Thursday, April 30, 2009

Two New Artsy Purchases

After not spending much $$$ on my fabric and art supply and book addictions lately, I splurged on not only the Lyric Kinard DVD (check out her comment on my blog) but two new books that arrived yesterday from Barnes and Noble.

The first, Stitched Collage by Sherrill Kahn, provides even more inspiration to create beautiful painted and stamped fabric and embellished art quilts.
The colors on these projects make me drool. Sherrill manufactures a line of rubber stamps called "Impress Me" and uses them to create background fabrics and papers for collage, as well as embellished buttons and and jewelry. Her stamp sets are expensive- $25.00- but you get quite a few designs per set. Of course, Lyric teaches how to carve your own stamps from white vinyl erasers. Sherrill also has designed fabric lines that mimic the design elements of her collaged works. Between these two fabulous artists, I have so much inspiration.

But wait...if that is not enough, I decided to splurge on a new book by Violette, of the whimsically painted house and painted, glittered, winged van. She has been inspiring me for several years now through her blog, U-Tube videos, and magazine articles. If you search my blog for Violette, you will see an art quilt that I made from a line drawing she created for a Cloth, Paper, Scissors challenge. Not to mention the blogiversary package I won from her, or the little "house-head" I purchased from her etsy shop.

Violette's book is an idea-starter for journaling, Journal Bliss: Creative Prompts to Unleash Your Inner Eccentric.

What a fun collection of artwork and techniques! This book would be a godsend for those who are a little bit afraid to think of themselves as artists, or even as "creative." Although you may not be into "journaling," these ideas would translate easily to art quilts or even scrapbooking. Here are some of the chapter titles: Fanciful Lettering, Bodacious Borders, Doodling, Groovy Backgrounds, Funky Envelope Art. Okay, so maybe "groovy" went out with the hippies, but those of us who remember the wild colors and free expression of the sixties and seventies (beautifully recreated in the movie Across the Universe) know that groovy can be a good thing.

After all this, I will have no excuse for anything I create to be boring or ordinary.

I still want to be groovy.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday WIP- Trash to Treasure?

Does anyone remember my "Creative Challenge" project that started with a black trash bag and torn strips of colored plastic bags? I had to put it aside for awhile, but have now finished all the steps detailed in the challenge instructions. I started with two large pieces, but have cut them into more manageable sizes. It is surprising to see how pretty they look. The last step was to fill in the holes with the gold wrappers from Ferrero-Rocher chocolates. Since I am thinking of making a purse for the North Carolina Quilt Symposium "Purse-on-ality"challenge with mine, I decided to use the quilters' gold lame for the centers. I fused it to a piece of cotton before sewing to keep it from fraying. On this piece, I stitched around the centers and made flower shapes from a thick black thread.

I started out trying some of the jewel-colored threads for the flowers, but they did not show up against the rainbow organza. I stayed with black after that.

You know me, I get tired of doing the same thing over and over. On this large piece which will probably become the purse, I added a layer of Angelina fibers over the gold lame. Except for one center which I made from a piece of some stretchy, shiny purple polyester that I have had for years.

And, this one is postcard-size and uses the actual Ferrero-Rocher wrappers that my friend Michelle Bonds sent to me for this project. I have added some Lumiere paint and additional stitching to this one.

I am probably going to quilt these on the long-arm to get them to lay down a little flatter. You can't exactly iron them flat! And something needs to be done to improve those thick fern fronds.
Okay, today you get two WIP's for the price of one. Here is the latest revision to the dreaded spider plant art quilt. I changed the window location and fabric so I can add something in the window with embellishment or quilting. There are a few more leaves sewn in.

Speaking of a is one of my favorites. My oldest grandchild, Charles Avery, is five years old today. On April 29, 2004, I made Charlie get up at 2:00 AM and drive to South Carolina when we found out that the baby had been born by emergency C-section. We will be spending the weekend with them to celebrate.
And if you follow NHL hockey at all, there is a lot of celebrating going on in Raleigh after the Carolina Hurricanes won the Eastern regional playoffs in a stunning come-from-behind win over the New Jersey Devils with two goals in the last minute-and-a-half of play in Game 7. Go Canes! (Hey, Dave, how about that...I wrote about hockey on my blog! And we did watch the end of that game after Dancing with the Stars!)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Drawing Winner and New DVD for Me

Sadly, the unidentifiable Sandra has not been located to claim her Blogiversary prize of the Tropical Island fabric postcard. So, today I used to select a new winner...and it is Becca from She signed in as Turtles in Alaska...and a peek at her blog reveals that she is living in Alaska! So, Becca, if you will send me your snail address, I will mail a little bit of the tropics to you in the still-cold north. (Fortunately, Becca's e-mail address was available, and I have contacted her directly.)

