Wednesday, August 20, 2014

State of Unrest

Hello! I am alive! Right now I'm buried under a mound of stuff in my messy studio. While many would call it a mess, I call it a creative storm. (I know it's really a mess) Yep, I need a good day to put stuff away. I've made several large fabric purchases recently in preparation for the winter doldrums. I plan on counteracting the gray by working in the studio. Having good full-spectrum lighting will help beat the winter blues.

I also have a new addition to my studio. I recently bought a cute piece of art at a nearby gift shop to go with my dammit doll. Makes me smile! And if I have my way, that vending machine would be filled with junk food. LOL! Hey, at least I'm honest!

I also made some more progress on Modern Unrest. I expect to finish more today. Yay for progress! Next weekend is a two day sew-in with the guild. That means even more progress. Who knows, if I put the pedal to the medal on this one, I might get it done!

Speaking of progress, I spent yesterday organizing my Diamonds in the sky hand-piecing project. I am officially halfway through piecing the top. I've got the remaining rows sorted and bagged up for transport. I'll be taking this project with me on our upcoming Alaskan cruise, so you should see some major progress on this project in the near future. I've set another goal to get four rows done by Halloween. I want the top done by New Year's Eve. After that I'll decide on whether to quilt it by machine or hand.

I've purchased several more books. I need to spend a day with some post-it flags and start flagging projects to copy and kit up. Oh, to have infinite time!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sometimes you need an overcast day

Seattle is having an overcast day. And I gotta say that it's welcome in my house. Today is one of those days that is perfect for crawling into bed to read a good book, sitting with a pile of quilt magazines (old and new), or browsing Pinterest.

Speaking of books, I've been on a book binge.These are my most recent purchases, and I have a few more on the way. I've done a cursory look through on all of these books and they look like they are great jumping off points for inspiration. I am especially loving the "Little Quilts" book!

We won't discuss my fabric purchases recently (ahem!). Yes, some fabric is coming, too! I've been crushing on that new Cotton +Steel stuff and Fat Quarter Shop had a good deal of the day today (and it's perfect for their Fat Quarter Fizz quilt pattern). Bad girl!

Lots of stuff is going on behind the scenes, housework, busywork, guild work, weekend trips, meetings are on my agenda.

I have gotten a great start on Modern Unrest. I spent Monday sub-cutting my fabric into triangles to make it easy to paper-piece the flying geese units. It was in the upper 90s here (no AC) and it was the perfect activity for sitting in front of the fan. LOL! Over the first few days I got the 16 square in a square cornerstones done as well as three or four flying geese units (two shown above). I'm not real nutty about the cornerstone units. Might have to redo those. I have 24 flying geese units to make, so I have a good start on those.

Tonight is the Seattle Modern Guild meeting. I've missed a couple of meetings. Looking forward to it. I always get inspired by the show and tell.

All is well, just been quiet.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wired Quilting

I am in the process of creating a workshop about wired quilting -- how to leverage your computer and the internet to further your scope, creativity, and process. Thinking about it, there are tons (I mean TONS) of resources out there for us quilters.

As a result of this plethora of resources we no longer have an excuse to say, "I can't do that".

This was a subject I pondered on while going through my mojo slump. Bound and determined to get out of it, I turned to education to get me back into the swing of things. It amazes me how many educational resources there are online.

Just think of the possibilities...

That being said, I signed up for three more Craftsy classes today. That is one of my favorite online classroom formats. I love how you can go through and experience the class in your jammies all the way through, and then listen to it again and again to get the finer points and work as you go. I wont' tell you how many classes I have in my queue, but there are a lot.

We've come a long way.

Have you discovered any online classroom formats other than Craftsy? I haven't tried a Creativebug class yet, but I've heard good things about that platform as well.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Modern Unrest

Yesterday I cut the remainder of Modern Unrest, the second of a series of quilts (Civil Unrest was the first). I also printed out my foundation papers for the paper-pieced portion of the quilt. I don't trust my flying geese skills, hence the foundation piecing. This time I used the Carol Doak foundation papers on suggestion from some of my friends. I got some at my local Ben Franklin.

