Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #37 - Eat, Drink and Be Married!

I came across this quote recently. 

"Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days when I was six
 and my biggest problem was what kind of dress to put on Barbie.”

I never played with Barbies because I was a tom boy growing up.  However, I appreciate the idea of the simplicity of youth.  My mother bought  Barbie and Ken dolls for me and proceeded to make a wardrobe closet and fill it with clothes.  She must have enjoyed Barbie, but I did not.  This dress looks like it was made for Barbie, except it has no back!

My week has had a theme of dresses.  While in Washington, DC, I visited Hillwood.  I mentioned it in one of my posts last week when I shared the flower photos.  It was the former estate of Marjorie Merriweather Post and is now a museum open to the public.  You could spend a lot of time there wandering the gardens and find lots of inspiration in her decorative arts collection in the mansion. 

I visited Hillwood to see a special exhibit, Pret-A-Papier, which featured paper dresses created by  Belgian artist, Isabelle de Borchgrave.   She uses special techniques with paint to turn paper into these amazing period dresses.  Here are a few photos I took:

I just wanted to re3ach out and touch them to see if they felt like paper or fabric,
but I saw many museum guards.

Dresses have also become a frequent topic of conversation with the Quiltinis, my quilt group.  During the year 2012 - 2013, we will have married off 5 of our children.  My son was married last June.  And this is really crazy, one of us is going to be having 2 of her children get married in one year.  So you can understand why "what to wear?" and losing weight are our hot topics.

This week we had a fashion show.  We got to ooh and aah and help to accessorize.  This was such a fun girlfriend day.  I was itching to take out my camera to take photos, but I thought I would get my hands smacked!  So I decided to create my own Mother of the whatever dress - definitely not one I would wear, but I know someone else would. 

I beaded the bodice and the bottom.

For those of you that are new to my Wednesday's Wanderings blocks, they are part of a yearlong challenge where I create a 6 1/2" x 8 1/2" block each week to document my wanderings that week. My plan is to make them into a quilt at the end of the year.

I create each block in the same way.  I start with fabric and batting - no backing.

I quilt it.  This is a great opportunity to experiment and have some fun.
  It's little, so it's manageable.

This is a close-up of my loopedy loop free motion quilting.

Then I usually create my design and fuse it to the block, stitch around it and embellish if desired.
This is how the back usually looks. 

I create without a backing fabric, because the stitching can get pretty messy and ugly. 
This one is not that messy.
 When I put the blocks together as I celebrate New Years Eve, I will put use a backing fabric.

So I want to wish the best of luck to my friends with upcoming nuptials.  You will all look gorgeous when you celebrate your children's marriages. 

Eat, Drink and Be Married!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Calendar Girl

I'm so excited to be a Calendar Girl!
I'm August - Hacienda from !Quilt Fiesta!
The calendar includes the complete instructions for all of the quilts.
You can buy yours here.  It's never too early!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Floral Friday

These are some photos I took while visiting Hillwood.  It is the former estate of Margery Meriweather Post -  Beautiful gardens and an amazing collectron of decorative arts.





Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #36 - New York Beauty

New York Beauty

I always look forward to going to New York City. 
 I grew up on Long Island and often took the train into "the city" to hang out, meet boys and shop.  It's too far for me to drive now and quite frankly, I think you need your head examined to compete with the taxi cabs.  I'm not sure they have brakes and I know they don't have turn signals.  LOL

A few years ago, I discovered the Bolt Bus.  It is a wonderful way to travel from Philly to Manhattan for not a lot of money.  Do you remember the slogan - something like "leave the driving to us"? That's what I do.  Plus there's Wifi on the bus.  I either sew or read or do Internet stuff.

Yesterday I met my friend Angela in NYC.  I met her a few years ago at a Pro Chem fabric dyeing workshop and we have kept in touch.  She lives in CT and she knows how to get around, especially on the subway.  I just follow her like a little puppy dog.  The 911 Memorial and a little shopping and good eats were on our agenda.

The Chrysler building is one of the more famous and identifiable buildings.  If you are a quilter, does the architecture on the upper levels of the building remind you of anything?

They remind me of the New York Beauty quilt block.  Was this block designed based on this New York skyscraper?  I thought maybe.

I did a little research.  The Chrysler Building opened for business in 1930 and was the tallest structure in NYC until the Empire State Building opened 11 months later.  The NY Beauty block was previously called "Rocky Mountain" and  first showed up in quilts in 1850.  Mountain Mist then renamed it as New York Beauty and published it in 1930.  Coincidence? or not?

If you want to give it a try Ivory Spring, has a pattern on her blog called "Sausalito" and a link for some really great directions using this new fabric from Timeless Treasures, with lots of photos for easy to follow how to's.

Or does it remind you of the crown on the Statue of Liberty?

Not the real one, LOL!!
We did manage to squeeze in a little bit of shopping.  I steered clear of buying fabric, but  when it came to the bead shops, and there are many.  Here are a few of my treasures including this little tool I bought for measuring the size of beads :

"Made with Love" charms- I can't wait to put one of these on one of my embellished beauties

This is the first time I have seen sequins with a pattern.  Had to buy some.

