Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Schmonday

I'm really trying to make an attempt to work on my projects each day. Today I spent some time in the studio pulling fabric for yet another quilt project. I'm excited about this one as it's an online quilt along. The quilt is the Aviatrix Quilt by Elizabeth over at Oh, Fransson! If you would like to join along, you can purchase the pattern here.

I'm still waiting for some gray fabric to come in, but these are the prints I will be using. I'm loving this pattern as it's VERY fat quarter friendly. Plus, it's an awesome stash-buster (25 FQs!) I decided to go the print route to use up my stash and have some fun with it. And it's Spring. I need an infusion of color!!!!!!

I also spent some time cutting and ironing some scraps I was given for the Civil Unrest project. I got a handful of wrinkly stuff that required some pressing and cutting. While it wasn't sewing, it was constructive activity.

Then I headed off to Target to look around. Bad move. I came home with a wallet, two maxi skirts, a very light cardigan and three tank tees. Great for the spring/summer season! A lipstick (Revlon lip butter in Berry Smoothie -- love it!) and skin stuff (Loreal Miracle Blur skin smoother) also jumped into my cart, along with a foundation brush and brush container. Bad girl.

Feeling guilty I decided to take the rest of the sunny day and clean out the garage. Got one side done.  I feel accomplished, but still guilty about the Target thing.

And then I have this huge craving for a chocolate marshamallow Easter Bunny. What's a girl to do?

I guess will do some work tonight to counteract my craving... LOL. Busy hands don't have time to eat. Plus I have a jar of spiced jelly beans in the studio (brain food?). That's my story and I'm sticking to it. LOL!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fabric Friday

Let's face it. We all love fabric. If there's one thing I learned, is that when you see a print fabric you like, buy it. Things sell out quickly and fabric lines usually don't get re-released. 

Things are humming along behind the scenes here. I am up to fifteen of those flying geese units completed. That means I have nine more to go. I'm so glad I chose to paper-piece those.

Last night I had a guild committee meeting and I picked up the backing for Civil Unrest (Traditional) for $1. That's the perk for being on the committee that handles the guild's flea market bin! I just picked two random one-yard cuts and will decide from there which one I'll use. It's a backing, after all. I could honestly care less about the back (I know... bad girl!). Both are red traditional prints, so it'll be a toss-up.

I also scored these cute country french prints from the guild flea market bin. These prints will be perfect for some hot pads. Dontcha think? Love the paisleys and the roosters! This was 50 cents. Love that!

And we won't say what I bought at Gathering Fabric in Woodinville today when I paid them a visit. I went a little crazy with some one one-yard cuts. Love thsoe bias plaids! These prints are soooo stashable! Aren't they yummy? I know, I know... That resolution is down the drain! I also bought two Quiltmania magazines to read drool over this weekend. This part of the purchase will be our secret, okay?

Oh, and the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild is participating in the Michael Miller Modern Challenge. Time to put on my modern hat and design a project using these beauties (thanks to the folks at Michael Miller!). I know that my friend Lisa over at My Modern Quilt Shop some of this line in her shop. So if you are doing the challenge and need more, check with her!

I ran into a friend/guildmate at the Gathering Fabric. She and I both happened to stop in at the same time. (Great minds think alike) She's getting ready to head out on a life adventure. She's had a rough couple of years. She has an opportunity to get away for a while on the other side of the US and stay with family. I'm excited for her and proud that she's taking this step. It's a huge leap of faith. Please keep her in your thoughts next week as she prepares to leave. I'm sad that I'll miss a new friend, but doubly excited about her new adventure. It's like I told her today, "Just plug your nose, dive on in, and enjoy the waters..."

I also may have signed up for two shop hops trips coming up. I'm a shop hop virgin. I'll be going for the camaraderie... I won't buy anything... (please step aside in case I get struck by lightning! LOL!) We know that's a lie...

