Wednesday, March 28, 2007

So I lied

about getting pictures posted yesterday. These 6 hour days at the school working on costumes is more than I'm used to. The play opens day after tomorrow though, so today and tomorrow and then I'm done and I promise to get pictures up then. I may even break down and post an in-progress of an Egyptian thing I'm playing with.

Monday, March 26, 2007

progress of a sort

Finished off the quilting, such as it is, on the weird batik this morning. Finally decided on a simple bisecting line quilting pattern to leave as much of the raw edge free as possible. It's in the washer now with some jeans and then into the dryer for a couple of hours to fray the edges. It's only lap size but it was originally a test piece for using the small strips exposed between the piecing. So far so good, and pictures later today I think. I'll also get a picture up of the bird mobile. At least it's hanging now and not stuck in a bag somewhere. It's funny how sometimes the simplest thing is the one that gets the most response from people. Everyone who has seen the birds loves them, including my husband!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Life and kids and other stuff

My youngest daughter hit a milestone this week. Straight As on her report card and it got her on the Principal's Honor Roll! That's the first time any of my kids ever did that. First and Second honors multiple times, but NEVER Principal's honors! My son did the sweetest thing too. He called yesterday morning and asked if I'd call the school and get her dismissed so he could take her out to lunch if he drove up. Of course I'd do that. He drove up yesterday morning, took her for Mexican and then had to race back for a 5:00 class. We didn't tell her he was coming either, and when they called her down to the office and she saw him standing there her face split into the hugest grin. And she got a chance to show him off a little bit to her friends too. Life was good for her yesterday I think.

Quiltsquiltsquilts running through my head, but for right now that's where they have to stay. I'd REALLY like to get at least a couple of small embellished pieces done this week to submit to GSQA for the circuit teacher vetting, but I have to hurry and I'm not sure I have enough time anyway. But the designs are good and they'll wind up being quilts at some point.

I have to get into high gear to completely finish the pieces that are going to the art show the middle of April also. I have finished pieces I can use if I have to, but I also have some tops that I really want to take (and 2 to make!) but they have to be quilted and bound. Free-motion is my salvation. I love doing it, I'm good at it, and it goes extremely fast. I can quilt an entire full sized quilt in a single day with no problem. Well, no problem other than time and motivation. Once I sit down at the machine it goes quickly. It's the sitting down at the machine part I seem to have trouble with.

We are babysitting my "spare" son's dog this weekend and Rowdy is the cutest thing! Everyone who sees him says he's such a "Nick dog" too. He's shaped like a Corgi but has long curly fur like a Yorkie or something. And he's having the best time playing with my HUGE Labs too. Jake and dOg think they have their own self-propelled play toy. The cats aren't impressed much but they tolerate him. Maybe they know he's just visiting.

Off to the school at 7:00 this morning to work on the stage set. We're doing Anything Goes and this is my last year for working on the plays. Full-cast costume call Monday night. That should be interesting, for a lot of reasons I'm not going to get into. Let's just say I have my fingers crossed that the set/music/dancing/props/acting carry the play this time. ALL my fingers. And toes. And eyes.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Very interesting

Occasionally (when I remember) I look at the stats from my site meter. It gives all sorts of pretty useless information but it's a kick to see where people visit from and how they stumble accidentally (very few find it intentionally I think) on my blog. If you get a hit from a search it tells you what terms were being searched when the blog showed up. I think the most interesting ever came today from a visitor in Elgin, IL. They searched google for "surgical suture cutters quilt" and got me. I shit you not. That is a direct copy and paste of the search field. Now, why exactly someone would combine those particular words is beyond me, but there it is. They are either A) looking for a gift for a VERY specialized nurse, B) seeking a pattern for a damned weird quilt (did they look for "16 oz Estwing hammer quilt," too?) or C) ran across a reference to my post of months back referencing my use of suture scissors as a seam ripper. Pleasepleaseplease let it be C) and if you're in Elgin, IL looking for a surgical suture cutters quilt I'd love to hear the final answer, Regis.

Oh yeah. HI STEPHEN!!!

