Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #10 - Childhood Memories

It's interesting what is important to you upon reflection as opposed to what is important to you at the moment. On one of the last days of I\my Israel trip, our group headed to a remote area to plant a tree under the guidance of The Jewish National Fund (JNF).

Kids, as well as adults, in synagogues all over the world have been donating money to plant a tree in Israel. Sometimes it is for a special holiday and sometimes it is to commemorate an occasion. These trees have turned some parts of Israel from a barren wasteland into a forest.
So it was appropriate for us to plant a tree. I have to say it was a little kitschy. The guide from the JNF talked in a disinterested monotone trying to finish his speech as quickly as he could because he had other groups waiting. Our group was given this flat of pistachio seedlings to plant in pre-dug holes.
This week while trying to choose a topic for my WW, I chose this tree planting. The tree planting connected my childhood to my long awaited trip to Israel with my current life. Those dollars we sent helped to make Israel green. I am a part of that country. So the insignificant event became so significant to me in retrospect.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Book Give-A-Way, Not just For Quilters

It was the best timing.  Dutton Books contacted me to see if I was interested in reviewing Jennifer Chiaverini's newest book called "Sonoma Rose", right before I was leaving for Israel.  I hadn't chosen a book for the plane ride, so I said "send it to me, quickly".  And they sent me an Advance Proof. This made me feel quite important!

Jennifer Chiaverini is a NY Times best selling author.  This is the 7th book in her Elm Creek Quilts Novel Series.  She also has published several quilt pattern books.  Quilts are frequently mentioned in her book, but you don't have to be a quilter to read them.

"Sonoma Rose" takes place during prohibition with a strong woman character.  Some of her children have Celiac's disease. It took a long time to diagnose them and this reminded me of my friend, Nancy. 

The good news is that Dutton has offered a copy of "Sonoma Rose", hot off the press, to give away. Leave a comment and make sure that you leave an e-mail where I can contact you.  I will pick the winner on Weds, leap day.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #9 - My View of Jerusalem

I am still wandering but heading home tonight.  Leaving this beautifully complex country will be so difficult but I can't wait to start making quilts inspired by this amazing trip (and sleeping in my bed and seeing Bailey girl). Here's my little quilt for this week.
My view of Jerusalem

In case you were wondering, I brought bits and pieces of fabric and fusible web with me.  My husband and I had a light dinner one night. Afterwards, I called the front desk requesting an iron and ironing board and then spent the evening creating.  I'll stitch it down when I get home.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Photos From Israel

I promised more photos and here they are, albeit a bit disorganized. We have been so very busy trying to cram in as much as we can and it has been hard to get on-line. I'll keep at it.

A happy sight after an 11 hour plane ride - Welcome to Israel at the airport.
Apartment buildings located on the typical rocky terrain.

Camels grazing on the side of the road.
Pretty skinny!

Surprisingly, this is the desert.  It is rock, not sand.

The Dead Sea.

Safed - a very European looking town.
There are soldiers everywhere in Jerusalem, but most of he ones we have seen are in training.  Everyone has to serve in the army .  They usually do it after high school.  Girls serve 2 years and boys serve for 3 years.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Mosaic Temple

I have fallen in love with mosaics, especially those in a town called Acco (or Akko or Acre) in Israel at The Or Torah Synagogue. 

I have also befriended a man called Zion Badasche, even though we have trouble communicating.  He speaks Hebrew and French.  I speak English and the tiniest bit of French.  He came to Acco about 60 years ago  from Tunisia with a mission to create a synagogue covered with mosaics.

Behind us is a mosaic of the town of Acco.

Some of the mosaics depict stories from the old testament.
There are lots of mosaics depicting flowers, birds, animals and fish mentioned in the bible.

Viewed from a 2nd floor balcony.

 and different Israeli cities.

Not one wall , section of floor or stairwell was left uncovered.  And Mr.Badasche told me that I should practice speaking Hebrew 1 hour a day and when I return next year, we will be able to communicate in Hebrew! (I'm not sure that will make it to my to do list.)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Two Photos I Had To Share

I am travelling around Israel taking lots of photos.  For some reason I am having difficulties organizing and uploading these photos.  (And the reason is me!!)  But I want to share 2 photos that my Bernina loving friends will get a kick out of.  I took these in the old city section of believe it or not, Jerusalem.

Can you hear him saying "Oy, another seam to rip"?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #8 - Israel or Bust

I am wandering around Israel as you read this.  I prepared this WW block before I left. 
The books and map were printed on fabric and then fused. 
 I used book covers from for the images.

I use fabric that is sold for putting through an inkjet printer.  It is pretreated so that the image is permanent and won't wash out.  My favorite brand?  EQ Printables.  No matter which brand you use, these sheets are very expensive.  Before I print on the fabric, I do trial printings with paper.