Next week is meeting free (I think). So that means a lot of catching up on my audio book, podcast list, and sewing.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

More Makeup/Color Play

My box from E.L.F. (Eyes Lips Face) came in early. So this means more color play. I purchased some multiples of certain items (brushes, mascaras, BB creams) so I could have backstock and stretch the 50% discount. I figure it doesn't hurt! This should last me until the end of the year.

All you see above I got for about $50!  -- four mascaras, two BBcreams (everyday wear -- like a tinted moisturizer SPF20), four lipcolors, three eye pencils, two highlighting powders, one shadow palette, two pressed mattifying powders, one loose powder, one eye makeup remover pen, four lip brushes and three specialty face brushes, one concealer, and one liquid blush (I confess -- I bought this blush for fun).

And of course I had to swatch my colors. I haven't swatched the eyeshadow palette yet. It's called Seattle. Love the cool colors. It's the perfect counterpoint to the warm colors of the California palette I already have.

Colors L to R: (top) HD Blush in Superstar. Second row: Waterproof Eye Crayon in Pitch black, brown, navy. Mineral lipstick in Runway Pink, Cool Coral, and Rosy Tan (I didn't swatch the other lipcolor. It was a duplicate fro one I already had). Baked Highlighter in Pink Diamonds.

I wore the runway pink lipstick this evening. It's a good neutral pink nudish color (on my lips). I have darker lips to begin with, so this showed up less intense on my lips than it does on my hand. My hands/inner wrist are pale compared to my face.

I'm totally crushing on the superstar liquid blush on the top portion of my hand swatches. I'm iffy about that on my face, but I can see it as an awesome fabric color to play with! It's the perfect shade of coral -- not too orange, but not too pink. The color is really really strong, but I love it. If out of all I bought, that would be the only goof. But I like it and will try to work in some way. I kinda figured it would be going into it. I was just curious to see how the product worked and I loved the color.

I need to find some fabric in that color...

You can tell the lip colors are about the same intensity... but if you biggify the photo above you can see minute differences in the tones. The one on the far left (Runway Pink) is less orange than the one in the center (Cool Coral). And the one on the far right (Rosy Tan) is a slightly tan version of the color on the far left (Runway Pink) but has the most similar value to the center one (Cool Coral). But... if you put all three together and see them from a distance, they would honestly all read the same basic shade. It's the subtleties of color that is so interesting.

It's like playing with color... be it paint... fabric... or makeup!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Civil Unrest --Traditional Version Progress Report

I've been busy paper-piecing the square in a square blocks. Got those completed. Now I'm on the flying geese units. I am so glad I decided on this piecing method for the flying geese. I've got a little factory going on. Love it when I find my rhythm! I'm almost halfway through.

I have to admit, this pattern looks like a lot of work, but it goes by quickly once you get into it. I will soon have a top ready to show... So excited!

I also made progress on the Emma quilt. I have the top done, but need to piece the back. I bought the backing yesterday. And just my luck I had a $15 store loyalty credit to use. Yay for that! I found a cool quilting idea on Pinterest. Going to straight line quilt the blocks as if they were set "on point". I think it will make this quilt sing. Then I will ship this off to my friend. It's a surprise. :)

I did not edit the above photo so you know I'm a real person. My studio isn't always neat and tidy. This is what my creative storm looks like. Lol!

Off to lunch with a friend. She's been home bound with a long arm, furiously quilting a fellow guild member's quilt for the show in two weeks.  She's finally on the home stretch and can relax.

So it's been a productive, yet busy couple of weeks here in my studio.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Playing With Color/Color Inspirations

Huby thinks I have a new  boyfriend. I've been wearing makeup lately. No worries, there is no boyfriend here, other than my sweet hubby. LOL!

