Monday, March 12, 2018

My Hiatus is Coming to a Close

It's time to get into the swing of things.  The natural rhythm of my year leaves me with a 3 - 1/2 month hiatus from lecturing.  During December, most guilds have a holiday themed meeting.  January and February are my months to be in Key West and then the first half of March is for travelling home, unpacking and maybe a couple of  quilt shows.

I am now getting ready for my first lecture of this year at Helping Hands Quilt guild in Dover, DE.  "Turning Travel Into Treasure" is my newest lecture.  I share many fiber pieces that I have created based on my travels over the years.  As I prepare for the presentation, it's like a walk down memory lane, packing each quilt and reminiscing.  Sometimes the memories overcome me. 

In 2011, there was an outdoor art installation in Central Park, in NYC, called The Gates.  I was drooling over photos and wishing that I could walk under those tangerine flags. I grew up in a suburb of the city and have such fond memories of visits from my childhood. One day, my husband said, "let's go!".  Really??  He took a day off from work and we drove the 2 hours North.  It was a glorious, crisp, clear day and I walked and walked and walked under all those flowing pieces of fabric. Then  a volunteer handed me a small piece of the tangerine gate fabric.  I knew I had to use it. 
 I won't share all my stories now.   I could write forever, because many of my quilts are inspired by  my travels.  I'll just share a few photos.

"Filigree Fantasy"  inspired by all the wrought iron balconies and doors in Barcelona.

"Houses of Key West"

"Casa Talavera" inspired by tiles in Mexico

"Concentricity" inspired by sidewalk tiles in St Augustine

Are you inspired by your travels?
Come to one of my lectures if you want to see more eye candy  and hear more of my stories. 
 Click HERE for my schedule.

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Friday, February 23, 2018

From Photo to Pattern

We had two amazingly spring like days here in Pennsylvania this week.  It certainly helped to lift my spirits.  It was the perfect time to head to Longwood Gardens with my DIL.  She loves it there and knows every nook and cranny and lots of interesting information - plus she has guest passes!

Currently the Orchid Extravaganza is taking place.  There are orchids everywhere in the Conservatory.  Some are front and center, like this arbor
and others are tucked away in surprising places:

Longwood is just not a botanical garden, it is also a place for morning walks,   play dates for children,  and contemplative thinking.  You can even transport yourself to Versailles. The picture of all these strollers parked outside of the indoor children's  garden warmed my heart.

So many beautiful orchids are inspiration for so many quilts, more than anyone could make in a lifetime.  I took lots of photos so when I was ready to make a quilt, I had lots to choose from.

At our last quilt guild meeting I shared some computer apps/programs that can be used to manipulate photos. Some of these can be used as the basis for quilt design.
I used my photo of a Cattaleya orchid:

 I started with an app called StitchSketch

I wasn't able to adjust the number of squares or size, so it was hard to define the petals.
I tried another program called Pic2pat - where I could change the resolution
So I searched for one more program where I could adjust the resolution AND the color.  That was Picture Craftwork.  I could adjust the color to define the shape or to create a different hue.

And my final surprise of the day at Longwood, was in the bathroom near the gift shop.

Who needs computer programs?

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Red & White Inspiration

As a redhead I have had an aversion to red most of my life.  We were told not to wear  it because it clashed with our hair. I do remember as a young child, having a red room. The carpet was red and I also remember having a record player with a red cover that zipped to close.  My mother was not afraid of color.  But, I never wore red and I never used red in any of my quilts, unless it was a patriotic quilt.  I did admire others who wore red or made beautiful quilts using red fabric. 

In 2011, there was an amazing exhibit in NYC with 650 red and white quilts on display in a most unusual setting.  It was called "Infinite Variety: Three centuries of red and white quilts".  I took the bus up from Philadelphia to New York with a few friends. When I walked into the  Park Ave Armory, I was overcome with emotion.  The sheer vision of all of these two color quilts hanging from the ceiling spiraling down to the floor, was breathtaking and brought me to tears. 

That was more than 6 years ago.  It inspired me and from then on, a red & white quilt was on my bucket list.  Now I can finally check it off. Here's my original pattern, Funkytown 

and meet Funkytown Version 2.0

I love this quilt.  It is so dramatic in scrappy red and white fabrics.  Funkytown is one of my Curvalicious patterns, but instead of it having a vertical orientation, it is block based, 16 blocks.