I can then adjust the size and the color if necessary, before I do the final printing.
I stitched the words by hand with floss and added the cute detail of the suitcase handle.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Leaving On A Jet Plane

I'm leaving for Israel this evening.  I am so excited and can't wait to be immersed in the history and ancient architecture of this amazing, resilient country.  I was supposed to go as a teenager, but that's when the fighting started with the 6 Day War. 

I have been afraid to go ever since then.  All the news stories make it seem like such a dangerous place to visit.  But everyone I know who has gone to Israel has told me how safe they felt when they were there.  I've been told that the Israelis know where all the tourists are located, just in case....  So when my synagogue was planning a tour, I knew it was time to go.

We have a jam packed itinerary.  I  am meeting with at least one group of quilters. I hope to share lots of photos while I am gone, if I can figure out the technology with my iPad.
  Keep stitching while I'm gone.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Birthday Gift

A big birthday deserves a special present.
I won't say which birthday it was!
But can you read the cover????

It's a birthday book for Terry.
The Quiltinis each made a page - a little quilt.
My job was to turn the little quilts into a book and make the cover.

This little quilt was made by Sujata. It celebrates Terry's  fondness for elephants.
The elephant is appliqued. The blanket adds the perfect splash of color. It really is adorable.

Jane's little quilt depicts Terry hard at work during quilting getaways. This comical block also includes Terry's headlamp, her beloved Bernina and a very special bird.

Christine's little quilt celebrates Terry's love of cake. Check out the cupcake wrapper. It really looks like one.  And is that a flower cut from a piece of fabric for the icing?

Kelly's little quilt is covered in beautiful sunflowers. They are Terry's favorite. Lots of her quilts have sunflowers and crows on them.

The little quilts were made into an accordion style book with a few added embellishments.

This is great for display. It stands.

Terry is also an amazing hiker. Her goal at one time was to hike the Appalachian Trail from beginning to end. She has done quite a bit of it. I had wanted to depict her love for hiking, but it just didn't work for the cover, so here's the back of the book with a label:

Happy (60th) Birthday Terry!  Remember, 60 is the new 30!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #7 - Winter

This has been the craziest winter.  While I was in Key West, the weather up North in PA was often in the 50's.  Definitely unseasonably warm. I didn't really think that was fair.  After all I was in Florida!  There was a bit of snow while I was gone.  And usually there is at least one big snowstorm when we get home in February.  The temperature this past week has hovered around 50 degrees.  This is winter? Thus the inspiration for my block this week:

I experimented with this block as a prototype for an upcoming project.  I tried various colored backgrounds from grey to white to blue.  The snowflakes were the most visible on the light blue shot cotton.  I must have cut out about 50 fusible snowflakes from lame and organza. Some were successful.  Many were not.  I stayed true to the 6 pointed structure of an actual snowflake. 

Fusing a heat sensitive fabric like lame and organza requires a gentle touch.  I try to keep the iron hot to activate the fusible, but I cover the applique with a piece of cotton fabric and ironed lightly and quickly, so as not to melt the snowflakes.

I decided not to stitch down the snowflakes.  They were far too intricate.  To keep them in place  I covered the block with a piece of nylon tulle netting and machine quilted a grid.

I fused the letters on top of the tulle netting using a piece of cotton fabric as a press cloth. 
Then I machine blanket stitched them with rayon thread. 

I don't know what the rest of the winter will bring.
 I am not a big fan of shoveling snow or driving in it.
 So I would not mind if it continues to be a very mild winter.
 (I apologize to all of you who love to hit the slopes.)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #6 - On the Road

All good things must come to an end.  Heading back to Pennsylvania with mixed feelings.  I think it is obvious by my previous blocks, how fond I am of this place at the southernmost point of the US, called Key West.  But I am looking forward to getting back to real life and my family and friends.

I never thought I would be in the position to have a working vacation, but this is what the last 6 weeks has been.  Somehow, with all of my years of stitching, I have become what could be called a professional.  I just never would have envisioned this.  Thank you to everyone who has made this possible and thanks you to all for being interested enough to read my blog.  But I digress...

It's a 2 day ride home, pretty much straight up Rte 95 after leaving the Keys. Check out my Flower Power vehicle with button tires:

 I had to include the tourist attraction, South of the Border, in my block.  It was built in the 1950's and if you have driven on Rte 95 in North Carolina, you cannot miss it.  It has a special place in my heart, because it is the opening slide for my lecture about quilts inspired by Mexican Talavera tiles. It brings a smile to everyone's face who has seen it and/or stopped there lured by the roadside billboards.

It's extremely hard to write on black fabric.  I found a white gel pen at the local crafts store.  It worked OK - hard to write in such a small space.

I stitched the letters on the signs with 2 strands of Floss.

Heading home .....