Monday, June 24, 2013

Lots of Pretty Flowers Now that Summer is Here!

Our next door neighbor's gardens are just beautiful!  We have had a lot of wet weather and now it is pretty warm and things are blooming like crazy!  I have been out of commission for a couple of weeks now with a  husband recovering from minor surgery and a bout with vertigo for myself.  Having never had something like this dizziness/vertigo before, it scared the heck out of me but disappeared as quickly as it appeared thank goodness with a little help from Dramamine and soothing words from my doctor!  I didn't even know what vertigo was -- I do now!!  Guess it is the reason for 17% of emergency room visits I read somewhere on the net.  

A Peace rose next door that was at the perfect state for a picture.

I liked this one even better!  

I have been spending a couple of hours a day getting my basement dyeing and marbling area back under control so I can get to do some dyeing while I am here.  I have even managed to get all my bolts of white fabric up on shelves unless we have another flood scare like last year when we were in NC and Sandy was supposed to come right through here.

Our begonias are just incredible this year -- they are just loaded with blossoms and the salmon one was particularly stunning.  I do love these begonias and they seem to winter over just fine in NC and we bring them back here and the bulbs just blossom!

This one is a brilliant fuchsia.

We have installed a hummingbird feeder in our front yard but the birds have yet to discover it  We have seen them on our flowers so hopefully it will just take a little time.  Our robins have flown the nest finally also.  

I spent the morning picking sour cherries off our tree and think we have enough for the first cherry pie of the season -- yum!!!  Nothing like homemade cherry pie -- my very favorite!  Looks like we might get three or four pies from the tree this year if we beat the squirrels (the netting really seems to be working).

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June RAFA Meeting!

It was good to get back to my RAFA group this week for their monthly meeting.  As we are not just a quilt group, it was exciting to see all the wonderful felted projects that were brought into the meeting this week, especially those by visitor Demaris Verzulli.  She had taken a class as well as several RAFA members with Andrea Graham which must have been on felted landscapes judging from the output of several members!

I loved this orange cat and it was quickly purchased by another group member for her husband!

Another piece by Demaris of a winter scene.  These are very three dimensional and note the painted backgrounds in the frames.

This is the piece that Demaris did in the class.

This is the piece that Donna Patrick did in the class.  The stones were extremely three dimensional.  The pieces are done by created a felted background and then needle felting the scenes on top.  If only my hands could take the nuno felting!

This is the piece that Sue Carter did in the class -- really rich colors!

Anne Fisher showed off her beautifully felted jacket which only weighed 4 to 6 ounces yet was amazingly strong!  

This is one of three pieces Diane showed from an online class she is taking from Katie Pasquini-Mausopost.  They have new design challenges every two weeks and then get critiques.

 We all really enjoyed this piece which was done as part of a small group challenge to do something with a chestnut.  Kate's chestnut is a tennis ball cut open with a whole one next to it.

This was Liz Scott's chestnut challenge pieces created using Julie and Val's Red Dog Enterprises printing .  Holding up the pieces are Brenda, Liz and Anne.

Several people also did pieces for the Magical Threads challenge and this was Stephanie's piece which she literally created in the 18 hours prior to the contest deadline!!

People also shared a lot about their experiences with Iron Quilter and all agreed it was a wonderful experience that taught them a lot.  It is amazing how different all of our approaches were and also that we learned very different things about ourselves from the experience.  All agreed that we would do it again!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Project Iron Quilter -- Genesee Valley Quilt Club 2013 Show

 Well, I will just start with the piece that I completed titled Disappearing Leaves. It was completed in our  Iron Quilter competition which is kind of a combination of Project Runway and Iron Chef.  We had three and one half hours to complete a quilt (including binding).  It had to be a minimum of 18 inches by 18 inches.  We were given a theme at the beginning and were then set loose on a big table full of other quilters discards (and this fabric was relinquished for a good reason I might add).  I was last to the table as I am a bit gimpy so that didn't help my cause!  We were allowed to bring three pieces of fabric from our own stashes and allowed a shoe box of embellishments and any tools, interfacing etc. that we wanted.  I only used one of my fabrics -- the rest came from the table and included silks and polyesters.

