Saturday, August 20, 2011

Beads, Beads, and more Beads

I had a plan for the day.  I did a bit of housework, then I was heading out to Beadfest, the largest bead show on the east coast,  to do a little shopping.  Then I was going to get in what has become my summer exercise - biking and then swimming.  Where I bike is right near the location of the bead show, so my plan was perfect, or so  I thought.
Well, after 4 1/2 hours at Beadfest, I called it a day.  I missed lunch and my feet were done.  But look what I bought.  Woo hoo!  I can't wait to do some embellishing.

I love the disk type beads.  I put them on my pieces laying them flat and keeping them in place with a seed bead.  This is the first time I have seen the triangular beads.  They will look great hanging off the bottom.

Presents?  I love those rhinestone flowers.

This is some very funky stuff.  Ooooh.

Metal charms.

Those are fresh water pearls.  Aren't they gorgeous?

These dyed shell beads offer quite a bit of color options.

This is where I store ALL of my beads. It's a plastic file case and it's portable.

I use these plastic screw containers for the larger amounts of beads.  I organize them by color.  Of course there is a preponderance of blue!

I also have one of these "books" that fits inside of the file container.

This is what it looks like inside.  I use it for smaller amounts of beads.

Friday, August 19, 2011


I always find myself heading to Lancaster County to recharge.  I definitely needed a day out of the studio after the stress of the ark curtain.  For now I will try to forget that I have to make the other side.

This is a great time of year to travel the back roads.  Look at this wonderful farmstand that we always look for.  Check out the prices.

My husband is the chef in our house.  He could not pass up a box of assorted tomatoes for $3.00. It must have weighed at least 10 pounds. He is going to have a busy day tomorrrow.  I requested a roasted tomato basil soup!

And while we were out that way, who couldn't pass up a visit to a couple of quilt shops.  I did have an excuse.  I need to make a quilt and soem blocks for a magazine article.  But who needs an excuse anyway?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Amish Meets Faux Farm Girl

Faux Farm Girl  loves to go to the mud sales in Lancaster County in the spring.  The sales are held to raise money for the local fire departments and at the same time, the locals can make some money.  There are multiple auctions all taking place at the same time - horses, quilts, crafts,etc.

Faux Farm Girl loves everything fabric and everything Amish.  This year she bought 2 tops at one of the quilt auctions.  She passed them on to me and my job was to return to her finished quilts.  I gave them both to my favorite longarm quilter, Susie Racobaldo. 

Quilters with Tools AccuQuilt Go and Studio

To see more pets on quilts, click here.  You can even win a prize!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stressful Sewing

I have spent the last month working on an ark curtain for a synagogue.  When people ask you how long it takes to make a quilt, it is not a simple question to answer.  First I spent a week coming up with designs and doing my best to draw them on paper with colored pencils.  I have to say that my artistry with fabric far exceeds my drawing talent.  I warn clients from the get go.  Fortunately the people choosing the design were familiar with my work.  I made torah covers for them last year. You can see them here.

I spent a day in NYC in the garment district and came home with $300 of dupioni silk.  I love this silk.  It's got shimmer and it's got texture.  It is just plain gorgeous.

Then I spent 2 weeks deciding how I was going to construct this curtain that measures 60"Wx77"H.  I realized that it was so much easier to make colored pencil lines and not so easy to figure out how I was going to sew 1 1/2" strips of silk into radiating lines.  After a few false starts, I decided to construct it on a foundation of lightweight interfacing in 2 pieces that would be joined before quilting.

Then I spent 1 1/2 weeks constructing half the curtain.  I never perspired so much before during a quilting project, and it wasn't because the A/C was broken.  I was sweating because I was so worried and nervous.  Choosing lightweight interfacing as a foundation was not a good choice.  It stretched and distorted as I added the strips. I couldn't see the faint lines I drew as my pattern after I finished my first section.  And if you are wondering if you would ever use a protractor again after HS Geometry, guess what I used to draw my rays?  You can actually download one from the internet.

So I am not going to sugarcoat this.  I finished the left side and it will need serious blocking and squaring up.  This is what it looks like now.

Am I looking forward to making the right side?  Hell no!  Mirror image?  I don't think so.  But I will try my best.  I will keep you posted.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Local Talent

This is what my house looked like at 6:30 this morning.  We are getting a new roof and the guys start early to beat the heat.  We hired this company because they have this amazing contraption that they lift up to the roof for catching the old shingles as they are removed. Creativity takes many forms! 

And yes it was noisy.  So it was a perfect time to leave the house for a quilt guild meeting.  Last month, Terry Kramzar was our speaker.  Her talk, "Inspired By Adventure", focused on how her travels inspired her amazing quilts.  After her talk I was ready to pack my bags and head to the Grand Canyon.  You can see more of her amazing pieces at:

This month Sue Reno was our speaker.  She showed a bunch of ways that she transfers images to fabric.  Nature is a huge source of inspiration for her.

Sue is from Lancaster, PA.  She started documenting the renovation of an abandoned department store that was transformed into the Lancaster Convention Center.  You have been inside this building if you have been to the Lancaster AQS quilt show.  These photos became the topic of a series of quilts.  This is one of my favorites.  You can see more of her quilts at:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oops - Recipe correction

Is this why I am banned from the kitchen???  Too much salt, too much pepper.  If you were thinking of making the Chickpea Dip, go back and review the corrections.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Heirloom Tomatoes

I remember the exact moment that I fell in love with the heirloom tomato called Brandywine.  I was out to lunch with some friends who are foodies at this little restaurant that is located in an amazing garden center.  So you can imagine they had local and fresh produce on their menu.  I ordered an heirloom tomato salad.  It was the best tomato I have ever eaten.  The foodies told me it was a Brandywine.
 On my way home, I stopped at the produce market and bought a couple of  these Brandywine tomatoes to bring home for dinner.  I was hooked.  My husband balked at what I spent, but enjoyed them nonetheless.  That was 3 years ago.  Today they are the staple of our summer diet.  My favorite lunch is toasted English Muffin, with a schmear of chickpea dip, a big thick juicy slice of tomato and a dusting of fresh grated cheese..  Yum.  Fast, easy and delicious. Tastes like Summer.
The dip is an adaptation of a white bean dip recipe from a friend.  My personal chef, aka my husband, provides me with an endless supply.
Chickpea Dip/Spread
1 Can chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) - drained and rinsed
1/4 C Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt*
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper*
1/4 C (loosely packed) fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Garlic clove
* Amended - These are the correct amounts
Place everything in the food processor, except for the oil.  Pulse on and off until the mixture is coarsely chopped.  Add the oil in a continuous stream with the processor running, until the mixture is smooth. Add extra salt and pepper to taste if needed. Refrigerate. We have also found that it can be frozen.   It is also delicious as a dip for carrots.
And I had to treat myself to flowers from the growers market.  Carnations?  I'm not sure.  The stems, leaves and buds look like them, but those flowers?  Anybody know?