Monday, May 27, 2013

Lazy Days...

My husband and I are making it a priority these days to clear "stuff" out of our house.
We have clearly been spoiled by the uncluttered (most of the time) beach house.  Dear husband has cleared up the dining room (the catchall room for years) and removed the ancient computer desk and all its detritus.  In addition, he sanded and redid the floors and painted the walls!!  We both decided that the Lilies quilt would look great hanging in that now empty space so most of my pictorial quilts have now found a home.  The cushions on the chairs are a dark green which hadn't even occurred to me!  Now if we can just get the rest of the house somewhere near this good!

Because the weather has been so spectacular and spring has been so colorful this year, I have spent many lazy afternoons reading out on my driveway.  This is the view from my chair -- not the ocean but pretty good I would say!!  Our next door neighbor has exquisite gardens and this year the blooms have been even more beautiful than usual.  I was inspired by the juxtaposition of the color and texture.  I always sit with my camera in case our nesting Pileated Woodpeckers make themselves known -- they make it really difficult to get a good picture.

Another shot which shows the rhododendron and the dogwood in the background that is almost pure white this year from all the blooms.  The azaleas have been the same -- you can't see the foliage for all the flowers.

The goldfinches are back and feeding at the neighbor's feeder as well.  I have always had a difficult time with shots from so far away and the deep contrast in value with the goldfinches and their background.  If I get any closer, they make a run for it!!

Getting ready for the quilt show still and trying to think of what I need to take with me for my Iron Quilter participation on Saturday at the Genesee Valley Quilt Show at RIT Field House.  Please stop by and say hello!

Friday, May 24, 2013

My Baltimore Album Style Quilt is Finally Done After a Mere Thirty Years!

Well, it is finally done!  If I get truly inspired, I may add some more ruched roses in the border but don't hold your breath!!  It is 90 inches x 90 inches but may never find its way to a bed!  It was hard to find a place to even take a picture!!  My fingers are still chewed up from all the hand quilting.  However, that whole cloth quilt top that has been sitting in my closet for years might be the project of the year for next year's trip south as I do like having a quilt to hand quilt.  All my early quilts were hand quilted but the past few years that has changed -- mostly because the type of quilts I do has changed a lot!!  

This is a closeup of one corner where  you can see the ruched flowers and the hand quilting.  Note to self:  don't add applique after your whole quilt is finished including the hand quilting!

When I started quilting almost 40 years ago now, I thought I would be doing hand and machine applique and took my first quilting class just because I thought I couldn't call myself a quilter unless I knew the basics of piecing!!!  I always tell people to try anything as they never ever know what they will like.  It was advice I gave my kids when they went off to college as well encouraging them to try a bit of everything.  My first dyeing class was taken just because I had to choose three classes to enable me to get into an Elly Sienkievicz class taught at a local venue 30 years ago!!  

 Here are the remaining four quilts that will be in the Genesee Valley Quilt Show next weekend.  You can see how eclectic my quilting is.  This uses fused applique and machine quilting techniques and contains my hand dyed fabrics.  Called Colin Deconstructed.

 This is one of my many Serendipity quilts called Snowflakes.  It is machine pieced and machine quilted.
This of course is my Serengeti Lions drafted from a picture my daughter took in Africa her last trip.  It is totally machine pieced and machine quilted and contains my hand dyed fabrics.  Pictoral quilts are really my favorites so maybe I am not as far from my origins as you might think!

Another of the Serendipity quilts from Sara Nephew's books.  This one is called Calypso because of the colors.

 The snowy winter was wonderful for our azaleas which were more colorful than I have ever seen them!

 Dear Husband planted this fragrant lilac in our yard this spring!

 He has also been purchasing more and more hibiscus which we cart down to NC each winter.  I think the van will only have space for plants this next trip.... I do like this white one though!

Our neighbors have planted these beautiful tree peonies and I got some pictures just as they unfurled!

 Another of the new hibiscus plants.  

Friday, May 10, 2013

Spring 2013 Has Arrived in Rochester

I must say I am glad that I arrived back here in Rochester while the Trillium were still blooming.  The Trillium that is right in the backyard now has three flowers instead of the one that it had for years.  Between our house and the house next door, we have a lot of both the white and the plum colored variety which blooms a  little earlier.  It is a beautiful sunny day here but....

I decided to go down to the outlet of the Irondequoit Bay into Lake Ontario (this is where those firemen were murdered Christmas Eve as part of the huge fire and shootings) to see if there were any of my usual birds.  I couldn't even see the water from 10 feet away much less ANY birds!!!  I didn't even see a Mute Swan or Canada Goose!!  They may have been buried in the fog.

The air temperature is probably in the 70s but the water temps are probably still in the 40s.  It was very ethereal.

 Looking down the pathway.
The marina in the background.  Just a block away, the skies were a clear cerulean blue!!