My approach (and I had to have my arm twisted to be in this competition as speed under pressure is not my preferred work style) was to think about what techniques I would use ahead of time as I wanted to use a technique I liked and was comfortable with.  So I came in thinking curves and fusible applique.  The theme was "Disappearing Act".  Like myself, I understand all the participants immedately quieted and developed a "deer in headlights" stare.  As I wasn't sure what I was going to do, I took Priscilla Kibbee's approach and just started making fabric (in many cases I had to first sew same fabric scraps together to make a strip) -- 24 inch long strips of curved pieces that I just free hand rotary cut.  (Technique:  Overlap two pieces of fabric and then make a long curving cut through both.  I then mark the two pieces, pin and sew together).  I constructed a 24 inch wide x 24 inch "fabric".  While constructing this, I thought I would cut out an image of leaves and fuse them down randomly over the whole piece and then cut apart somehow.  My goal was to have the piecing, cutting out of leaves of different fabrics and sizes and fusing down done by lunch.  I succeeded in that.   I fused random leaves trying to place them so there was a value contrast with the background.  The only fabric I used from my stash was the reddish batik you see in the background.  Coincidentally, I noticed later that it had leaves on it!

After lunch (we had to take a half hour break halfway through), I decided that I would stitch on the leaves as well so did a straight stitch around each applique.  I then thought I could free hand the embroidery.  My machine didn't like doing freehand on such a thin piece so that idea went by the wayside.  Then I decided I would just make some straight line cuts down this finished piece.  At first I was going to make them fairly equally apart but I wanted to make sure I got a good cut through the leaves so went with random widths.  I then put them back up on my design wall, turned some upside down and tried to come up with an arrangement I liked.  Then I sewed up the seams and pressed.  I got batting and some background fabric, used straight pins to tack them together and straight line quilted down the straight lines.  I never changed the thread through all of this, using a fairly neutral light beige.  After this quilting, I switched to free motion and again tacked down the leaves around the raw edge and then free hand drew in veins on all the now cut up leaves.  I went back to the table after this was done in search of fabric for binding, made the binding and cut it wider than I usually do so that I could machine stitch it down.  (Technique:  attach doubled binding like usual on the front, then pull around to the back (where I usually hand tack it down).  I made sure it was wide enough however so I pinned it in place and then stitched right next to the binding edge on the front.  You couldn't see the stitching in front but  not too attractive in the back!

I didn't win any prizes (well, we all got Honorable Mention) but really liked the piece and plan to do some more with this technique in future quilts.

 This was the third place winner by the very talented art quilter Joyce Martelli.
 This piece was by Kathi Everett who won our competition last year.  There is a little door on the birdcage.  Kathi is incredibly creative.

This was the winning piece by Anne Hawkins.  A little hard to see is that the "vee" is really a zippered part.  She just happened to have a zipper in her embellishments!  She won a Bernina sewing machine!

 The rest of these are by the remaining quilters in the competition.  This is by Anne Anderson and was about the tornadoes.

This was by Carol Boyer
This was by Catherine Williams. 
This was by Deb Roach. 
This was by Elaine Ross.  She also use leaves as a theme.
This was by Frances Dack.
This was by Janet Root.
This is by Linda Bachman.
The Wicked With of the West by Liz Scott disappearing into the floor.
 Louise Tiemann did this one.
 This had a disappearing Noah's Ark by Margaret Reek.
This was by Nancy Hicks.
This was by Sue Donovan.  There is no fabric behind those holes, just stitching.

This was by Diane Enerson. 

This was a really nice one by Vickie Coykendall of a little girl playing peek-a-boo.  I am stilling missing a picture of one of the quilts however.

I should add that I came in with green and purple hair -- something I have always wanted to do with my now white hair.  Margaret Reek also had the same idea and had blue and pink hair for the competition.  Isn't it cool that the bag I found on my table just happened to match.  I also had on a green shirt which you can see and purple Crocs to complete the ensemble.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Break from Quilts -- Visit to the Sterling Nature Center

My neighbors had told me about an article in our local paper a week ago Sunday about a Blue Heron rookery located about an hour from here near Lake Ontario.  It is called the Sterling Nature Center and is in Cayuga County.  Earlier in the week when I was going cross-eyed uploading quilt pictures, I took a break one beautiful afternoon to visit this sanctuary.  It was well worth the trip!!  This swamp was created by the local beavers and the dead trees according to the article are ash trees.  I counted thirty Blue Heron nests but the article said there were forty and they were close together!!  This is so unlike the Blue Heron who is such a solitary bird that you can keep them away from your fish ponds by putting a statue of a blue heron there.  It works in reverse, however, in the spring when they are mating and then they don't seem to mind raising their young in close proximity!

