Friday, January 27, 2012

and my garden has bloomed...

"Hope Grows" 

that is the title for my 2012 PSL Crazy Quilters Member Challenge.  The challenge was What's in Your Garden.  Well, hope is what's in my garden, and, hope grows.  No matter how dark and dismal something seems, there is always HOPE -- you just need to look very closely sometimes. 

You'll remember my inspiration for this challenge, if not, here it is.  Click here for the original post.  It was this photograph by Salih Agir of Turkey, and it shows that there is always hope... in the worse of conditions and circumstances.  That's how I feel, no matter how bad something is, there is always hope.

and my cropped version:

So, I managed to finish my challenge in plenty of time... it's due next Thursday at show set-up!  That is possibly a record of some sort, but we're not keeping score so I'll just be proud that I finished a full week before it was due!

Here it is...
"Hope Grows" 18" x 24"

Pretty cool if I say so myself.  There are a few things I'm not thrilled with, namely the tension on the back... my machine is having a mid-life crisis (another post) and I just don't have the time to give it the attention it needs right now.  Soon, but not now!  I can also see some areas I would have shaded a wee bit differently, but it's done, it is more than acceptable, and I'm pleased. 

I can not wait to see all the entries.  I've seen a few here and there and wow, it is going to be awesome.  That is why a challenge is one of my favorites... a million different interpretations and ideas -- even similar ideas but executed in such different ways.   This year, there were a record 35 entries... can't wait!  The winners are chosen by Viewer's Choice -- I will be sure to let you all know what happens.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Whew.... a full day to spare (almost)

FINALLY -- yesterday all the crystals have been hot-fixed onto their appropriate places, and "Wonderlust" was truly complete.  I used just under 2000 crystals -- I could have easily used more if I had them!  You can say the bling has been blung!  Well, I'm fibbing... the quilt is truly not done because I haven't yet made and/or attached the label which I would be working on if I weren't typing to you!  Finishing the label is a breeze, I have a million milli-seconds  split up into ungrasp-able moments, squished in between the mad chaos I call everyday life, to get that done sometime today.  Yes, judging drop off is at 8am tomorrow, which is scary because I haven't been waking up until almost 9 everyday... that means the dreaded alarm clock... ehhh. 

Now I realize that I started this blog after I had already began working on "Wonderlust", and I'm not sure how much I shared on the customer blog so....  here is a quick pictorial view of  how "Wonderlust" got to this point... we'll start with the fabrics - batik, cotton, and sateen.

Making the applique pieces -- in case you don't follow on facebook these are the second set of little purple gum drop thingies I made -- the first set got lost -- and no, I still haven't found them!  Then we played around with placement to make sure my eyes liked what my mind had designed.

And then lots of invisible machine applique...

did I mention, LOTS of invisible machine applique...

Then to finalize (haha - I use this word loosely) the quilting design... antlers, all I could see was buck antlers -- apparently the fact that my husband was not able to go hunting in October of 2011 had a major affect on my quilting designs!

And then the quilting begins... and yes, for those that know how much I hate SID... when it is truly required/needed it is stitched... I refer to it as stabilizing stitching only because I truly hate SID.

Some more of the quilting...

And then begins the background fills...

And then the crystals...

So that is "Wonderlust" in a nutshell... me being the nut!  Hope you enjoyed the journey!  "Wonderlust" will make her debut at the PSL Crazy Quilter's 2012 Show in just a couple of weeks.

Oh, I almost forgot... the back

I hope to submit and be accepted to as many shows as possible -- I will definitely keep you all informed of where and when you might be able see "Wonderlust" in person!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It's been confirmed....

I am truly freaking nutzo!  No matter how well you plan, block out time, write it all down -- wham the darn calendar sneaks up and slams you in the face... phone book style!

Today my calendar is blocked off for my own work - crystals on "Wonderlust".  Simple enough, I honestly think I will be able to finish today.  BUT, when I turn the page... horror!  It says KM-PSLCQ MBR CH -- what you say?  That translates into Karen, you really need to start on your PSL Crazy Quilters Guild Member Challenge project.  It's due on 2/2/2012 -- which just happens to be show set-up day.  Well, that leaves me two weeks for creation, changes, oh-shits, quilting, and binding of my project.  Now, remember, it is only 18"x24" so completion is totally possible, the questions is am I ready.

