Friday, September 26, 2008

What is this?

Could it be?------Yes, there is piecing going on!

See the long chain of black and white?

It became 120 4-patches! Too bad that's only half of what I need! What is it for, you ask? Check this quilt out from Bonnie's site.

And...I also pieced this zig-zag block. I got the inspiration from Material Obsession. Check them out! I want to make this quilt but it will have to wait til later.

Well I better get back to making 4-patches. Lots more to go!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hi everyone! Sorry I have not posted in a while. I have not been doing a whole lot of any particular thing. Some hand quilting (which I am doing without a hoop and loving it!) and some hand embroidery for a Christmas gift.

After the two hurricanes we had in this area I just felt lost for a while. We came back from Pennsylvania just in time for the first one and I had not settled into my home routine yet. Then the second one hit. We did not have any damage to our property but the emotional damage was there albeit, temporary.

I worried about the family and when something like a dangerous hurricane happens I begin to think about what is really important. Like when packing things up for safety (important papers and pictures, etc). But I also think about how I have been spending my time. Was it doing something important, something that could make a difference in someones life. If I would die today who would have been affected by me being here. Thoughts like these, throw my everyday routine into a spin. I begin to rethink things I am working on and am I doing enough for my family? I felt kind of lost not only in my everyday routine, including quilting, but in my thoughts.

Are the quilts I'm making important to someone other than myself? Is it bad that I neglect my domestic chores (dishwashing and cleaning, etc)? Should my quilting be going in another direction? Like maybe more charity quilts. I have not found the answers to these questions and it is a daily journey to find out but with the changing of the seasons comes feelings of change.

I don't know what it is about the fall but it makes me want to cook (things from scratch like my mother and grandmother used to do. Using their recipes) and also to clean. Maybe it is that old feeling of "Spring cleaning" but in the fall. So for now not much quilting is going on but, I will continue to enjoy the renewed feelings of cleaning and cooking while I have them (because I know they will not last!) I guess it is all part of the changing seasons.

A friend said maybe I had just lost my "Mo-jo". I don't know, but I am hoping to find it again soon. I had lots of projects planned for this fall. Many Christmas gifts to make. We'll see....

Friday, September 12, 2008

2 posts in one day! Wow!

I must have way too much time on my hands. Actually I do have other things I should be doing but thought I would take pictures of my last two paintings from paint class for you to see. Last night was our last class and I'm sad and happy. I learned a lot and built up confidence in my abilities to paint but I'm really glad to have my Thursday nights back. I'm very much a homebody and getting out at night to go to a class across town was not my cup of tea!

This is a painting I did from a picture in a magazine. It is not finished but this is as much as I got done last week in class. I have not made the time to tweak it. I think his mouth looks like the "Joker" from Batman but the paint would not dry fast enough to add the color for his tongue. Overall, I'm happy with it. The teacher was very generous with his critic and said this was good enough to be entered in one of the art contest going on right now. NOT what I am interested in doing. Just like my quilting-It is all just for fun!

This is what I painted last night. I can not tell you how much I was dreading this class. We were doing portaits and I don't usually do people as I stated before. But this teacher pushed me to do what I did not think I was capable of. He handed out a drawing of a man's face and said paint this or use a picture you brought. I had brought pictures but was less intimidated by the picture of this man. I started painting and at first it was not much to look at. The colors were wrong ( I used grey and browns for the shading) but after I started to put some flesh tones and add detail it was looking ok. After I did the eyes then he came alive to me. I am most proud of this painting because it is something I did not think I could do. It makes me think what else is possible. Now, can I do it again? That is the question.
The teacher said it was a very strong portait. A great compliment (at least as far as I'm concerned)!

We are getting tropical storm force winds all day today along with some rains and we may be under a tornado watch sometime today but it beats the hurricane force winds we had 1-1/2 weeks ago.
Thought you might like to see some pics I took of the sunrise this morning. Ike is doing his best to make them beautiful. The clouds were blowing in fast and it was changing fast. I had to be quick to take the pics (not to mention my gown flying everywhere-yes, I was not dressed yet!).
Enjoy! I did!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Quilt stuff...finally

I haven't posted anything quilty for a while and I finished the labels on these two quilts yesterday and took some pics. These quilts were made for my husbands Aunt. She is a nun and they do a lot of charity fund raisers. She sent me the embroidered blocks (done by her and a friend's Mom) and asked if I would make these into quilts for a fund raiser. No rush, just whenever. I got them last year around Sept. or Oct. and you know how it is, other things come up and these got pushed to the back burner a couple of times. But they were always in the back of my mind. My best friend and I worked on these together and we got them finished. We pieced them together and I quilted the smaller one and she quilted the bigger one (she had the harder job, that was a lot of blocks to custom quilt). I'm glad they are done and we will have to get them to her soon.

This is the larger one that my friend quilted.

Here are close ups of the quilting in the sashing and blocks. She uses a Juki TL-98Q sewing machine set on a table. It is hard to do some of these designs but she is getting good at it.

Here is a close up of the quilting in the border. I hope you can see it. It is quilted with e's and l's that have one echo stitch all the way around.

