Saturday, April 5, 2014

Another Challenge!

I've been thinking a lot lately about why I love challenges so much.  I believe it is because the initial thought, the prompt, is already done.  The outcome - it is already defined, it is the *road map* that you need to come up with - that's the challenge - the part I love.

Cherrywood Fabrics - have you heard of them?  If not move the rock you're hiding under... go check them out.  Well, finish reading the post, then go check them out.  They have the most awesome hand dyes... they are like suede and they quilt beautifully!

It just happens that Cherrywood is having a challenge - an excellent one!  It's the WICKED Cherrywood Challenge 2014!  I am super excited, the colors are awesome, the subject matter - beyond coolness.  Although I have not yet had the opportunity to see Wicked the musical, I have researched it as much as possible without actually seeing it.  I am definitely in on this challenge.  So I run over to Cherrywood and I register -- just look at those fabrics!  I can't wait for them to get here... I also ordered additional black, you know, one can never have enough black fabric - and its Cherrywood - hello?!!  You can check out the details of the challenge here.

Now I've already shared that I haven't seen Wicked.  Have you?  What's your favorite thing about it? Do tell -  I have some awesome ideas and I'm already drawing a few things out.  But perhaps your favorite part of the musical might spark my imagination to run crazy wild in a totally different direction - please share! Unfortunately I'll have to wait until March 2015 for it to visit SoFlo...

Friday, April 4, 2014

What a Week!

It all started Monday night when I opened this email:

OMG!  Totally awesome, right?  I was so excited.  I had entered two quilts, my newest one, The Thing with Feathers, as well as The Choice.  I was secretly hoping the award was for The Thing with Feathers -- that has become my new favorite.  It just has so much meaning to me (read about that here).  I really wished I was able to attend MQS but unfortunately, no... insert pouty face here.

So I waited...  and waited...  Then Tuesday came and went, and I waited some more.  Then Wednesday - finally!  The awards ceremony was at 8pm (9pm my time).  I had a few friends there and I was sure one of them would post something... they did!  And multiple texts as well -- apparently, I even got a special shout out -- totally wish I was there!  The Thing with Feathers had won 2nd Place in the Theme category -- pure awesomeness, I was floating around the house -- I was (and still am) delighted!  Here is the official Winners List - congratulations to all!

Here is a photo that one of my facebook friends sent to me:

I'm super excited for it to return home as I see there are two ribbons!  I am overjoyed!  Hopefully, this is just the beginning for this awesome quilt!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

In search of...

the perfect photo.  Well, that is an understatement for sure!  For those that don't already know - I'm a photo junkie, especially nature photos -- anything birds, bugs, trees, flowers, and even rocks.

I purchased a new camera, for taking more photos (what else), but specifically taking photos for use in future quilts.  It has a better zoom than my current camera and I'm also advancing from 6 megapixels to 24 megapixels -- that's a big change!

Well, we have a female osprey that just started hanging out in the pines behind our house.  She is beautiful, she is loud, and we think she is scouting the tree for a nest.  What a great place for me to start my new camera photo journey.  She was here twice last weekend, and here are the photos I managed to snap -- they are not perfect, but they are a start.
Can you see her way up there?





And we can't forget this little guy, he was way too cute to not share:


And the best picture yet... the baby bunnies:

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Awesomeness...

That could easily be the title of almost every post in my little world, but it is super true for this one!

We'll start with National Quilting Day - which just happens to be today!  If you want to know a little bit of the history of this day, click here.

A super piece of awesomeness is, because it is National Quilting Day, The Quilt Show is sharing Episodes 1-13 for free all weekend.  WOW!  Hello... get over there and check it out, well, right after you finish here.  So, after you read about all of my awesomeness you can grab a cup of coffee and get lost in quiltyland for the entire weekend.


Now, don't stop with the free weekend - as if that's not enough.  Some of you know, back in November I taped an episode for The Quilt Show - awesome right?  Well guess what?  It airs this Monday - March 17 - total coolness, right?!!  So make sure you watch!  Here's a link so you can watch the trailer:   http://www.thequiltshow.com/os/blog.php/blog_id/6396

If you're a member of The Quilt Show, I hope you watch the show on Monday!  If you're not a member, you really might want to consider it so you don't miss any new episodes!