I'm hoping I have enough of the black and white text fabric. It may be close, as I don't have some subcuts done. Just the main cuts. I'm trusting the process and am just playing along with a positive attitude. I do have a few bits of fabric set aside if it's not enough. It took me all afternoon to get the black and white text fabric cut. I'll start on the flying geese today -- 24 sets of nine 1x2 flying geese units. That's a gaggle for sure!

Been having a few cravings lately. One was a craving for cookies. Made a batch of snickerdoodles last night. The two I had with this morning's coffee really hit the spot. Love the crisp buttery-cinnamon goodness.

I'm also craving chicken tetrazzini. Might have to make some of that as well. I'm not a huge leftovers person, but this is one dish I like leftover. There's something about the flavors of the baked pasta with chicken, mushrooms, celery, onion, bacon, green pepper, and a light veloute sauce topped with bubbly cheese. Maybe tomorrow. Ham sliders are on tonight's menu. Ya know, that version rolling around Pinterest. I'll pair this with a big veggie-packed salad.

Speaking of Pinterest, I've been pinning like a crazy woman lately. I go through spurts and gushes. This is one of my gush phases. I pick a category and obsess  pin inspirational photos. So for those of you who follow me, don't mind my manic pinning phase. LOL!

What are you working on? Do you have any cravings? What's your current inspirational obsession?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Creating in the Kitchen-- Summer Bounty

Welcome to summer. I've gotten a late start on my home canning this year. I was so busy last year I didn't even get around to it, but that was okay, I had enough to last for two years from the year before that. I love canning. It captures the absolute freshness of the season, plus it allows you to precisely know whats going into your food. That's important to me. 

Never shop hungry, I say. I know that causes trouble. Well, I got myself into trouble, so to speak. LOL! Yep, I shopped hungry this time. And $70 later I bought home a huge box of produce. 

The local produce stand had tons of options. The nice Yakima beefsteak tomatoes are in. Those are big meaty tomatoes. They make awesome tomato salads and BLTs. I need to get some good bacon. We'll be living high on the hog... literally. I feel a tomato canning marathon coming for the weekend. 

Walla Walla onions are Washington's answer to Vidalias. Sweet and oniony. Perfect for salads, sandwiches, and killer on a burger. 

Gravenstein apples, grown in Washington's apple country, have a very short season. This heirloom variety makes awesome pies. Really awesome pies. Just the perfect balance of sweet and tart. If they come to your area, try them. They're worth the tiny bit extra. 

The peaches out the Wenatchee area as good as the Georgia and Alabama peaches out east. Hells bells, many of the orchard stone fruits from that area rock. It's the perfect weather for growing fruit. (I'm hoping to make some jam from mine). I'm also dying to grill a few with some chicken. Add in some grilled slices of those sweet onions and I think that would be an awesome dinner entree. Great pairing for a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris.

And I feel a serious jam session coming on because of this. I found an awesome recipe that makes Blueberry butter and blueberry syrup for the blueberries. I think instead of the syrup, I'll make some jelly with the leftover juice. Double the pleasure. Double the deliciousness.

Raspberry jam. One of my favorites. Who knows, I might even sneak in a few peaches to make it a peach melba jam. We'll see... and don't mind that a few are missing. That's called quality control. ;)

Rebel Quilting

You know I've been lamenting that I've been feeling boxed in with my sewing. I think I'm finally unstuck. Yay! I'm so encouraged and excited about applying what I learned over this past weekend.

Big huge thanks go to four people in particular --

  1. Stephanie from Kwiltz by Stephanie, who planned this quilting event
  2. Jamie Fingal, our teacher
  3. The folks at Calico Creations in Mt. Vernon, WA who lent us some wonderful classroom space
  4. National Nonwovens Company -- for donating the felt (35% wool/65% rayon) used in our classroom.