This is the smaller one that I quilted. I also use a Juki-TL98E set in my sewing cabinet. At first it was hard to decide how to quilt these. I knew we would have to quilt in the embroidered blocks but had never done that before. These were vintage blocks. That made me nervous but, I'm real happy with how they turned out. They are not perfect but they are quilted as my friend likes to call it "Machine quilted by Hand". Every block is different. It is not stitched by a machine so that they all are the same. You move the fabric and so sometimes it is not stitched exactly perfect. But you know what? It doesn't matter. The overall look is good and it is done! Sometimes I think that is the most important thing. To finish the quilt.

Here is a close up of the quilting in the blocks and borders. The border is quilted with e's that are echoed.

Here is a close up of the quilting in the sashing. This was something new to me. I did the small flowers and culi-cues. I usually do straight line quilting in the sashing. I like the way it came out.

I'm also starting to work on some Christmas gifts. I have a small table topper that has embroidery on it and some wool. I'm working on the embroidery right now and will get pics when it closer to being finished.

Every year I make a quilt for one of my in-laws for Christmas. I started this in 2001. The year I learned to quilt. The quilt this year is for one of my brother-in-laws. Making quilts for men and boys is fun and different. Using a different color arrangement to make it more masculine.

My friend is really good at choosing colors and knowing what looks good together so she will come and help me choose the fabrics, from my stash, of course. I'm really trying to use it up. Although, as much as I use it never seems to go down, instead it seems to multiply. Why is that? If anyone has any theories on this I would like to hear it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Paint class...

Tonight is paint class. On the day of paint class I always try to do a little painting. Today I tried to fix the house I painted in class last week. I didn't like it then. I like it now. I realized I like a lot of detail. Which I find hard to do with watercolor. You have to be patient and let it dry (or use a blow drier) then add more paint in a darker tone.

Tonight we will be working on painting people. Something I'm not good at and don't like to do. I usually have a problem with proportion. As you can see her chin needs some work and I will continue to work on this picture tonight in class. Over all I'm happy with it. I painted from a picture that the teacher gave us to practice with. It doesn't look anything like the practice piece but it does look like a woman. So I am ok with it so far.

Below is a painting I did last week of a photo my daughter took on a trip they took. I love the picture and thought it would make a good practice piece. I'm happy with it. There is one tree in the photo that has red-orange leaves in it and that is what I tried to capture. I'm happy with it. The road is not in proportion. It should be smaller at the top than at the bottom but that's ok. It was a learning experience.

Looking forward to class tonight! I am learning so much. The teacher is good. He is willing to let us do our own thing and just guides us.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Our electricity just came back on about 10 minutes ago. Me and my daughter jumped right on our laptops (we have our priorities in order you know). We are cooling down now with the central air on. It is time to clean up. Save the candles and batteries and flashlights (but not too far, there is Ike in the Atlantic to watch). I also need to clean the floors. There has been a lot of family traffic through here in the last few days. My daughter took some video of the storm while it was going on. When she has that posted I will put a link to her blog so you can check it out if you want to. Time to get to work.

Updated: Here is the link to the video on my daughter's blog:
Art and Soul

Monday, September 1, 2008

Goodbye Gustav!

Hi everyone, the worst is over. It was not as bad as they thought it was going to be. It downgraded to a category 2 real fast. The winds were only 75-80 mph sustained. We had no damage that we can see. There was a small leak in the roof but it was only from the winds pushing the rain under the ridge vent. We have branches and debris in the yard but we can pick all that up tomorrow. We will begin the clean up then and help others in the neighborhood that need it. Our house is fine and all the family is ok. We don't have electricity but we have a generator and it is running the refrigerator and freezer and some fans and of course my laptop (that was top priority you know-HA).

Tomorrow is my birthday. I will count all my blessings and enjoy the day with my family. I won't have a cake (no oven to bake it in) but that is not what is important. This storm could have been so much worst. God has his hand in keeping us safe. A lot of the things they said were going to happen to make this storm bad just didn't happen. We give God all the glory.

There will be some traffic problems when everyone tries to come back their homes. It was the very first time the entire coast of Louisiana was evacuated for a hurricane. Everyone remembered Hurricanes Rita and Katrina and heeded the warnings.

Thanks to everyone that prayed for our well being. Your prayers were answered.

Still waiting...

Good morning everyone! We are experiencing about 30 mph gusts this morning. Not much rain yet. The storm has weakened some and they are saying now that we will be having sustained winds of 90 mph with gusts of 115 mph. There is a ridge of dry air coming in from the south into the eye and not allowing it to strengthen. We are grateful for that and believe that the prayers are being answered. As I said yesterday we are as prepared as we can be so now it is a wait and see thing. They are saying the worst will be here by 2pm and the worst of the winds will last about 2-4 hours then the winds will get less and less. We should see the eye pass over, which is a really weird feeling. The winds are at their worst then all of a sudden it gets quiet and even sunny outside for about 10 minutes then all of a sudden the wind picks up again in the opposite direction and at it's worst again.

The hardest is the waiting. Your mind loves to think too much when it has time to contemplate what could happen for days. It wears you down mentally and then you are physically tired from all the work of preparing. Picking up anything outside that is not nailed down and boarding up the windows or closing the storm shutters. Buying food, gas, and water. Getting all the things in your house off the floor, in case of water in the house. It is exhausting. But we are grateful for our family and friends praying for us and the storm could be worst than it is.

I need to get off now the winds are getting worst. You can hear the house creaking. We will probably lose power before too long. Bye for now...