Friday, February 27, 2015

Plein Air Painting

There is a group of Plein Air (outdoors) painters here in Key West that meet once a week.  Each week it is a different location.  I have seen them on different street corners and have been curious.  I was excited and nervous at the same time when I was invited to join them.  I was told, just come and sketch. Since they mainly use different houses for their subject, I thought this might be great inspiration for a quilt.  I have a spot above my couch that has a couple of posters hanging there now and I would love to hang a quilt there.

When I arrived, they were spread out on the 4 corners of the intersection, choosing different points of view.

They all had these portable easels and other accessories.  Some of them used brushes.  Some of them used brushes.  Some of them used acrylic paint.  Some of them used oil.  I was there with my little sketch pad with a pencil and I sat on the curb! Intimidated? You betcha, but these ladies (and gentleman) could not have been nicer. 
Here is a sampling of thier works in progress. I am amazed by their talent.

Here are my sketches.  It's a beginning. 

I learned it's about perspective and observation and believe it or not, I found it to be very peaceful.  I got lost in thinking about what I was drawing and that erased all my worries about getting ready to leave in 3 days. I will look forward to joining them when I return next year.  There is certainly lot of room for improvement.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What am I going to do with all those silk blocks?

This is my 12th and final block.  I love the layering of the flower and the buds and the circles inside.

This is one layout with all of the blocks:
But I really want a central design with the flowers around the outside:
It's just a question of what to put in that center panel. Hmmmm.
Do you have a favorite block?  I have a few.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Oscar Night

A new tradition has been started in our courtyard.  It started with the Superbowl.
We all gather to watch TV on a  big screen using a digital projector.
For the Oscars, everyone brought an hors d'oeuvre.

Here's ours, Buffalo Chicken Bites.  I don't want to brag, but they were delicious.
Everyone asked for the recipe, so here goes.

It starts with:
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Frank's Hot Sauce
1 tsp Brown Sugar
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 lb Cooked Chicken Breasts
1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 package (48)Won Ton Wrappers

Grind or chop the cooked chicken into a coarse texture.

Melt the butter and add all the ingredients to the chicken and mix by hand.

Place 1/2 a heaping tsp in the center of a wonton wrapper.
Using your finger, wet all 4 edges of the wrapper and fold it in half diagonally.
Seal it tight and then seal it some more using a fork.
Makes about 40.

Place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes,
until golden brown.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Curvalicious Bags

My plan was to make a large batik Curvalicious bed quilt.  Stitching the fused circles by hand was to be my "sitting" project on a tour to Budapest and Hungary.  There was a lot of sitting time on the flight over and back and time spent waiting for the group.  I don't like to fuse down all the circles at once, since inevitably the fabric begins to fray.  I know I have shared this before, but you can always find an iron in a hotel.  It's either in your room or a call down to the front desk results in one appearing at your door.
This was half of the quilt and quite frankly, I just thought it was too much, and this was only the first half.

So I decided to cut it up and make 2 bags from it and a tablerunner,
 and then I would see what else was left over.

I am far from an expert in making bags.  The first bag I wanted to create was inspired by this little double zipped purse. I take it with me all over the island.  It's large enough to carry my little wallet and my phone. The two zippered compartments are separate, and I can sling it over my shoulder.
My "wants" for my double zippered purse were:
                           1.  Two independently zippered compartment
                           2.  to wear it over my shoulder, which means a comfortable strap
                           3.  Large enough for serious travel
                           4.  Large enough to hold a sketch pad, digital camera, wallet, phone and umbrella, + ??
                           5.  Finished inside seams
                           6.  Inside pocket for my phone and keys

Most of the requirements were pretty easy to meet, just by making the bag larger, so I started with a piece of the Curvalicious fabric that measured 12" x 30".  I knew my struggle would be with making sure there were no raw seams inside, so I made a little prototype.
The dot fabric represented the zipper.
I cant tell you how many times I had to refer to my prototype before finishing 
my Curvvalicious Double Zip Bag, perfectly sized at 10" x 15".
The local fabric store that also does upholstery put the grommets in for me.
(Thanks Nick.)

One bag down and one more to go.  

A big beautiful tote bag, large enough to hold projects or for an overnight trip. It has a square bottom and interior pockets and a comfy strap.
This is my first project with horizontal Curvalicious stripes.  I like it!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Silk Blocks #10 & #11

I hope these flowers bring some warmth to my friends up North. 
 Please stay warm and safe.  I will be joining you in 2 weeks.

Monday, February 16, 2015

An Open Air Museum

 I visited Miami this weekend.  My goal was to visit the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and soak in all the forms of art that is being made today.

There were over 340 exhibitors and it was great. Some of it is so unique with such a different vision.  There were lots of photographers, jewelers and painters.  Of course, I couldn't take photos, but I want to share that art is alive and well in Miami.  The exhibitors were happy with their sales and optimistic about the future - and the artwork was not cheap!

But, the best part of my weekend was Sunday.  I went to see the Wynwood Murals.  OMG!!!! I live outside of Philadelphia and we have a Mural Arts program that is inspiring.  It's focus is neighborhoods and the locals. I have to tell you I was not in Philadelphia! These murals were vibrant, current, cutting edge art covering the walls of warehouses.  We walked over 2 miles and then got in the car and drove around to see more.  The rejuvenation of this section of Miami started in 2009 with invited well-known street artists from all over the world.  I don't know how many  murals there are.  Let's just say there are lots. In addition to the street art, there are lots of galleries and some restaurants.  The streets were full of people, mainly millenials, walking up and down the streets with their camera, oohing and aahing with excitement.  A true open air museum.

I'll share  some of my favorites. (If you know me, you'll know that I love cake, so you'll be able to pick my absolute favorite.)   I want to tell you, you must go see this street art in person.  You will be blown away by the talent and diversity. So grab a cup of coffee or a Red Bull and enjoy the show. I'm just going to share as many as I can.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Quilt Show In Paradise

Such a perfect name for a quilt guild in The Keys - Paradise Quilters. 
They have a biennial quilt show in Big Pine Key at the end of February.  I was invited by the local quilt shop, The Seam Shoppe, to demo Curvalicious.  Yay!  
The show is Saturday and Sunday, February 21st and 22nd at the Sugarloaf HS. 
 I'll be there on Saturday.  My first demo is at 11:00AM. Come and see me if you are in the area.

I wanted to make another sample for the show in addition to Beachalicious and the Curvalicious Skinny quilt and I wanted it to be simple.  I made it in an afternoon.  I started with this adorable flamingo fabric that is available at The Seam Shoppe.
I combined it with 2 other fabrics to make the quickest baby size quilt ever, 
resulting in Flamingo Curvalicious.
And of course Bailey had to get in on the act.

As I am wrapping up my projects here in Key West, I decided that I needed to do something with my dupioni silk scraps - don't you think?
What a mess!
This always seems to happen to me, because I tend to shove stuff into bags.  I patiently separated the silk scraps apart which included getting rid of lots of stray threads.  I sorted and stacked by color.

It reduced the volume of the pile considerably,
and then to keep it neat, for a while at least, I put each color in a zip lock baggie.