a lovely outfit. The brightly colored piece is finger weaving. Just loved the look. Hmmmm....
This was her Matisse jacket and the quilting was beautiful.

This was a full coat done in a Rachel Clark class at QBL.

This was a crazy quilt jacket. It is almost plain on the back except for a small crazy quilt decoration. She wanted the excitement of seeing the look on people's faces when she turned around.

Busy = No Blogs!

Today is the beginning of a small break in my week!! The first three days were spent at Marcia's on the Great Turquoise Jacket Challenge. This was initiated by Priscilla when Marcia and I were drooling over some macrame belts she got from Mexico many years ago. She wasn't willing to part with them at the time but challenged us to make turquoise jackets at some point (after the orange jacket challenge).

Monday I appeared at Marcia's house with a full bag of turquoise fabrics, ready to begin! Marcia, however, had to finish her Holy Mola Challenge quilt and Priscilla was finishing up a jacket she was calling a "turquoise" jacket. She had already begun it at a retreat the week before -- yes, it does have a couple of turquoise pieces but..... So looks like I may be the default winner of the 1st Turquoise Jacket Challenge. There is already talk of the 2nd Turquoise Jacket Challenge. Not to worry, as Priscilla would say, I have enough turquoise fabrics and there is always 1000's of if I run out!!

The above picture is Priscilla helping our guest for the first two days, Genie Barnes who is a quilt icon here in NY. I had met Genie before but had never sat and talked with her so looked forward to the opportunity! And I was right!! She is a fascinating woman with a wealth of information and enough energy for 10 people despite having some severe physical constraints. Within the first hour of talking to her, she told of her cousin Michaela Odone who was quite famous for researching and creating a treatment for adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) despite having no medical or scientific background. At the time, there was no research being done for this rare condition and there was obviously no treatment. The treatment they developed was called Lorenzo's Oil and named for their son who was diagnosed with this inherited disease when he was only five or six for those who remember the movie made from this story back in the 90's with Susan Sarandon and Nick Nolte. I thought it was a fascinating story when I saw the movie back then and it was even more interesting to hear of the "behind the scenes" . Genie said that Lorenzo only died recently but that his mother (her cousin) succumbed to a very fast moving lung cancer six or seven years ago (she didn't smoke).

This was the rank beginnings of the back of the jacket. I decided to go with simpler this time although this is nothing like what I had envisioned and nothing like what I wrote down!! It is turquoise though. The main print is a Philip Jacobs fabric that I love but I did include some of my hand dyeds and marbled fabric as well.

To the left is the winning Seminole strip to go with the Mexican belt in the front of the jacket. Below is the one that lost as it read too light when placed next to the Mexican belt (it is this intricate macrame and beautiful). Probably if you click on the picture to make it bigger, you can see it. The "losing" Seminole piece will be the centerpiece of each of the sleeves.

This is the back almost all put together.

This was the beginnings of Priscilla's jacket front on the first day when she was auditioning her fabrics and Seminole strips.

It is sometimes hard to start these jackets as you just have several pieces of white flannel staring at you as well as a pile of fabrics and no idea where to go!! Priscilla's suggestion for a good way to start is first to slim down your pallette to a manageable sized pile of fabrics that really complement each other. Another quick hint is to make some strips sets or to make some Seminole strips. It gets you moving and things then seem to fall into place. Priscilla asks well placed questions as you move along designed to help you make your fabric and design decisions. She is not shy about suggesting a change in fabric or design but is never insistent about it but often gets you to question what and why you are doing something. Sometimes you are doing it for the wrong reasons and that becomes evident when you say it out loud! However, it is our designs and she never violates that but just tells us not to whine later!!

This is the front of Priscilla's "turquoise" jacket number 1. There is some turquoise in it but......see for yourselves! She basically is making fabrics which she will then shape into her jacket sections.

This is the back section of the jacket almost complete.

This is of course both the "boys" on their new cat tree. George is the high man this day! He is no longer afraid to run all the way to the top!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Mola Challenge and RAFA - November Meeting

The deadline for the Mola Challenge is November 15. This was a challenge by Pat Pauly to our RAFA group. We all own numerous molas which we have purchased from Priscilla Kibbee. We were to pick one of our favorites and make a quilt inspired by some aspect of the mola. Pat actually found someone from outside who will act as a judge. The prize will be a mola!! A dinner (which I can't attend) will follow up to celebrate the completion. I figure everyone is pretty much finished by now so letting the cat out of the bag will be okay! We have to turn them in next week at quilt club and I certainly hope everyone gets up for show and tell!