Okay, now on to more awesomeness... like this post could possibly get any better?!!

I would love to share my latest quilt with you, The Thing with Feathers.  


I started this quilt for the Theme category at MQS.  This years theme is Up, Up, and Away.  Immediately I was thinking birds flying, a hand reaching toward the sky.  I was talking my idea out with my son's girlfriend and she said "the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson"... YES!  That's it, then like wildfire my idea took off.  A drab, stormy sky, a dark sorrowful hand reaching for hope, and the birds in beautiful colors.

So I took some white fabric out in the yard.  I sprayed some areas with water and left other areas dry.  I then took some charcoal grey and light grey dyes in spray bottles and I had about twenty minutes of fun.

I was really impressed with how it turned out.  Don't you love when what you are doing turns out exactly like the idea in your head?  Great stuff!

So then I spent many hours painting the sparrows, here's just a couple of pics:
 

And then begins the quilting... my favorite part!





So there is so much meaning in this quilt...
The dark sorrowful hand.  Although it is full of fear, sorrow, pain, etc., it still has hope (feathers and swirls stitched in dark charcoal thread).  The hand is reaching for HOPE (the thing with feathers), in it's reaching it is emitting more hope - the quilted feathers.  What you can't really see is the feathers, as well as the swirls behind the birds, are a pastel variegated thread (little glimmers of hope).  And although the sky is dark and dismal, there is so much movement, the singing.  It all came together so perfectly.  I truly love this quilt - it is a favorite!  So if you are attending MQS you'll be able to see its debut.  But I'm sure it'll be out-and-about at many other shows as well!

Just remember, no matter what you are going through, no matter what is going on in your world, don't give up -- there is always HOPE - just reach for it!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Catch up - both quilty and non-quilty

We'll start with the non-quilty.

My Mom and Sister came for a MUCH OVER-DUE visit.  It was awesome, it was way too short, it needs to happen again, soon.

Here are just a couple of the things we did:

Shopping, of course!  On the way home from the airport we hit the new Palm Beach Outlets.  Great stores, I spent a little too much in Torrid, but hey, when it fits and looks good, you buy it!  Some other dollars went to Steve Madden as well as Clarks, and also Dress Barn.  It was fun.

And it just happened that the tall ships were visiting Stuart!  We did a quick tour of the Nina and Pinta -- some awesomeness.  If you're interested in the ships and their whereabouts, check their website.  Here's a couple of pics:





And then a slow down for sewing, yes actual sewing.  They (Mom and Sis) were attempting arm chair covers for my Sister's furniture.  Well, that turned into them shipping the fabric here for me to conquer.  So little non-focusing me spent the afternoon making six super cute arm chair covers.

Then we took a visit to the local winery, which I had stumbled on totally by accident, but I'm glad I did!  The winery is Endless Summer Vineyard and Winery, and you can check them out here.  And I'll share some fun from our visit:










No worries, there was some relaxing mixed in there too:



And on the last night of their visit we hit the rodeo at the county fair, one of our favorite things to do!




It was a great visit and I miss them already!  Can't wait til the next one!!

Now on to the quilty stuff... well, I can't really share much about it, except that it is totally awesome and can't wait until I'm able to share.

This weekend I took a quick trip to the mother-ship (thanks for that cool quote Pam)... Gammill Headquarters that is!  And that's about all I can tell you.

Oh wait, I can share this -- I found the poster of my 2013 Gammill ad hanging on one of the walls:

That's it for now... but there is big, awesome, exciting news... soon!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

When things go wrong...

and they generally do, you've got to try your best to fix them, right?

So, someone once asked me how I think, well more like what goes on in my brain when I get an idea. Hahaha... a lot of people ask me this so I must be an odd thinker.  At any given time I have a million and one ideas floating around, along with some serious notes, as well as a stray thought or two.