After a long no/minimal makeup kick, color has come back in my life. I'm excited. I found a wonderful inexpensive line (E.L.F. -- Eyes Lips Face) that allows me to experiment and play. If I buy something that isn't right, into the trash it goes. No guilt. Their typical price points are $1, $3, and $6. And when their online store has a 50% off sale, that means quite a haul for the price of department store makeup. I priced an eyeshadow palette and it was $50! The stuff I bought above came to $39. Out of that one item got thrown away. And only because my sink top space is vvaluable real estate. Otherwise I would have kept it and found a different use. It was a mositruising stick-shaped foundation. It was a bit too much for my somewhat oily skin. No biggie.

That little black square palette by the nail polish? It has eye shadow, blush/bronzer, lipcolor. I love it's compact size. It's no bigger than my iPhone 5c. Perfect for the purse. 22 colors for $10 regular price. $5 at 50% off. Can't beat that!

The surprise was that California baked eyeshadow palette (the one with the round eyeshadows). Becuase I'm in my 50s I try to avoid shimmery makeup. But I gotta admit, those shadows were pretty tame. I love the ability to build color and shine. $10/$5 on sale. Woo hoo! I bought the Seattle one in my next order.

And I adore their ELF Studio SPF 20 BB cream. Good for everyday use. Use the mineral primer underneath, and it works like a sheer foundation. Now I was skeptical about primers. Why would I need to put on primer. Boom. Sold! It works well.

I'm excited. I have another order coming this week. Took advanatge of a surprise 50% off code. This allowed me to stock up on favorites (the BB Cream, baked eyeshadow palette, lip gloss pencil, waterproof mascara, mattifying powder, and assorted brushes) and buy some new items (highlighter, HD powder, HD blush, and lipsticks). I

By the way, I love thier brushes -- $3 each. All of my old (20+ year old) brushes got pitched. I dashed to Target to get me some more of the brushes. (yes, this line sells in Target stores, but depending on your location you get more selection online).

My favorite lip color so far? The pink umbrellas ELF jumbo lip gloss pencil. For me, it's the perfect nude with just a hint of pink. Just enough color.

Speaking of color... It's Spring. So I decided to play with some fabric stacks. I pulled these from my stash.

The first stash stack reminds me of the Japanese plum trees in bloom. The gorgeous purples pinks and hints of yellow orange (leaves, petals, stamens) accented by the light green leaves of other surrounding trees.

The other stack reminds me of daffodils. The yellow-oranges of the flowers with the green stems and leaves. It could also be tulips without the reds.

What inspirations can you pull from your stash?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Liberated Log Cabins -- Gwen Marston, Part II

Here are a few more of Gwen's colorful and playful quilts. I love the artistry and precision she imparts in her designs. They are very deliberate. She just doesn't go about this willy-nilly, but you can tell it's very thoughtful and careful (like the placement of the black in this quilt).

I love the fact that she works in a series, taking certain themes or shapes and doing them over and over. Some quilters would probably nod and say, "Well, I can do that..." I'll challenge them. It's quite difficult to do what she does.

Then came the moment of truth. My turn to liberate log cabin blocks. Let the games begin!

First off, I brought my giant blue IKEA bag of scraps. I keep this bag under my cutting table. Usable scraps go in there. I also had a bin full of solids and near-solids that I dumped into the bag. Most of them were  Bolt end cut scraps and odd Kona solid FQs.

My first block was from some leftover scraps of Connecting Threads fabric I bought at their gigantic warehouse sale years ago. These were generous 6-9" cuts of full-width fabric. I liked the dusty, muted tones. And I decided to make that block a single sketch. And what better fabric to frame my sketch in than Timeless Treasure's Sketch fabric.*

This piece will be hand quilted and bound using an Amish binding method that Gwen Marston Taught us. I liked the simple flat look of the binding, and want it mesh well with the simplicity of the quilt sample sketch.
* Side note: I am now hoarding the TT Sketch fabric as it is now out of print. I found some online -- buying 5 yards-- and I will be hoarding this stuff forever! It's one of my all-time favorite fabrics! It's up there with the ledger print fabric I hoard from another designer. This is just such a versatile print. It plays well with others. 