He's the other half of the award-winning (God, I get goose bumps just saying that. I think I might have actually murmered it out loud just a little that time.) Ebony & Ivory Blues. Not only did he draw the hands, but they are drawings of his actual hands. And just how cool is that?

Long time no see

Whew! Lots to catch up on. My youngest daughter got back from the Nicaragua mission trip last night. Can't wait to get the details from her today about the trip. Maybe she brought me something. My son should be back in Hattiesburg some time today from his Spring Break trip to Destin (at least I think it was Destin....someplace warm and sandy in FL at any rate) and my oldest daughter has been home all week. The St. Paddy's parade was yesterday and there were 50,000 people here for it. The krewe I belong to won $600 for the Show me the Money award and a picture of my brother made the front page of the on-line newspaper. The oldest had an absolute blast walking in the parade too. Her first year to actually participate.

My Ebony and Ivory Blues quilt (the one with the hands drawn by my friend) won a ribbon at the GSQA quilt show in Baton Rouge too, so that was a nice little piece of news this week. I also woke up with a full-blown idea in my head for a new fiber piece that will need some definite tweaking and playing with the mechanics of it, and it isn't even a quilted piece! Well, it might be if that's the only way I can stabilize it, but for right now, I'm leaning away from quilting it. I've made some progress on the Japanese shadow box quilt but my machine is acting horsey about free-motion so the progress is mostly hand work. What in the hell possessed me to think I needed to do needle turn applique on the thing? I'm liking the effect a lot but it's definitely not my cup of tea for any length of time. Fortunately, I picked something that only has leaves that have to be needle-turned and the rest of it is just handwork that's attached afterwards. I'm doing the bush clover from Fabled Fibers and so far, I'm happy with the effect. It's been YEARS since I've done any embroidery, too. Spent several days looking at various Sashiko patterns and nothing really jumps out at me so I may wind up just making my own with Sashiko stitching and leave it at that. I picked up Larkin Van Horn's book this week too and have some ideas in my head for beading that I'd like to work on. I need to get together some small samples of my embellishment stuff anyway to apply as a circuit teacher for the GSQA. I have most of the written material to submit I think, maybe with some minor refinements, but nothing really small enough to ship off for the jurying process involved. I may break down and do some postcards with the different techniques on them, and submit classes for both postcards AND embellishments. I reallyreallyreally love teaching and this is probably my best bet for getting into an organized method of doing it. As it stands now, I just go when someone hunts me down and calls me. No promotion or advertising myself, just doing the simple programs at the guilds and getting calls periodically from people who see me speak.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The True Gentleman

Here it is ready for the first coat of poly. Fingers crossed that I'll finish the poly by tomorrow and it will be ready to go down to Hattiesburg for him. I'm sort of proud of this.

It's hard to get a good picture since it's so big and there's nothing on the deck to stand on. I'll hang it up or something once it's finished and get a good picture. Maybe.

Friday, March 09, 2007

How to make a painted floor cloth.

Gather your materials. Or do like I do and start working before it dawns on you that half the stuff you need you don't have. I used a $5 cotton duck drop cloth from Big Lots. I originally made the trip up there looking for the cool little storage things that karoda posted about but they didn't have any so I had to settle for the 3-section picture hanger/nails/nuts and bolts containers. They're pretty cool because you can screw them all together in a stack as high as you want and only use one top for it. And it has a cute little handle. But that has nothing to do with painting the floor cloth, so we'll move on.
I washed and dried the drop cloth on hot with no fabric softener and sort of threatened it with the iron when it came out of the dryer. It draws up some from the paint anyway so ironing it isn't imperative. Ironing has never been imperative to anything in my life up to this point. Mark the center if you're transferring a pattern to it or just lay it out and start painting if you have any actual artistic talent (which I don't) and feel like winging it. Tanya, have the offspring walk around on it with paint-y feet! Start transferring the pattern in whatever way you do it. Overhead projector (which I had until my daughter the virgin bumped it while it was on and blew the bulb) or those monster print-outs that have to be taped together.

