Saturday, February 27, 2010

Nostalgia, Fabric Question and A Quilt

My youngest son Eric is a teacher and he is teaching his grade eight class how to dance in gym class. Sounds really weird to me, but whatever. He emailed me on Friday to ask me to suggest some dances and to find some youtube dance how-tos. I came across this one by Chubby Checker - the Twist. Ahhhh, what great fun it was and Chubby was so nice. (mind you, I was just a little girl when this came out.)

Remember American Bandstand where you got to see the young music artists? Of course, who could forget, there was that voting on the new tunes. "I'd give it an 8 because it was easy to dance to." 
****Sorry to all my readers who didn't grow up with American Bandstand. 

Now on to a fabric question.

Why is it that there are those times when you just NEED to have a colour of fabric and it just isn't there. Not in the stash and not in the quilt stores.
Brown has been in short supply in my stash and today, while we were out doing errands, I happened to see something that sparked an idea. It had to do with a brown background, the rest of the fabrics I had. Since we were in the neighbourhood, I decided to stop in at my closest quilt shop. It's not that big but they do have quite a variety. EXCEPT, there was no brown. I wanted something dark (close to black) and something that read solid brown. Nope, they had nothing. I struck up a conversation with the lady who was working there and we lamented the fact that colours go in waves. 
I remember years ago when I first started quilting (1980) and, because there was nothing else available, I bought a lot of polycottons. I still have them because they are solids and I love the colours. I disliked all the little floral calicoes that were available. I still prefer solids or those fabrics that read as a solid. I am not a cotton snob and mix cottons with polycottons if the fabrics work for what I am doing.
 These are some of my favourite colours. The greens vary from yellowy green to lime green and even the dark greens are not consistent in what dye colours are mixed in. Taking your fabrics and putting them all together in colours shows you that they are not all created the same.

These were the beginnings of a quilt I started last year. You will note that some of the purples have red in them and others have blue.  

I have used a lot of greens lately in what I've been working on.

 This quilt was made in 2008 and this photo is from Christmas of that year (obviously.)
I made this quilt for Maili. It was just going to be a really small mini quilt with leaves (the lower right of the quilt with the off-white leaves) but I came across some of her school work and the central panel of this quilt is a depiction (or rather my rendition) of one of her projects for her Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree.
I don't think it makes much sense for a layman to try to figure out but basically, there is a water feature (pond) in the middle with seating surrounded by a walkway with grass, flowers and trees. The leaf in the upper right was a freebie paper pieced design of an aspen leaf I got from the internet and the three paper pieced leaves on the left are my own design. I had two fabrics that I auditioned for the  border and when it came time to decide on which one to use, I prevailed upon my youngest son and got his opinion (he was the only one home at the time.) He liked the one I ended up using and I admit that it was a perfect choice. The other fabric was darker and was just bland. This one added to the landscape architecture theme.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Doors for inspiration and a gift for me

A couple of posts ago I showed some of the tile that I took photos of while on vacation in southern California where my daughter used to live. When going through the photos again, I realized that there were quite a few that featured doors. I love unusual doors, windows and chairs. Here are some of the door photos I took.
This was taken at a residential complex that my daughter's employer was involved in - it was a landscape architecture firm.

Same residential complex.

This gorgeous door was in the Venice Beach area.

I know it's a window in the middle but off to the left is a really nice grill on what could be just a plain door. I love the window above the door too. This was taken at the The Embassy Hotel Apartments in Santa Monica, California.
This is the front of The Embassy Hotel Apartments. I love the courtyard and think it adds so much to the entrance.

This huge entrance was photographed at Balboa Park in San Diego, beside the zoo.
Just to give you an idea as to the size of these doors.  
(I always like to have some idea as to size when I see something. The digital camera is great but when I see something, I really want to know if the object is the size of my hand or the size of a house.)

Lastly, this beauty is at the Mission in San Juan Capistrano, California.

Here's some arches. I figured they went well with the theme of doors.

This arch with the columns was at the residential complex mentioned above.

An unusually designed arch at The Embassy Hotel and Apartments. It wasn't the only one like this that they had.

 A pretty, decorative arch at the Mission in San Juan Capistrano.

This wonderful, serene photo showing many arches is in the central courtyard of the Mission.

**Note, once again: Please ignore the date stamp on some of the photos. It was a new camera and I did not know that the date would show up - nor did I know that the wrong date would make it's way onto the photos.