This quilt is about 45 inches x 60 inches. One of the criteria was that it had to be larger than 24 x 24. I have used all of my own hand dyed fabrics for this and designed all the blocks using EQ (Electric Quilt). It looks pretty simple but trust me it wasn't!! The strips on the triangles were two different sizes so they would elongate and those spirals -- you won't believe how many times I pieced some of those as it would look right for two rounds and you would reach an impasse -- also the reversing -- not pretty. I also drafted the leaves for the paper piecing (which I hate to do by the way but thought it would be faster -- not sure it was!!). Don't know whether this is the quilted picture or not as who sees quilting on black!! It is minimally quilted (stitch in the ditch and some background) as well as heavily on the leaves. I always do fairly representational but think I was mainly inspired by the composition itself and all the colors. So I really wanted to convey the colorfulness and the base composition of the mola. Molas are almost universally "landscape" but I preferred the portrait orientation for this one.

This is the mola that was my inspiration!

Check out Priscilla Kibbee's blog as she almost always has some for sale there and her prices and quality are both excellent.
There were not as many pieces as usual at RAFA today as many were still working on their challenge pieces or pieces for the DeCadence exhibit we are having at the Arts Council in January. I am submitting my birds of paradise piece for that show.

The next two pieces were by a very prolific Caris Burton who does absolutely awesome work. Not only is she an expert appliquer and piecer but she does all sorts of surface design and lots of it!

This piece was just a little study but I think she had four of those here today!

This was a One Block Wonder quilt top done by Mary Rankin. I have such a weakness for hexagons and stack and whacks and do like this format!

This was the piece that will be part of the DeCadence exhibit.

Sarah Terry modelled her new outfit made totally from her hand dyes and in a class with Sandra Betzina that she took out in San Francisco a few weeks ago. She got all sorts of fantastic fitting instructions and loved the class.

This was the piece Linda Bachman did as a result of the Mary Diamond class she took in October. She is another prolific art quilter!

Anne Fischer has been dabbling again in surface design using up some of her old paints. Beautiful piece and I am sure it will be well used in a composition at some point!
It was also announced that Pat Faulkner got one of her quilts in the new Lark publication on 500 Art Quilts. Another RAFA member, Nancy Murty, has her quilt on the COVER!! It won a major prize at Houston a couple of years back and is an awesome piece!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What's Next...

Well, have almost finished all the updates to the lilies so now onto the next projects. As I will be on vacation some this winter, I need some projects to go along with me. I also want to get a start on the Great Blue Heron before I leave as well so this after noon was spent gathering the fabrics for that project. To the left is the original photo but I have decided he would look better with his feet in the water. It will be challenging for sure!
In addition, three days next week will be spent on the "turquoise jacket challenge" with my favorite sewing partners, Priscilla and Marcia at Marcia's wonderful studio. We can barely fit one person in each of Priscilla's and my "sewing studios" and I use that term very loosely for mine !! I did manage to clear off the floor though and all the fabric from the lilies is put away (well almost all the fabric). There is quite a pile of turquoise fabrics and "stuff" though.

I spent some time today also trying to decide which photos need to be captured in cloth as well. As I had not moved LJ's "best Africa photo" folder over from my old computer, I did that and decided to see if I could find an image that screamed out to me. I did -- it is one of my favorites from her last trip. I have always called it the lion king as it reminds me of the movie (or play). I am now really excited about getting started on it so I ordered some more tracing paper and will head over to Staples to enlarge it a bit. You can see my progression here. The above was the original shot Lisa took.

I cropped it to emphasize the faces and then "posterized" it which emphasizes the values. You probably need to double click to see this.

I then used another filter in Photoshop called pen and ink or something similar and converted it to black and white, again emphasizing the values even more. This is the picture I will get blown up so that I can begin the process of making templates from the different areas.

I LOVE Photoshop!

This is my lovely daughter Zann, her husband Justin and my beautiful granddaughter Amelia celebrating Halloween.

George decided that Cheney wasn't the only kitty to go to the top of the pole and be "king of the mountain"!

Both kitties were really curious about Warren outside blowing all the leaves from the backyard!! They were totally enthralled!

Today they are checking out their new kitty crates of course not knowing that these will be used to transport them to NC with us!