Anyway, I digress. I had some big chunks of the TT Sketch leftover from my camera quilt in the scrap bag, so I played with that, some bright solids and itty bitty chunks of Kaffe Fasset Collective fabrics. It took me the rest of the afternoon to make these four blocks. In fact, I was furiously finishing the last one when the class was over. I plan to put these four blocks into another small wall-hanging and possibly hand quilt this as well. Small projects like this will help me learn the hand quilting process. I chose the Sketch print fabric, the red, and the purple fabrics to be my constant unifier of the four blocks. I wanted to play with shape in the center areas, while also exploring angles and thick/thin lines.

I also was lucky enough to get my previously purchased copy of Liberated Quiltmaking II autographed! Now it's a treasure!

My biggest takeaway was the quilted sketch idea. How clever! It's a great way to preview techniques and fabrics. That totally appeals to my "orderly, risk-adverse" brain. Plus, it allows freedom in a smaller space. I love it when I get ideas like that. The sketch idea and seeing it in person was definitely worth the class fee alone.

Again, huge thanks to Quilted Strait for offering this class (and for those yummy FQs!), and big huge thanks to Gwen Marston for the ass kicking! I needed that! :)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Liberated Log Cabins -- Gwen Marston, Part I

I get so excited when I get to meet my quilting rock stars. And thanks to Quilted Strait in Port Gamble, WA, I was able to finally meet Gwen Marston, the liberated quilter herself! If you ever get a chance to take a class from her, I highly recommend it. She is a hoot! I explained my trepidation about quilting improv style, and she said she'll give me the "kick in the ass" I needed. And yes, she did. :)

Quilted Strait held the class at the Port Gamble Pavilion. And let me tell you this was a four-star facility. Even on a cloudy day, this place had lots of light, with the floor to ceiling windows looking out on the water. This was the view from my seat. Peaceful. This was hands-down, the best classroom facility I've been in! They are so blessed to have this facility available for larger classes like this one.

Sending a special shout out to my table-mates from Vancouver, BC ans Seattle! It was fun to sew with y'all!

We started the class with discussion from Gwen. This, to be honest was so inspiring! I really love to hear artists talk about their inspirations and how they take them from idea to fruition. I also love to learn about the mechanics of the artist's creative process itself. 

One thing I took home from this session with Gwen was the use of quilt "sketches". The sketches are small quilts (usually about 12" square) -- transferring the ideas to fabric. She said that many of these sketches become larger quilts. 

I freaking LOVE this idea!!!!!!!! Low pressure, small scale, no risk. She had the picture book of her sketches handy. I just ordered a used copy from Amazon. I can't wait until it comes in! It's something I can thumb through for inspiration.

She compares her quilt process to making chili. You start with the basic ingredients -- the meat, tomatoes, onions, and garlic... and then you add the tiny bit of spices to make it chili. An example pictured above -- Here signature use of solid fabrics, the composition (curved lines) and use of a single print among the solids and the surprise of the tiny squares interrupting the lines forming a composition. Those are the spices. 

This one is one of my favorite sketches. (above) I love the itty bitty squares and tiny red wedges. By and large, this is a neutral quilt sketch, but the strategic use of red and a brighter goldish tan give it depth and color. 

(The colors are even yummier in person!)

The folks at Quilted Strait were so nice. They got the shipment of Clothwork's new American Made Brand solids the day before. A basket full of gorgeous fat quarters were passed around, allowing us to choose what we want. I grabbed a few. You will love this beautiful fabric! I already have three bolts of it (white, cream, and black) at home from a previous order, but the colors are so clear (here's a link to the available colors). The hand of the fabric is perfect for quilting. I truly love this line! Check with your favorite retailer to see if they have the American Made Brand. And yes, it's 100% American made -- from farm to quilt!

More on part II...