So here is the first time I am sharing the inspirational photo with you.  The photo was taken by Salih Agir of Turkey -- who just happens to take some really cool pics -- maybe that's why he is a photographer?!!

Awesome photo right?  That's exactly what I said!  So I emailed Salih and was granted permission to use the photo -- here is the portion I am using.  His only request was that I share photos of my finished project with him.

This is just the rough-crop portion with the upper items blurred out.  Our Member Challenge is entitled "What's in Your Garden"... well, in my garden I see HOPE.  My challenge is entitled "Hope Grows" because no matter what, there is always hope -- sometimes you just need to look!  So you can see how Salih's photo worked perfectly with my idea!

Well, on top of the member challenge, I'm also supposed to be preparing my booth for the show.  Easy enough, I'm a longarm quilter, I just need some samples, a few of my own patterns, specialty notions, and such.  BUT, this year I was supposed to have some prequilted fabrics for sale.  I'm still hoping for that, but not sure when, where, why, how, all those nasty double-u's (and odd h) are attempting to get in my way!  Really, honestly, uhmmmm, if I weren't such a procrastinator and/or so darn busy prior to this I would be ready.  But I think sometimes I thrive off of the stress that I create for myself.  It gets my creative juices flowing at an all-time crazy rate.  So maybe I will surprise myself... maybe!  Oh, and the best part of all this insanity... my Sister and Mother are flying to share it with me!  Yay!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Really? Chewy thread...

Let's start with Peaches...

Yes, she seems harmless enough.  She actually hates having her picture taken so this is about as good as it gets.  You can't see that she is 7 years old... much beyond the puppy stage. Also, what you can't see is that she is a collector.  She even has a stealth mode, you don't ever see her walk by with whatever it is that she's collecting. 

Like, for example, thread...

No, it didn't always look like that.  At one point it was normal, wound perfectly with a cone in the center lacking teeth marks.  This was after I heard that strange ripping noise... well, really I heard it three times, and then a loud crack (the cone).

I ran over and managed to pull the cone and several yards of exposed thread from her mouth.  She was not pleased, and was actually quite upset that I was stopping her of completing her work of art, also known as, this could be really expensive at the vet.

Just thought I'd share...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Super cool new toy!

Had to share one of my coolest Christmas gifts with you...

These are i-Kam Xtreme's - they are made by Hunter's Specialties.  What is it you ask... a tiny little video camera built into glasses.  They come with two sets of lenses, dark and clear.  Pure awesomeness if I do say so myself -- filming right from your face without having to use your hands.  It's one of those don't you wish you had thought of it things! 

So here was Test #1 - outside, around 5:45 pm not real sunny, and I couldn't believe the video quality -- these are going to be awesome for filming Joe hunting -- yep, outdoors they work fantastic!

Here is Test #2 - inside, while stitching on the Gammill (warning: very noisy, my dinosaur of a machine is quite the cranky old thing and tends to be loud).  Filming me quilting is going to take a wee bit more practice -- too much light, not enough light... there is a definite need to work on this and find a happy balance.

Okay, right now I'm secretly laughing.  I started this blog to separate my work from customer work and what's the first video I post... yep, a customer quilt.  LOL!!!  But I'm not really showing it to you, I'm showing you the video from my new toy!

There is definitely more to come from these little cuties, stay tuned!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012... it begins

New Year... yep, Happy... yep. Hopefully you are too! I'm never big on New Years resolutions because I feel if there is something you need to change, do so - don't wait until January 1st -- do it whenever, saturday the 12th is good! Anyway... welcome to my first post on the ME blog.

This is my latest attempt in the ever continual separation of ME, the quilt artist, from ME, the longarm quilter.  TWO blogs... I've always posted everything on but now I will make a serious attempt to only post customer stuff there.  The ME (quilt artist) stuff will be here.  I'm sure there will be an occassional double post as some things do pertain to both, but in keeping with my separation of my own work and the work of my customers I think this is best. 

Besides, sometimes I just need to VENT... not all stitches are perfect -- some are crooked!