If you use a pencil to mark on it, they don't show when you paint over it. If you use a Sharpie the lines show through the paint. I'm going back and outlining the whole thing in a black paint pen when I'm done so the lines were necessary, hence the Sharpies. Paint. Any color, any method, any design. It's up to you. It's not even necessary to get a thick coat on'll see some of those little white spots showing through and unless you're anal and have more time/patience/budget than I do, just keep going. Do try to get even coverage if possible but you don't have to be perfect. If you have a tiny area to paint or a narrow point or something, it's easier to do a light coat in that area, let it dry and come back to it a few minutes later. Pick the dog and cat hair out as you go. Or leave it in, paint over it and call it a design element. You can also do a base white flash coat on the whole rug before painting but that takes gobs of paint and forever to dry. It also gets all over your floor underneath it.

Once you've done all the painting and have gone back with the Sharpie or paint pen for the details (don't forget to sign it!) THEN you have to iron. It's probably not necessary, but I do heat-set the acrylic paints before finishing it. Once that's all done, just put at least 2 coats on the front and one coat on the back back with the poly to seal it and make it mop-able. You can use any kind of paint you want as far as I know, as long as it doesn't run or bleed when you put the poly on it, it's good. I've used house paint, craft acrylics, markers, fingernail polish and enamels. Several thin coats of poly are better than one big blob of it smeared around, but you all knew that anyway.

I use the paper plates as palettes so I can throw them away. The spray baste is to stick the netting on the pattern, then I trace the pattern, remove the netting and stick it to the cloth. Then you trace it again, peel the netting off and VOILA! you have a transferred pattern without using that carbon paper stuff. If you look closely, I think you can see the netting stuck back over the pattern on the left.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something so feel free to ask questions.


Yeah! All the detail work except the fleur de lis is done and I'm making great progress. Some more fairly large areas of gold and purple, but they're easy and go fast. Today or tomorrow I'll finish up and have a couple of days of really nice weather to get it out back on the deck and get several coats of polyurethane on it, front AND back. This is for a frat house after all.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Isn't it amazing.....

what lengths we'll go to for our kids when they ask nicely? This is a 6x9 canvas floorcloth for his room at the frat house. It has the SAE crest on it, and he was so sweet asking me about passing it along to the next frat brother who gets his room when he graduates in 2 years (we fervently hope.) Ummm....son, this is a $5 canvas drop cloth from Big Lots, with 2/$1 acrylic paints on it. Just how long do you think the thing is going to last? I do have to say he's one of the most generous kids I have ever had the pleasure of knowing so it didn't surprise me a bit that he asked though. If nothing else, it'll keep spilled stuff off the floor and I have greater faith in him sweeping a rug than I do him actually mopping the tile floor. I am having a lot of fun working on it though, at least until I get to the polyurethane part.

You can see the original image at

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Neither bamboo nor solid.

It took a while to decide, but I finally landed on an Oriental floral print (why, oh why, couldn't they have that great companion print for it in the right color?) and a brown mottled looking thing for the wide borders and a sweet little goldenrod geometric for the narrow frame part. They all have gold metallic detailing printed on them so I can use my gold paint pen for some additional embellishing in the blocks. Sashiko stitching in the brown border and some of those origami flowers from Fabled Flowers. I've pretty much decided on doing the bush clover at the top right since it hangs like wisteria does and I can make the stems go off the edge and not have to worry about anchoring them to anything. The sashiko will be across the top and at the bottom of the right side. Lots of gold metallic quilting in the body of the quilt and probably outline quilting in the floral border. After that, I get to drag out the beads and tassels and "stuff" for the decoration. Total size is 43x55.