If you have gotten this far in your reading and you like seeing birds, check out my sister's blog (listed on the side) for the next few days.  She took 4000 pictures down in Texas on her way back home and saw dozens of new life birds for herself and her hubby.  I am insanely jealous!!  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Back to Rochester and Our May GVQC Meeting

 After a horrendous two day drive from North Carolina back here to Rochester, I finally got home Wednesday afternoon. (I had torrential rains for hours each day which is really  unusual -- almost whiteout conditions and I thought I had avoided nasty driving by coming back so late.)  I had really wanted to attend our quilt club meeting today as I hadn't been here in so long and our big quilt show is at the end of the month.  It was good to see everyone again after such a long absence and nice to hear how many have followed my adventures in my blog.

Our quilt club donates a very large number of "comfort" quilts to various organizations in the Genesee Valley.  These next two pictures illustrate just a a couple that were shown this month (they were moving them too fast across the stage!)

There were a number made with this pattern.

Next came "show and tell".  This was a quilt made as a result of a class taught at Patricia's on circles by our own Janet Root.  Really liked the quilt!

 This is one of several purses shown that were made as a result of a class taken last month with  Marlous Carter.  

Loved the colors in this quilt made with Kaffe fabrics for a new grandchild being born in New Orleans which accounts for the bright colors!

This was undoubtedly my favorite for the day made for a daughter who was leaving the nest and going to California.  A fire destroyed all the baby pictures so mom tried to include important events in the quilt.  It was really nice and very symbolic!!

Hopefully it will be in the aforementioned quilt show.

Our speaker for today was Valerie Goodwin who spoke on her architectural background (she is an architect and now a quilter as well).  Her work integrates her love of architecture and stitch and her quilts are wonderful!!  She uses all different kinds of maps as her inspiration and starting point.

Her website is:  You can see examples of her work there.  I only included a couple of pictures here.

You can also "like" her on Facebook and looks like she is a fairly frequent poster.

This was a stunning quilt which is drawn from images of Manhattan.  These are complex and layered quilts which frequently now include painting.

In her slide presentation, she showed many examples of student work -- she teaches a fiber class in her architecture curriculum.  There was some awesome work from her students which shows what a good teacher she is.  This was just one class project.

Her book will be published in September and can now be pre-ordered.

I was way way in the back of the room and the only way I could see her slides was literally to use my telephoto lens to take pictures and then blow them up on my camera to look at while she talked.  Both Marcia and I enjoyed the talk more when we could do this!!  I was not familiar with her work but Marcia had seen several of the pieces before in pictures from major exhibitions.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Okay, Just One More Post from Carolina Beach Lake!

This is a closeup of the Tri-Colored Heron that frequents Carolina Beach Lake.  You can see that his transition into full mating plumage is complete with his bright blue bill and his white headdress!

Here he is in full with wildflowers in the foreground!

This is a really strange picture but this bird is about impossible to photo and I hadn't seen these down here before (probably had migrated one way or the other).  It is a common Tree Swallow but I have been seeing these which surprises me as there are few bugs.  He was just taking off here.  I don't think I have seen one sitting before but he swooped down several times.  I only had my little camera so this was the best I can do!  It was nice to add another bird to my Pleasure Island list this late in the year.

Looks like the Greater Scaup is still down here mixing with the Mallards.

Couldn't resist this Mallard.

This is the slightly lavender Philadelphia Fleabane.  Another one of the common wildflowers you see everywhere.

I believe this is the Florida Betony which was growing in the swampy areas.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The End of the Purses.....For Now

It must be the full moon that has finally stopped me from producing more purses!!  (Actually, it is the fact that I am heading for home before too long and need to clean...)

After using other people's patterns for all of the previous purses (three different patterns), I decided it was time to combine my favorite aspects of each as well as make some additional zippered compartments and to make one in a larger size.  The follow four purses are the result of this.  I drafted a size that I liked and made it all rectangles.  The end size is 12 x 12 x 4 (or 12 x 16).  The straps are long enough to go over your shoulder (I like to carry my purse under my arm and over my shoulder).  There is a secret zippered cell phone pocket inside one of the outside pockets and there are two zippered pockets inside.  There is a zipper across the top but doesn't completely cover the top so you can slip things into the purse without unzipping it.
Like the above purse, it is made of some random batiks that I brought down here.  I use 3 different prints that go together.  I manage to squeeze these out of 3 1/2 yard pieces of fabric although I have had to piece a strap or two as well as use some random scraps for pockets (but who sees those).  I wanted to use the fabrics I had brought down ostensibly to make scrap quilts.  I had a lot of leftover 1/2 pieces of batik from the batik sampler exchange I was on.  I rarely use half yard or quarter yard pieces anymore in my quilts.  Some of the other purses were made form 2 fat quarters instead of full 1/2 yard pieces.

I switched around the fabrics on this one and made the trim a little different.

I think that this front panel will be a great place to show off a great block or one of Priscilla's embroideries or molas or maybe my marbled fabric.  It is 9 x 9 square.  Then I will have to figure out what to do with the side panels to enhance.  I hate to just use black as it picks up every cat hair for miles...maybe just for the straps.  I can easily make this with a zipper that completely encloses the purse, no top zipper at all or in a variety of sizes.  This one is big enough to fit my little notebook computer and my Kindle as well as wallets etc..