Stephanie did a beautiful job of planning this weekend event. I say event, as it was more than just a class. She booked a wonderful, inspiring teacher, arranged us to learn in a spacious well-appointed classroom, brought in lunches, and made each and every one of us feel at home. I knew when I saw the cute goodie bag at my seat that I was in for a treat. Stephanie made these from some of Jamie's fabric. I love love love my little bag. And do you know why this little bag was so meant for me?

Yep, you guessed it... the itty bitty travel trailer on the tag. Pure preciousness!

A pic of Jamie and I 
I purposely posed with my quilt upside down to be a rebel. 
(Yes, I was very geeked out!)

Jamie was a wonderful teacher. Just the right hands on amount, and she allowed us to do our own thing. She spoke with us about Rebel Quilting, which breaks all the rules we learned over the years. I knew the moment she started talking about this process that I'd like it.

We took our fabric pieces and first fused on some Mistyfuse. You know how much I already love Mistyfuse.  to me it's the bee's knees of fusible materials. Then we grabbed stencils and fabric paint and had a blast. Here's where honesty comes in. I have some fabric paint upstairs in my studio that I was ready to give away. Not anymore! I'm keeping it. Hell, I even bought a couple of stencils for future fun.

We arranged our glorious messes onto a large piece of felt, fused it all down, and then added a second piece of felt to the back (slightly larger). After that, we let our sewing machines do the rest. When it was considered "done" with the quilting, we could further embellish it with whatever goodies we had around. Not everyone got finished with the quilting part, but at least you can see what everyone created! Then when it's all said and done, we trim off a bit of the felt backing so it just "shows" a tiny bit. At this point you can zig zag down the edges or leave it alone. I will leave mine alone.

Yes, it's that easy. I really loved the felt product we used. It's firm and stable, yet pliable enough to work with. The colors were rich and consistent on the substrate. I highly recommend this product. It stitches up well, and combined with the mistyfuse, it doesn't gum up your sewing machine or needle with excess adhesive and crap!

For day two we started on making double-sided house triptychs. I've got a head start on my double-sided panel of three houses. I'm nowhere finished. This also uses the same technique mentioned above. Right now I have three of the six house fronts started.

I highly recommend that if Jamie Fingal is teaching in your area that you take her class. She said she limits her teaching engagements to just a few per year, but let me tell you, those classes are worth every penny. And if you're in our area of Washington State, Stephanie arranges best quilting events hand  down!

Oh, and the sale section of Calico Creations? Lets just say that some of it (ahem!) made it home with me. NO comment. :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Looking Forward to Weekend Fun with Jamie Fingal

Today and tomorrow I'll be packing up for two classes with Jamie Fingal of "Twisted Sister" fame. No, not the 1980's hair band fame... but of art quilting and design fame. LOL! I'm looking forward to my two classes.

According to her blog entry, I get to get in touch with my inner child and get messy with pain! I can't wait! Most of you know I have difficulty "letting go" in the design department, so getting down and dirty with stencils and paint may be just the ticket for moving my mojo around a bit. Yes, my style is a bit restrained (ok, a lot restrained!), I'm looking at this as a chance to explore in a non-threatening environment.

I'm really looking forward to this!

I've only worked with stencils and paint sticks. That was fun! This will use fabric paint and all sorts of coloring media. I have a stack of assorted "near solids" to play with. A veritable rainbow. Also some cute hand dyed fabrics.

I'll also be taking a class on funky folded houses. Kind of like a triptych panel of houses. Something perfect for tucking into a corner of my living room or studio. I'll have to go through my FQs to find some goodies to play with. I think I've got some with people and animals so I can have an audience in my house window and doors.

Dang, I wish I was a real "Jeanie" and blink my whole studio of goodies into the classroom!

So please send me creative vibes. I want to be as loose as a goose for this duo of classes.