Monday, December 31, 2012

On The Road

St, Simons Island, Georgia
 Nothing like a beautiful sunrise to start your day.
Or a morning walk on the beach with Bailey.

 A Bailey size palm tree!
This is for all you lighthouse lovers.  (That's you too Nancy.)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Road Trip To An Amazing Museum

Baltimore is home to the most unusual art museum that I have ever visited. 
 The American Visionary Art Museum is located in the Inner Harbor and is the strangest, bizarre and most wonderful place. 
 It features art that is eclectic, multi-media and exciting created by self -taught contemporary artists. I had never been there and visited to see the needlework of Esther Krinitz.  She was a survivor of the Holocaust, but lost all of her family except for her sister.  After marrying and emigrating to the US after the war, she opened a dress shop.  She loved sewing.  At the age of 50, she started stitching these amazing pieces to retell the story of her childhood.  She continued stitching until her death in 2001.  In all she made 36  unbelievably detailed pieces.  The first few were made with yarn and used crewel embroidery.  As time progressed, she used more traditional applique and even machine applique.  They are all so poignant and have that naif feel of folk art.
Ester's needlework was part of the exhibit called The Art of Storytelling.  Her exhibit was called "Through The Eye of the Needle". Along with her needlework was a video featuring Esther and her daughters. It was soul touching and showed how this 12 year old girl was strong enough to shepherd her sister and her through the terrors of being a Jew in Poland during the Holocaust.
You can see a short interview with Esther Krinitz
showing some of her heart wrenching story in the video below.
This exhibit alone was worth the trip for me.  But in addition, there were pieces by about 30  other visionary artists including Ted GordonChris Roberts-Antieau, and Beatrice Coron and even matchstick art by Gerald Hawkes..  Unfortunately no photos were allowed inside but here are some representative pieces.
Fiber applique by Chris Roberts-Antieau
Drawings by Ted Gordon
His exhibit was named "Obsessive Compulsive Delight".  It looked like the pre-cursor to Zentangles.
A papercut by Beatrice Coron.
You could call the AVAM a museum of whimsical art.  There was a 5" ball made from women's bras.  A garland of bottle caps was strung along the banisters heading up the steps.  There was lots of glass/mirror mosaics.  Here are a few photos that I was allowed to take outside.

This one is for my friend Kelly - a biker chick!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #54 - CELEBRATE!

This is the final block for my 2012 Wednesday's Wanderings. 
It is with a sense of joy and relief that I created this block.
  I am so happy that I made it through the year without too many hiccups. 
 So ring the bells and throw the confetti!

I started with this polka dot fabric and quilted it with wavy lines.

 I used a metallic thread. 
 The bells were added using raw edge fusible applique after positioning the rick rack.
I like to use a rayon thread for the blanket stitch 
It has a bit of a shine.

The block needed a bit more of a celebratory theme, so after adding the bells
 I decided to add some streamers.
 The streamers were too thick to be created from fabric, so I chose to do thread painting. I searched high and low for my beloved blue soluble marking pen, but couldn't find it.  Instead I used a water soluble film (Solvy) and drew my streamer pattern on it.
 I thread painted the streamers by stitching over and over until I thought there was enough coverage.  I tore away the remaining Solvy.  I did not need to soak it.
And then I added some confetti!
The satin stitch was perfect for this.


The 54th block.
One block a week plus 2 for good measure (and to make an eye pleasing layout).

A wall hanging with a year's full of wanderings and memories. 
Thanks for hanging in there with me on this journey.
Finished quilt to follow.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #53 - Sasha and Addison

I spent most of the last week in Chandler, Arizona.  It is just outside of Phoenix.  My brother lives out there with his wife.  His 2 grown daughters and their families live there too.  I flew out there for a visit and to mainly help my niece who had twin girls not too long ago.