And these charms would look great hanging off the bottom of something.
This is the charm I bought that I attached to my block.
I decided to turn my New York Beauty block into a little gift for Angela - a pincushion. 
 Surprise! (She's camera shy.)

Sometimes you see quilt patterns in the strangest places.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Learn Something New Every Day

Oy Vey!
Learn something new every day?
My brain is exploding. It is good to learn something new. But why is it when life is easy, breezy, nice and comfy, some of us, like me,  insist on adding something new to make it complicated? 
 Something that gives us a headache and agita.

I spent a few hours today at a local quilt shop called Quilter's Corner, located in Chadds Ford, PA.
I was not the teacher.  I was the student of a very patient teacher named Deb.. 

They have a long arm quilting machine for rent.  For those of you non-quilters, it offers a unique way of quilting.  Instead of you moving the quilt and folding and scrunching with a home sewing machine, the machine moves and your quilt is stationary.

I have thought about purchasing one for quite a while. 
 It is quite an investment and the rails are 10-12 feet long.
 Where would you put it and how many quilts would it take to justify the cost?

So this option of being able to rent quilting time is very appealing to me.  Today was my day to take my lesson.  In 2 1/2 hours, I was taught the complicated and time consuming steps to load your quilt, how to quilt it using a pantogram and how to free motion quilt it.

This was the pantogram that I used to stitch across the width of my practice piece. You follow the line with this red laser light and it moves the needle that stitches the quilt. 

It looks much easier than it is!

This is what my practice piece looks like:

and close-up.

Really more square than loopy. Will my quilting ever look loopy? Is there hope for me?
 It's like the the old joke -  How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice, practice, practice.

I won't even share my free motion quilting.  It was pretty sad. 

There are benefits to continually challenging yourself.  It's a good thing.  It leads to personal growth and builds confidence as you surmount the challenges, but there is a fine line between challenge and frustration.

I had a bit of both today! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #35 - Quietude

I received an e-mail from a reader a few months ago about my Wednesday's Wanderings. I don't want to share her name, but I hope she is reading this, because she really touched me.  She is a faithful follower of my WWs and  she made me stop and think about the simple things in life that we often take for granted, by sharing some of her thoughts.
She wrote about how she was housebound taking care of her ill husband. She was not complaining but she wanted to let me know that she did not get out much and hasn't done any traveling for a while.  Although she enjoys reading about all the wonderful places that I have recreated with these small blocks that are sometimes vignettes, her travels are limited.  So she decided to think about the places she can go and loves.  One of her favorite places to visit is her comfy chair. She will head there with a good book for a bit of escape.  Another is a view of her majestic oak tree in her yard. This made me think about stopping along the way in my hurried life to breathe in the small pleasures.
We are spending the week at our lake house in the mountains.  It is a wonderful place to slow down and take pleasure from the simple things.  I wish we got here more often but it always seems like such a chore to pack everything up, including sewing projects and leave regular life behind.  

We have a dock that sits right on the water at the edge of our yard.  In the morning, I love to go down to the lake and be with the quietude.  I have to take a towel with me to wipe the dew off of the chair that has condensed overnight but that is part of the ritual.  I sit down with my early morning beverage and my buddy, Bailey, and survey our small piece of happiness.  The lake is like a sheet of glass in the early morning and there is no sound except for the occasional splash of a jumping fish.  I can't help but think about the majesty of nature and how lucky I am to have this special place in my life.

I love the blanket stitch. 

Check out Bailey's 3-D ear and the curly fabric for her fur.

There are no rules that say you can't use the wrong side of a fabric. 
The reverse side has a more weathered look which I thought was better for the dock.
So, sometimes I think about why I blog.  Initially I think it is because I want to share my creations and techniques, but perhaps the interaction with others is really what is more important - how I touch them and they in turn touch me.
So, thank you, my faithful readers for inspiring and sharing bits of your lives with me . 
Do you have a special place? 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #34 - Sewing with Silk

I have spent the summer following the Silk Road.  It's not the Silk Road from days gone by that  was the trade route for Chinese silk across parts of Europe, the Far East and parts of Africa.
 My Silk Road is my journey of experimentation with dupioni silk.

I just finished this top with the bi-colored leaves. It's made completely from silk dupioni.  In the photo it is basted and I'm waiting for an aha moment to figure out how I am going to quilt it.  It measures 30"Hx38"W.  The green scallop in the border is done using jumbo rick rack. 
 I will probably embellish the rick rack with beads or buttons.

Over the past 6 months, I have been making these 12" x 12" pieces out of silk. 
 I have tried different techniques to really learn how to work
with this gorgeous but somewhat tricky fabric.

The scrolls were added from the reverse side with a beautiful raspberry decorative thread.

 These have become some of my favorite colors. 
 I found the anodized washers on the Internet.

The guys at the hardware store thought I was a bit kooky.
  (I'm used to that.)

This zinnia interpretation has the luscious pink velvet as its center.

This is my WW. The center leaf was a practice piece
 and for the rest I used scraps of silk left over from the quilts I have been creating.

I want to make one more dupioni quilt from the scraps I have left over.  It's on my summer "to do" list.  I hope I don't run out of time.

I have added more silk fat quarter kits to my etsy shop.  It's a nice selection for experimenting.
Click here:  Sewing With Silk