You can see seven nests in this picture alone which gives you a little idea of how far away I was.  There was a lovely little bench to sit on and watch.

 Mama or dad came by to feed four of the "babies".  This was probably the largest number I saw in one nest and they looked like they were ready to flee at any time.  You can see how big they are already.  Amazing how much they grew in the one week from when Joe took his pictures!

While I was watching, many tree swallows were whizzing by and one even dipped into the water.  They move sooo fast, they are hard to photograph.  

When I first got there, an adult Bald Eagle flew over off in the distance.  Later I noticed this very large black bird with lots of white underfeathers and thought it might be a juvenile Bald Eagle as it was so dark.   It was!
Here is another closer picture of the Eagle as he flew over.  It is so nice to have seen so many of these birds in different areas over the past couple of years.  Hopefully, they will make it back to my list of "trash" birds soon (ones that are so common, you don't take their picture anymore).  They are so elegant, it is hard to imagine I won't keep snapping though!

On my way back to my car, I stopped at the Dragonfly Pond to sit and watch the Canada Geese with their goslings.
 This Blue Winged Teal was swimming around on the far side of the pond.

Earlier I had seen him take off and here you can see the blue that gives him his name!

I was using my camera to scan the edge of the pond on the far side and spotted these very well camouflaged Hooded Mergansers, mom and three or four little Mergansers who were already getting their combs.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Genesee Valley Quilt Show - Pieced Quilts - Part III

 It was difficult to pick out quilts from the pieced category which included both wall sized and full sized quilts.  Again, I know I missed some.  The above is perhaps my favorite of all the quilts in the show !!  I absolutely loved the color palette and was taken by the fact that it was the same block throughout although with different emphasis using value.  The green in the corners pulls it together.  It is called Hawaiian Sunset by Gretchen Beaver.

These were tiny log cabins and again I love the colors.  This is by Beth Brewer.

This is Cactus Flower by Sandra Buckman. Beautiful intricate work.

This is Always and Forever Friends by Vickie Coykendall.   
 This is called Tribute to Dorothy by Vickie Coykendall.  There were a couple of others as well that used variations of this same pattern.  Beautiful!!
This is not one of the pieced ones but is the applique quilt that I coudn't find when adding quilts to my applique blog.  It is called My Miniature Baltimore and is by Mary Lou Dailor.

This is called Shades of Color and is by Mary Louise Gerek.  This pattern can be found in various quilt shops and was designed by Mary Louise.

 This is Kalaidoscope by Marilyn Grosshans.  Loved those medallion images like this!
This is called My Kool Kalaidoscope by Marilyn Guenther. 

This is a very small (miniature) quilt and I suspect done after a class with George Siciliano.  It is called Perserverance in Green and Purple and done by Mary Elmeda Payne.

Loved this graphic quilt called Nuit Mystere by Rita Straubhaar.
Of course, there is nothing better than a good scrap quilt and this is certainly a nice one.  It basically is a one shape quilt and I suspect that the half square triangles around the edge are the leftovers from making the larger pieces!  It is called Dark Star by Mary Wieser.

This is Where the Piano Was by Lynn Blumenthau. 
This is another of my favored scrap quilts.  This is Pinwheels by Susan Conge.

This is called Ricky and Alex and is again by Vickie Coykendall.  Magnificent!! 

This is called Rambutan by Rita Straubhaar. 
This was another of the miniatures, this one done by Faye Thompson and called Birds of Paradise. 
This is one of two Dear Jane's that were in the show.  I didn't know there was anyone besides me in the club that had done these quilts.  The lower one uses the palette which is very close to the original while the upper one has used her own interpretation using Civil War repro fabrics.

This is another quilt by Mary Wieser called Rain Forest Retreat.  Nice used of complementary colors with the bright blue accent.  I have tried to use the size of the pictures to show the size of the quilts.  You can also look at the labels which are about 4 inches by 6 inches and use that as a guide.

To see all the quilts go to 2013 GVQC Quilt Show.