Gosh this post just goes on and on....
Last month, one of the bloggers I follow, Sandy at Dangling by a Thread, was giving away a small token of appreciation to her followers/commenters. I totally forgot about it until this morning when this lovely package came in the mail. Sandy is a Canadian living in Suffolk, England and she is a wonderful textile artist.

It includes a piece of hand dyed fabric in gorgeous green and aqua and some gold and bronze foil that you iron on to your work. THANK YOU Sandy, you made my day. Please stop by her blog and take a look at the wonderful things she does.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Leaving with a gift

Both daughters have now left. Christmas in February went by quickly but was filled every day. Both girls got in some family time and some visiting with friends time. Avatar even made it on the list and there were eight of us that took in the 10:00 p.m. show. 
We brought Laila to the airport last Sunday morning and this morning we took Ayla to the airport.  She is on her way back to England as I write this.

That bag she has is her one carry-on luggage and I can attest to the fact that it was HEAVY.

Just making sure all the paperwork is here.

I asked Ayla if she wanted an Emma's Tree in a different colour than the Christmas one I made her and she said yes but she wanted it to go with her decor. She said her room was black and white - with red. The first one I cut up and put up for display was way too red so I cut some more black and white squares from the fat quarters that she selected and had her help to arrange them the way she wanted. It has a curtain ring hanger on the back so that she can hang it on her wall. I am currently working on a new bag for her but since she said there was no way that she could squeeze it in to her luggage, I didn't rush to finish it. When it's done, I will show the finished bag. She chose the fabric and the lining from my stash and all I had to buy was cording for the handle, a zipper and interfacing.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Craft night and Emma's Tree

My daughter, Maili, has wanted to do a regular craft night. We were supposed to get together to make Christmas ornaments but that never happened. So, in order to keep to some sort of commitment she gave me 12 "coupons" so that we could have craft night (or afternoon) once a month. Last month she wanted to make a floor pillow. I had no need for one but I did help with the drawing of the pattern, the measuring of the fabric and I was the consultant when it came to sewing it together. The top and bottom fabrics came from my stash and looked like they may have been curtains at one time. The side fabric is an old curtain that she bought from Value Village or Goodwill and decided to recycle because she liked the colours.        
This is some of the fabric she was going to use but the top yellow fabric was discarded in favour of the more neutral colour that I had in my stash.

Clever idea. Since we didn't know initially how big or how small or even what shape to make the floor pillow, Maili decided to use Christmas wrapping paper from the roll. I just folded over one corner and cut it into a square and we went from there. We ended up with a round pillow that was made by folding the square into quarters and using a pencil with a string attached to draw a quarter of a circle. (you hold the end of the string in the middle and then draw a line with the pencil - like you've learned way back when)
This is the end result all sewn by my daughter. she double stitched all the seams since it will most likely get a lot of use and wear. She does wonderful hand stitching so that is what I told her to do to close off the side. I just measured the paper pattern and it is 27.5 inches and I am pretty sure that she used half inch seams and the sides are 15 inches since I used my 15 inch square to cut the fabric. Quick and error-free. It is stuffed with scraps of fabric and batting and it also has an old winter coat that my husband donated. She thinks it's too big and it did take a lot of stuff to stuff it with. There was even enough fabric that she cut a rectangular shape to make another floor cushion BUT we don't have enough stuff to fill it yet.

Other things:
I have been busy doing other things. My two other daughters come home this weekend (one from London, England and one from British Columbia) so I have been trying to get the house in order. It will be nice to have the whole family together since they didn't come for Christmas. 
I have also managed to make another Emma's Tree. I plan on giving it to my mom and replacing it with the one I made her at Christmas. This one is more of a generic colour and can stay up in her room all year round if she wants. 

I photographed it sitting on the new floor pillow before it left my home.  I love the colours and will be making more in just various greens. It has a flat batting (I don't know the type or the name - could be a piece of pellon) and I machine quilted it just to hold everything in place. I also sewed a ring in the back so it can hang on the wall.

Oh, one more thing. I really don't like hexagons and would never make a grandmother's flower garden quilt BUT just maybe I would put a couple together to make a wall hanging like this one -
Click on the photo to see it in all its glory. Simply beautiful!!! Marja does wonderful work. Use google translator.