Is a Red & White quilt on your bucket list?  Did you see the quilt exhibit in NYC?
If you want to read more about my visit to the exhibit and see more of the quilts, 

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Saturday, February 3, 2018

I've Been Seduced

I'm not a big sports fan, and neither is anyone else in my family, but when your football team is heading to the Superbowl, things change!  Yes, I am a fairweather sports fan.  I barely watch any sports on TV.  Although I do watch some golf when I'm enmeshed in a quilting project on a Sunday afternoon.

So now I'm a huge Eagles fan.  I love seeing stories  about the different players and seeing different groups performing the Eagles theme song on TV.  There are signs in many businesses cheering them on, and how about them changing the sign for Boston Market to Philly Market? There are lots of people dying their hair green.

I would not recognize any of the players if I bumped into them on the street or in the airport, even if they were un uniform,  but I'm superimpressed that Chris Long, donated his entire 2017 base salary of $1million to the Philadelphia school district.
As soon as they won the opportunity to go  the the Superbowl, pop ups shops aka tents showed up on many street corners selling t-shirts and other souvenirs.
It's easy to be seduced.  Years ago, which may have been the last time the Eagles went to the Superbowl. I spent the season sending an Eagles something  or other to my son in law school.  Each time the Eagles were scheduled to play, I sent him a mini football, or shot glass or balloon.  As with any good superstition, I continued to do it  and  they continued on a winning streak.  I don't remember what year that was, but it sure was fun finding Eagles memorabilia to send in the mail.  It's hard to know if the recipient had as much fun receiving as I did sending.

So this week, as a fair weather fan, I had to purchase a few t-shirts:
Go Eagles!!!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Road 2 CA Recap

I have finally surfaced from my  trip to California.  I arrived there with a cold, that persisted even until today.  I had quite a hoarse throat throughout my classes, but my students were wonderful and so co-operative.

I'm starting to get used to teaching on the road.  A suitcase full of  class supplies were shipped to CA two weeks ahead of time.  We carefully watched the tracking status and breathed a sigh of relief when it showed "ARRIVED".  The remainder of supplies and my quilts were loaded into my checked bag, weighing in at 49#, my carry on bag containing all my Mini Mosaic quilts and my personal bag.  I have learned to embrace curb side check-in at the airport and gladly tip the sky cap.

This brought a smile to my face as I changed gates in Phoenix.

There was a faculty meeting complete  with hors d'oeuvres the evening before classes started.  Sitting next to Jenny Doan and other quilting  luminaries made me pinch  myself. This was going to be an amazing show.

I share with my students at the beginning of each class, my teaching method - after an overview, I break the project down step by step.  I don't want  to hold anybody back or leave anyone behind.  It's a balancing act.  This is about their success, not mine.  First up was my Silk Skinny Curvalicious quilt class using dupioni silk. 

Friday's class was "Beachalicious", another Curvalicious class.  Some prep ahead of time resulted in some great progress:
On the third day, "Funkytown" was the class.  This was the first time that I taught this Curvalicious pattern as a class.  It was so exciting to see every one's fabric choices.

And the final day, the class was the Mini Mosaic Quilt class.
I love this class because there's lots of time to chat and learn about each other.  So interesting! So fascinating I completely forgot to take any photos.

I had an hour or so during lunch one day to visit the vendors and see the quilts.  The floor was buzzing, the quilts were amazing and again no photos!

My travel agent (aka my hubby) worked his magic and was able to book me First Class seats on my way home.  It was a great time to catch up on my sleep and healthy eating.
Thank you everyone.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Teacher or Instructor

Tomorrow morning, early in the morning, I'll be leaving the house to head to the airport to fly to California.  How early? 4:15AM.  That is if the snow doesn't cancel/postpone the flight.  I'm hoping the weather people are building up the hype, like they so often do. 

I'm excited to be heading west to where the weather is sunny and warm.  I was invited to teach at The Road 2 California, the largest quilt show on the West Coast.  My career philosophy has been that you just never know which door will open and when.  You just need to be open to opportunity.  During Quilt Market in October 2016, I presented a class during Schoolhouse about what they could do with this new template called Curvalicious.  There were about 30 attendees.  We collected their business cards, but I never scrutinized who was there.  Fast forward about 7 months when  I received an e-mail from Road 2 Ca.  When I asked where they had heard of me - it was Schoolhouse!

