Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ugly butterfly project is complete...I think

Unless I decide it needs just a little more....something. After the last photos I posted of it, I attached the wings, top to bottom, and made the body. The body is fully stuffed, and I wasn't too sure if I liked it that thick. But after I beaded the eyes and added antenna, I think it's good. This becomes more of a wall sculpture, maybe, than a quilt, but that's okay. I also added a little beading to the black areas on the wings; just a touch of the same beads I used in the eyes. The first picture here is the machine embroidered label that Quilter's Corner provided to all participants. We weren't required to use them, but they are so darn cute, who could resist?

The next photo is the back, showing the "sleeve" that can be used to run a wooden dowel through for hanging. Each upper wing has a sleeve.

The third photo is a close up of the body, showing the eye and antenna. The antenna is just a black chenille stem. I thought about covering it with fabric, but the fuzziness works for me.

And lastly, ta-da! The finished ugly duckling butterfly. It measures 29" from wingtip to wingtip, and about 19" from top to bottom. Will the recipient like it, hate it, or say, "Oh, that's nice"? I'll have to let you know after June 9th. What do you think she'll say?

Friday, May 25, 2007

These are the two hearts I'll be sending to Leona in Virginia for the Sharing Our Hearts swap through CQ for Newbies. The first is fancy fabrics in antique-ish colors, and the seam embroidery that is between the gold fabric and the white fabric is a stitch I found on the last restoration I did. That stitch must have been a favorite of the quilt's creator; she used it a lot.

The second heart is cotton fabrics, including 3 pieces of my very favorite blending fabric, the tie-dyed looking one with the gold "lightning" overlay. I originally bought a yard and a half of that fabric, but wish I had bought about 5. It has all colors of the rainbow in it in a soft water-color like pattern, so when I need pink, I can look for the pink areas, or blue, green, lavender, orange, gold, etc.

June will be my month to receive hearts, and then again in December. They will be coming from Florida, Montana, Connecticut, Virginia, South Dakota, New Jersey, and one from the Netherlands. I've requested spiders for December; won't that be festive?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I recently finished the ethnic round robin, which had been going on with a group of ladies from the Quiltropolis cq list for a little over a year now. We did two rounds, actually, each of us choosing a country to be represented by our block. In the first round, I chose Kenya, and that block has all silk fabrics and a beautiful elephant printed on silk from a tie that I got a Salvation Army. The second round, I chose Egypt, and used some Egyptian print fabrics that my friend Lauri gave me. This block is all cotton, and when I got it back, it had beadwork, embroidery, sequins, an asp charm, a pharoah's head charm, and a cartuche charm that is actually from Cairo, added by our Italian friend Simona.

Rachel and the boys (I love saying "the boys") spent most of yesterday here, so I got in some good grandma-ing. Zackery had been to see the doctor, who confirmed that he is growing and healthy. The doctor asked Rachel if she had any questions, and Corbin said, "I have a question." The doctor said, "Okay, what's your question?" Corbin patted Zackery gently and said, "Our baby is furry and soft." The doctor said, "Good question. I guess that's really more of a comment, but...good question."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Jaxon amid the red hot pokers; Leona's heart

I'm really enjoying the flowers in our front yard this spring. These are called red hot pokers. They are originally a native of Africa, but they fit in so well here in the southwest USA. The plant looks a little like yucca, but is softer, and the flower spike is, as you can see, intensely colored, almost florescent orange and yellow. The first time I saw these in someone's yard, I thought, those are the tackiest artificial flowers! The color just didn't look real to me. The clump on the left was already here when we moved into this house, but I have transplanted some to the right, and they are actually thriving! Jaxon, our bulldog/springer spaniel mix (a bullspringer?) was kind enough to pose with them.

This is one of the hearts I'll be sending to Leona for the "sharing our hearts" swap for May. When I had pieced this and done the seam embroidery, I started looking for buttons or charms and found the lion head button. I just couldn't resist; Leona means "like a lion". The white stiped fabric is some that I hand dyed with my friend Lauri earlier this year. I was shooting for an antiqued look with this one; the second one will be cottons and more vibrant colors.
June will be "my" month for this heart swap, so I'll be getting 9 hearts from around the country and one from the Netherlands. Then December is my month again (that's why I send two hearts each month; I have two months), so I'll get 10 more then. Happy birthday to me in June, and Merry Christmas to me in December!

Here's 6 day old Zackery, doing what he does best so far; sleeping cutely.