I am more than open to any suggestions on how to transfer the sashiko design onto the border so I can stitch it. I use chalk a lot to mark lines on the face of a quilt but it comes off relatively easy and I don't want to have to keep re-marking the lines. Any ideas? Anybody used the tracing stuff? Is it easy to remove? The only other option that comes to mind is using the water soluble stuff and then rinsing it out, but that would require forethought to get the stuff off before I add non-washable stuff to the quilt.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

No Title Yet

But here is the top, completed except for the border. I'm waffling between a bamboo-y sort of print and a plain border that I can do some detailing in. But it has to wait because I'm going curl up in the bed with my Japanese quilting books and eventually take a nap. I've accomplished a good bit this morning though so I won't feel guilty about it either. I had a very clear idea in my head about this one when I started it so it went pretty fast. Cutting the greens took the longest of anything, but I had the fabric rectangles all bordered last night and just got up this morning and assembled the top and then did the applique pieces. Every time I look at it I get a new idea for embellishing too, so I'm looking forward to that part of it. Total size right now is 33x45.

My sweet DH brought me some of the best avacados I've had in ages. Fresh guacomole with chips for lunch it is! And he has red beans and rice on for supper. Mmmmmmmm......

Azalea City Quilter's Guild

I did a program in Mobile the other day for the Azalea City Guild and had an absolute BLAST! Many, many thanks to Donna B. for hunting me down to invite me to teach and for putting me up in her home while I was there. If I lived in her house, I'd never go anywhere. Beautiful home in a beautiful setting. She's also a really good cook. I thoroughly enjoyed myself with both the visit and the class. I certainly hope it's true what they say about teaching gigs begetting more teaching gigs, because that's what I love to do. I was so busy and having so much fun I totally forgot to take any pictures of the class, although I did get some pictures from the show and tell. Unfortunately, I forgot to get either the women's names or their permission to post the photos of their work so you'll just have to trust me when I say they were beautiful.

Stop me before I piece again!

My friend Dorinda has corrupted me. She got me started on the One-Block-Wonder pieced quilts and I did a few of those, then she showed me the Northwind block and I came home with a copy of those instructions, and now I'm dreaming in pieced blocks! Arrrgggghhhhh......doesn't my brain know I don't piece!??!! And since NOTHING can ever be easy, or simple, or straightforward with me, I'm dreaming Y-SEAMS. Not just sewing stuff together but having to do little fiddly precise stuff! Oh well, once it gets in my head it will either make me crazy by not leaving enough room for anything else, or I have to just suck it up and make the damn thing. This one is sort of an attic window/shadow box thing (whichever one uses the contrast sashing) but of course I had to make the sizes of the boxes varied so I spent about 3 hours graphing the thing off so the blocks all fit together. And then I chose a scrap of fabric from my friend Vicki in Miami without giving any thought to how much I needed. I just cut it in half and over-dyed half of it for the contrast. Top that off with the fact that it frays VERY badly (give thanks to the god of fusible interfacing) and is slippery and was already cut in a weird shape since it was a scrap to begin with. Can you see where this is going yet? I got down to the last three 2.5"x2.5" pieces I needed and guess what? ALL I had left were the little ears I cut off making the mitered corner strips. Vicki almost got the panicked fabric emergency call about 5:00 this morning, but I rummaged around in my own scrap basket and found one last piece of it that had originally been the facing of the blouse she was originally going to use it for. I had to fussy cut the last 3 pieces, but I managed to eke out EXACTLY as much as I needed. This one will most likely have a bunch of embellishing on it to be used as a sample for the program I'm doing in June. Unless I sell it first. Um, yeah. Like that's gonna happen. I may even break down and do some sashiko quilting on it. Fancy threads count as embellishing don't they? OH GOD! Did I just mention hand quilting in the same breath as piecing? Good lord I must be regressing. Don't most people start with patterns and then move on to art quilts?
This is about 1/3 of the total quilt and no two fabrics in the boxes are the same. Still have no clue what I'll do for borders yet but there's time for that later. Probably something plain if I decide to do the sashiko.

And this month's Fast Friday challenge was fun. The theme was monochromatic, based on a color from a song. I used Sonny Landreth's South of I-10, which has the line "...grew up on Clifton and Cleveland and the Red Hot Louisiana Band" in it, so I did a dancer in red. It's all done with thread painting on cotton fabrics and I'm probably going to add a black border on the right side and at the bottom. But I was happy with the movement I got from the stitching and shape of the woman. I think this is only the second mono piece I've ever done, too. The other one was In the Ghetto, which I also liked, but I have to have color 99% of the time.