I am thrilled to be teaching 4 classes. The preparation started 2 months ago.  This included putting together kits, preparing step outs, and figuring out how I was going to get it all to California.  There is only so much luggage that one person can shepherd through the airport even  after paying extra luggage  fees.  Three weeks ago, we sent a 70 lb suitcase via FedEx to the organizers.   

When I was taking classes, I never thought about how much work it was to teach either around the corner or across the country!  Is it worth it? You betcha!  Meeting and sharing what  I've learned and developed with other quilters is one of the driving forces for me.  It is pure joy to be with people who speak the same language.

So do I consider myself a teacher or instructor? It's a combination of both.  Teaching a technique and then having students take it and use it to make their own creations is one of my goals.   My other goal is for students to feel successful.

So on the eve of my leaving for California, I needed a little pouch to hold my important stuff.  I love making zippy pouches and I just adore this doog fabric.
and I was so happy to line it with this fabric that looks like Curvvalicious, gievn to me by a friend.  And how about that polka dot zipper?

One last housekeeping item.  Between my blog, IG and FB, there were over 500 comments.  I wish I could send somethig to everyone, but for now ther can only be one winner.  The winner of my giveaway celebrating my final project as an Island Batik Ambassador
is Tiffinyquilts.  Congratulations Tiffany.  As soon as you send me your address, I'll send you a package full of goodies.  Thank you to everyonne who entered and who follows my wonderful quilting adventure.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Modern Batik Sampler Quilt and a Giveaway

As most of you know, I usually head to Key West for a couple of months during the Winter.  This year we are staying home in PA.  Of course, it has to be the coldest Winter ever, or so it seems to me.  When it is 3 degrees, I just don't want to go outside, but when you need groceries, there is no other choice.  It gives me a new appreciation for those of you that live in climates where the  temps hit -30 degrees.

I always look for the silver lining.  Staying home has given me lots of time for working on my last project as an Island Batik Ambassador.  I've been admiring Modern interpretations of traditional quilt blocks that I've seen on social media (Instagram) as well as improvisational blocks.  They really intrigue me.  For this final project, my fabric collection is called "Blue Moon".
Island Batik Stack Blue Moon 40 Ten Inch Squares
It's quite a coincidence that the theme for this month's project is The Four Seasons and that I was given this icy blue palette of colors.
I love blue and I'm so happy to see this color return.  This collection plus white was my playground for these blocks. I started with this block:

And a bunch more:
And a few more:
I really enjoyed making these blocks and searching for ideas.  But the most fun part for me was rearranging, adding and subtracting to create the final quilt.  It's this puzzle aspect of quilting that appeals to me the most. This is the next to last step in my process of putting all of these blocks together. You can see I had to add some fill ins.
I decided to spend a day conquering the tension issues I have had as a newbie with my longarm.  Oh boy, do  I love YouTube.  I watched many videos with instruction ranging from how to oil it, how to load the backing and the quilt, how to baste it and how to thread it.  I reached out to other IB Ambassadors asking them about quilting with IB batiks and I have to thank them.  Those with longarms encouraged me to do it.  And then voila! it worked.

All of the Island Batik Ambassadors are participating in a blog hop to celebrate the culmination of a year's worth of projects.  Today Jennifer at The Inquiring Quilter is also sharing her amazing quilt that she created from the Blue Moon collection.  It's so interesting to see what the two of us have created using the same fabrics.

To celebrate the blog hop there are 2 giveaways, one hosted by me  and one hosted by Island Batik.
I have been trying (key word trying) to do a bit of studio organizing and  came  across some of my swag from Quilt Market and other odds and ends.
My giveaway is limited to continental US addresses.  You can have several opportunities to enter:
1.  Leave a comment here with your email address
2.  Like me on Facebook or leave a comment if you already have.
3.  Follow me or leave a comment on Instagram and for every friend you tag, you'll get another chance
I'll pick a winner on Weds, Jan 17th by noon, EST.

Island Batik is also hosting a giveaway on Rafflecopter.  Here's the LINK.

Don't forget to check out the other blogs in the blog hop.  You'll have the opportunity to see all of the collections just arriving at your local quilt shops.
Carol Steely - Fun Threads
AlisonVermilya - Little Bunny Quilts   (Alison has shared the links for the entire blog hop!)
Tina Dillard - Quilt Affection
Jean-Sophie Wood -  Sophie Junction

And how did I spend last night's chilly temps while writing this post?
With my puppy on my lap and a warm fire.
Stay warm my friends, enjoy the hop and I hope you win some goodies.