Monday, May 21, 2007

More Ugly butterfly

Here are the separate wings for my ugly duckling fabric project. They are fully embellished and bound, using a bias cut 1/2"(finished) binding. I've only done one other bias binding; on a double wedding ring quilt restoration. I had to look up in a book how to cut the binding, and I still did it wrong. It fought me all the way, but I eventually prevailed.
The next thing will be to add a body piece to attach the wings together, then the "sleeve" on the back of the upper wings for the dowel to slide through for hanging.
The lower left wing (2nd pic) has a cute little pewter hummingbird charm in the purple patch, and the red patch in the upper right wing (3rd pic) has a birdhouse charm with a tiny little bird dangling off of it. I think this is the first time I've ever used charms, even though I've been collecting them for a long time. I couldn't figure out how to attach them other than just sewing them on, and that always looked to me like they were just stuck there. For the birdhouse, I attached it with a few daisy stitches in a sunburst pattern (like the sun is rising over the roof), and for the hummer, I sewed him on, then added some stitches that match the ones on the seam treatment (his favorite flower to feed from).

The upper right wing also has a spider and her web in the turquoise patch, with a seam treatment of flies (so she'll never be hungry).

The upper left wing has a little frog chasing a fly that he, sadly, will never catch; a row of embroidered dragonflies; a ladybug button; some grapes on a vine; and the quote from T. Fuller.
"May things grow in the garden that were never sown there."

Friday, May 18, 2007

Here's Zackery Aiden, born on Mother's Day, May 13th. He looks really tiny in this photo, but he's average for a newborn; 7 lbs, 13 oz. and almost 20" long. And his big brother, Corbin, who hasn't stopped smiling like this (or bouncing off the walls) since he got "promoted".

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Restoration and resizing of an antique quilt

This is how the quilt (left photo) started out; at this point I have made a few cuts to free up "good" pieces.

Some of the pieces are arranged on the new foundation fabric (upper right). Nothing is sewn down yet at this point. I won't sew until I know how much of the foundation I can cover. I'm shooting for about a 36" square. The large rectangular center panel is a painting on velvet of two deer; very lovely work!
Lower left is a close up of what will be the upper right corner of the quilt. The blue flowers are painted on a tan velvet piece and includes a monogram "M". Just under the red and green plaid is one of the seams I made, as yet unembroidered. Lower right photo is another close up of a salvaged piece. You can just make out the date, 1905, on the shredded purple piece, which was not salvagable. I asked the owner if she would like to have the date embroidered on the quilt again in a different patch, and she agreed. In the lower left of this photo is a faded drawing of two owls done on velvet; I so wished I could have worked that patch into the finished quilt, but it was too damaged.

This shows the quilt all pieced to the foundation, and it just reached the 36" square that I'd outlined! After the edges are turned under for binding, it will be just under 36". At this point, I have not finished the embroidery that will cover the edges of the seams I made in reassembling.
I used stitches that were already on the quilt; trying to match the original stitch length and placement as much as possible.

And here is the finished wall hanging! It is still 102 years old, so other fabrics in it may degrade over time, but for now, it is in perfect and very displayable shape.
(Thank you to Michaela for holding it up for this photo!)

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Ugly duckling fabric challenge

Recently I agreed to participate in the Ugly Duckling Fabric challenge that my local quilt shop, Quilter's Corner, puts on. Each person was asked to bring in a 1/2 yard piece of "the most neglected fabric" in their stash. The store owner switched around the fabrics and handed them back out. We were given almost 6 weeks to make something, anything, quilted out of the "ugly" fabric and fabric we purchased or from our stashes.
I almost didn't do it because I know most, if not all, of the other ladies would be doing sane quilt projects, and I didn't know if the fabric I got would lend itself to crazy quilting. Well, I took one look inside the bag at my challenge fabric and knew that a cq angel had been sitting on the store owner's shoulder. It is the green print fabric you see in the picture above. It has well-spaced butterflies, dragonflies, ladybugs, bees, and something that looks like a firefly or moth; perfect for fussy-cutting, or cutting the individual bugs out for a cq patch. It's so perfectly suited to cqing that I'm not sure how one would use it effectively in a sane quilt. And bugs! I love bugs! And I don't think a cq is complete without a spider and web, so you know that's going in there. In this photo, the two bottom wings have been somewhat embellished; they have seam treatment embroidery. I have since added a short quotation to one of the upper wings; May things grow in the garden that were never sown there. T. Fuller.
The size is about 29" across the upper wings, and 20" top to bottom, but it will eventually have a body in between the wings. I plan to hang it by using a fabric tube sewn on the back of the upper wings that a wooden dowel will slide through. I'm making this up as I go, so hopefully that will work. It needs to be complete and back to the store by June 7th. I hope the lady who brought in the bug fabric likes crazy quilting.
Michaela has reminded me that I should say that she gave me the idea for this project. She suggested a butterfly shaped pillow, which I morphed into this idea.