So a few years ago, I saw a hand-painted piece of fabric from Puteri Noor on eBay.  I just had to have it -- it totally explained how I think.  This is what goes on in my head during what I call my thought process.  I purchased this amazing piece -- here is a photo:

So, by now you're wondering what the When things go wrong title is all about, right?  Well, hold on to your britches, it's going to be a crazy ride.  But no, not yet, nothing went wrong, yet...

I decided to use up some black sateen that I had sitting around so I made really cool wavy borders.  Do I have a picture of them, no.  Why?  This I don't know, I take pictures of everything, why not the really cool wavy borders?  Don't worry, you'll see them later, after the stuff goes wrong.

The borders are on, it looks really cool, I start quilting.
Oh look, the wavy borders!

Fun feathers!

Just a few threads to bury.

Still, nothing wrong at this point.  And it really wasn't a *wrong* it started out as a should-have-known-better.

Here goes:  So I'm quilting along and life is good, pretty feathers, lots of fun swirls, everything looks exactly like the plan in my head.  Until... I should have changed needles.  Well, rewind before that.  I should have not loaded and started quilting this at 11pm.  I should have waited to get some black batting.  Should've, could've, didn't!  So as I was quilting along and using an old needle, toward the end of my quilting in the one corner you can see bits of the batting.   INSERT HERE:  should have known better (on three counts)!  Too late now!  So, what should we do about this.  Well hindsight being 20/20 we should have left it alone!  Yep, that would have been fantastic, a few little pokies of batting would have been wonderful.  But no... we did not do that.  We = me and the voices (stupid ideas) in my head.

Brilliant Idea #1 - Use those wonderful fabric pens to paint the batting holes... hmmm... this is taking way too much time, and it's not really working.

Brilliant Idea #2 - Paint the areas where the batting is showing.  Hmmm... okay, just might work. Wrong.   This happened:

What the heck!  When I painted the sateen turned brown!  What?... black paint turned the fabric brown.   Hmmm... let's try washing the quilt -- wait for it to dry... nothing, scrub the painted areas, nothing.  This quilt was getting uglier by the minute!

Okay, let's try this again - mix up some black tie-dye and paint it on those areas.  What!  It's getting lighter yet... oh, this is not good!


A normal brain would just stop at this point.  Not me, hey, how much worse can this possible get? [insert evil cackling here] a whole lot worse.  Okay, mix up oodles of the black tie-dye and paint the entire black border.  Had to fix it right?  Wrong!

I look like this
The backing looks like this

And the front is now various shades of black

Crying, yes.  Giving up, no!  I am going to make this quilt beautiful again if it kills me!  I take a day away and decide that since the dye is not working maybe I should go the other direction... yep, you guessed it - bleach!  I splattered bleach all over the black borders.


Well, it worked, and didn't look half bad.  And how do you know when your mistake has been corrected?  When the quilt tells you so -- check out that heart in the bleach splatters!


 So now that the issues with the front of the quilt have been corrected, it's time to deal with the back.  Yep, remember that photo up there of the dye bleeding through to the back.  This was the hardest fix yet, how to correct that without having what I do come through to the front.  This was a dilemma!

After a few trips to several stores, I returned home with this:

Fabric paint for upholstery.  Who knew?  Yes, if this were a perfect world I would have done a sample piece, but the only thing I have is the quilt.  In the picture it is still wet.  At this point I didn't have a lot of hope as the outer areas were still much darker, although it did dry to a much more even tone.

Well... it worked, it covered the black dye on the back of the quilt.  BUT... there's that dreaded but! The black upholstery paint bled through to the front of the quilt on all the white areas!  The majority of the white areas were now grey and all the bright colors appeared dingy.

So, since I had no more tears left for this quilt, I grabbed some white paint and did the last fix -

No, it's not perfect, but it's done (well almost, the binding still needs to be finished).  But I laugh, the quilt is titled Thought Process because I felt it showed how I think, but really, the entire quilt was a Thought Process!  Here it is in it's almost finished state:

It was truly a learning experience.  And the one really important thing I am learning is that finished is better than perfect!