They are identical twins, but Sasha is considerably larger than Addison.  They are tiny little miracles.  They were born at 31 weeks and were teeny tiny.  One was a little less than 3 lbs and the other was a bit over 3 lbs. They were in the hospital a long time before they were allowed to go home.

In addition to these girls, my niece has 2 boys that are 4 and 6. 
Yes, that is 4 children under the age of 6.

I was busy, busy, busy trying to be helpful.  I had the joy of feeding these 2 little girls, changing their diapers, changing their clothes and even taking them for a walk.

Oh that was fun!

My block this week was inspired by the photos of Anne Geddes.  She is a wonderful photographer who poses babies in whimsical  settings.

I printed the twins faces on fabric and placed them in the center of the flower
 and outlined them with a ring of yellow fabric
stitched down with a blanket stitch.
(Aren't they adorable?)
The faces/flower babies were "planted" in a pot.

I added their names stitching by hand using a backstitch and Dazzle,
 a 12 wt rayon/metallic thread from Wonderfil Specialty Threads.

It was 5 days of family time and reconnecting with my other niece and her 2 children too. 
It is so heartwarming and easy to be with this gang of people that are my family,
 but live way too far away. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #52 - A Liberated Menorah

Happy Chanukah!

Tonight is the 5th night of Chanukah.I knew I had to make a menorah.
As a designer of Judaic designs (OyVey! Quilt Designs), I have made many, many menorah quilt patterns.
So I decided to challenge myself, I would go "organic"! Or liberated!
No scissors, no ruler, no pattern, except to square up the block at the end.
I am on the fence about the results.

I started with a quick sketch on a piece of paper that is about the size of the finished block.

I started by cutting out the fabric for the candles and the background using only scissors without trying to be perfect.  Can you tell?
 I sewed them into a strip set.  I did use my 1/4" foot.

After cutting the strip set in half, I added background fabric to the top.
 And then I joined the 8 candles with the middle taller candle, called the shamash. 
This candle is used to light all the others.
 After attaching the middle section of the menorah,
I added triangles by stitching diagonally across squares.
My trusty companion resting in the middle of my mess.
 It was late.
 Then I cut the remaining pieces of the block to check the layout.
This is the block after stitching the pieces together. I am not crazy about the candle all the way on the right.  I kind of like the other ones.

I used a loose satin stitch to add the candles, quilted the block

and finally got to use my ruler to square up the block.

It was certainly stress free to be liberated,
 but at the same time it was a challenge not to use my ruler and rotary cutter.
The block has a whimsical feeling and I am happy to use it to celebrate Chanukah, when a small amount of oil miraculously lasted 8 nights, keeping the flame lit in the temple in Jerusalem.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Scrappy Chanukah

It all started with a Bonnie Hunter workshop.  After deciding to make the scrappy workshop quilt from my Chanukah stash, I first cut up the larger pieces of fabric to make pillowcases for
 ConKerr Cancer, an organization that provides cheerful pillowcases to children with cancer.  They would be perfect for the Jewish kids during Chanukah.    I was able to make 9 pillowcases.  You can read more details in this blog post.
It started me down the road of using up all of my Chanukah fabrics that I started collecting in 1996.  It was truly time to get rid of them. With all the Judaic patterns that I have designed over many years, I never have used a Chanukah themed fabric.
It started with Bonnie's Scrappy Bargello pattern. 
Then I made the border by cutting hundreds of 1 1/2" strips.
I named the finished quilt "A Multitude of Menorahs".
But I still had scraps and pieces of fabric left , so I decided to make tablerunners.
I ended up with 3 tablerunners and finally used up ALL of my Chanukah fabric.

To night is the first night of Chanukah. We will light one candle using the candle in the middle.
 It lasts for 8 nights  more candle.
Tonight my kids will come over for our traditional dinner.
We will light the menorah, stuff ourselves with potato latkes (pancakes) and exchange gifts.
 Wishing a Happy Chanukah to all who celebrate.