fun with a water bottle

My youngest daughter, Michaela, filled a 2 liter bottle with water and tried to look through it. After I picked myself up off the floor and stopped laughing, I grabbed the camera and captured her look. She thinks she looks like the character "Squidward" from Sponge Bob Square Pants. Mine didn't come out quite as funny, but she wouldn't let me post hers unless I posted mine, too.

The MEME challenge

My local cq buddy Lauri tagged me for this Meme challenge. I'm supposed to tell 7 things that you wouldn't know about me. Since I just started this blog, that gives me a lot of options, doesn't it?
Lauri's 7 were fascinating; we've only known each other since last fall, so there's a lot I don't know about her. (I don't know how to put in links yet, but you can check her out at Don' We haven't met each other's husbands yet, though we have met most of each other's kids (we have 8 between us). Well, here goes:

1. Lauri is the first new friend I've made in about 10 years. I have made lots of what I'd term "friendly acquaintances" in that time, but no one else that I would give the title FRIEND.

2. My sense of humor is often....ummm.......earthy? base? sophomoric? dirty? twisted? irreverent?Yes.

3. I only dated a few other guys before I met my husband. We married when I was 19, he was 20, and have been married 28 1/2 years. And we still like each other!

4. I have a very vivid imagination. I can see a picture of an exotic locale and imagine myself there. Travel doesn't interest me very much, as I do it so often inside my head.

5. I converted to Catholicism when I was 24, and am now a volunteer catechist (religious education teacher) for 3rd graders at my parish. This is one of things that makes me most proud. And yes, pride is one of the seven deadly sins.

This is getting harder....

6. I used to be blond when I was a preschooler. I remember hearing people remark on my unusual combination of very blond hair and very dark brown eyes. I am now headed in the "blond" direction again. Okay, so it's's definitely not brown.

7. My greatest joy in life is being a mother and grandmother. My greatest fear is that I might lose my ability to create beautiful things.

Yow! That was sort of hard. Now I'm supposed to tag someone else. Actually, I'm supposed to tag 5, but I don't know that many bloggers. So I tag my Canadian cq buddy, Judith Anne McTavish.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Choose your theme round robin

This is my block for the round robin. It is all cotton, embellished with DMC size 8 perle cotton thread, and a little beading and shiny sew-ons.
Check out the spider fabric in the center. This is and all-over spiders and webs print that my cq buddy Lauri got for me. She said it was creepy, so she knew I'd love it. She was so right!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Old lace, no arsenic

This is some of the antique lace I bought at a yard sale recently. The lady said she found it in her mother's trunk that contained things that belonged to her grandmother. The lady who sold it to me is retired, so I think this must be fairly old stuff. The top piece appears to be from a collar, as the shape implies, and there are two mirror image pieces and one larger piece that match. The next is hand tatting, and the last looks like crochet done in a very tiny thread.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Getting started

Hi all,

I've had to abandon my yahoo 360 blog, as it wouldn't allow me to up load photos anymore. So I'm giving blogger a try. This may be the test of whether the problem really was with yahoo, as I suspect, or if it's with my computer, or the nut loose on the keyboard.

What photo should I add first......something crazy......hmmm. Oh, I know. I'll post the last cq item of which I have taken a photo. Just to see if it works for me.
This is a patch from an antique quilt that I worked on a few years ago. There's a saying inked onto the silk, that I've never been able to decipher with any certainty. I'd hoped to be able to restore the patch with the saying done in embroidery, but since I didn't know what it was for sure, I had to just restore it with same color silk fabric. Whatever it was that the quilt's creator wanted to say is lost now, except for this photo. Here's what I think it said (this is just a guess):
I don't
care what
the daisies
I know I'll be married
some fine day.
The Victorians had a real obsession with flowers, giving them symbolic meanings. Daisies represented innocence, according to the books I've seen. But I've also seen "daisies never tell" and of course there's the "he loves me; he loves me not" petal pulling business. So who knows, the creator may have been stating her disdain for the whole flower symbolism idea, or maybe she was just an optimist.