This morning I have been glued to the television, watching my new DVD from Interweave Press.

Oh, boy, oh, boy. This one features the delightfully named Lyric Kinard teaching us all about surface design, from carving stamps to screen printing, stenciling, foiling... you name it! Lyric is from the same area where I live, and I have been admiring her work at our guild shows for many years. She has created fabulous garments as well as art quilts. Lyric more or less shot to fame in the art quilting world after doing a series of art design tips for Quilting Arts magazine. She is also an expert on entering your work in shows, and her website features valuable entry information. Lyric also wrote a very helpful article on framing art quilts. Some of these ideas are available on the QA website. Now she has been on Quilting Arts TV and is teaching at the big quilting shows like Houston.

In addition to admiring her art, I was fascinated that she demonstrated all these projects without making any noticeable mess on her workspace, her clothes or her manicure. The magic of TV?

I have been familiar with many of the techniques on this DVD for a long time, but some were new to me. I am excited about trying screen printing, as well as photocopy transfer using Citrasolve. There is also a segment on constructing book covers and sewing small art quilts.

I don't know how Lyric finds time to do all this, as she has a house full of kids, but I'm glad she is sharing her talents with the art quilting world. She also can be followed on her blog.

If it were not for that pesky job I go to each afternoon, I would be getting out my paints and making something pretty today!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Desperately Seeking Sandra

I have mailed off two of the blogiversary prizes from my drawing, "Come With Me to the Islands."

The third prize is still waiting for its owner, Sandra, to claim it. I have no way to contact her since she did not leave a last name, email, or blog in her comment.

If I do not hear from Sandra by Tuesday, I will draw another winner for the Tropical Island fabric postcard.
Are you seeing signs of spring where you live? It is so beautiful here this morning that I would love to stay home all day and play in my yard.

The azalea and dogwood are in bloom, along with lots of other spring blossoms. Even the rose bushes have buds. It is so breezy today that it was hard to take a photo.A pair of bluebirds has produced a bumper crop of eggs in their nesting box. I don't know that we have ever had five eggs in the same brood.

Our bluebird box has a hinged door that you can open to view the nest. Today, Mama and Papa Bluebird were very unhappy when I opened the door. I was being dive-bombed as I tried to take the picture. Usually they just fly off to a nearby tree and watch. They are probably my second-favorite songbirds.

When we were working in the yard last weekend, I decided to hang my hummingbird feeder just to see how long it would take to spot the first hummer. Charlie spotted a male on the feeder about an hour later. I guess they were waiting for me! I saw the female the next day. And when I got home from school yesterday, there was a cherry red house finch sipping from the sugary water in the feeder.

On the way home, I saw a pair of Canada Geese walking down the street with one little gosling tootling along behind. They were pretty far from any of the ponds on the street. Maybe just out enjoying the weather!

I hope it is a beautiful day where you live.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

WIP Wednesday: Still Life

Still tweaking my Still Life Project #2 from the online Pamela Allen class I took in February. I am determined to make this into something I like! Hasn't happened yet. But, I still have some embellishment ideas that I think will make this quilt whimsical and humorous. But, must get the "bones" right first.

Since last seen, I have added more fabrics and batting to the top and bottom. I was going for the effect of a window in the upper right. But I don't like the green fabric going right down the middle of the piece. And the four top fabrics are too alike in size and shape. Back to the cutting board!
I have been adding more to the spider plant to fill it out, and gave it a couple more babies. Some of this is still just pinned or glued together. I have used some silk and a shiny gauzy fabric from a wine gift bag to add interest to the green leaves. Maybe some cherries on the table for a much-needed color accent.
Since I was having trouble with the spider plant looking somewhat like an octopus, I took this photo of two of my spider plants in the McCoy pottery flower pots. I see that the leaves (blades?) should be more random and cross over more.

I thought I would share a link that someone posted on the Quilt Art mail list. A photographer set up his camera on a street corner in New York for two weeks, photographed passers-by, and then photo-shopped the scenes. One might have everyone yawning, another all children, all walking!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The weekend before last, we stopped by Greensboro, NC on the way back from the mountains to deliver the crib "bumpers" that I made to match my great-niece Ragen's quilt.
Let me tell you, this project was quite challenging for me! Not the patchwork, which were easy squares. I made the bumpers in one long length, to be tied with ribbons at the crib corners and other locations. The big problem was my choice of batting. Not one, but two layers of high-loft batt! I wanted it to be soft. But with all that stuffing, these bumpers were unmanageable. I decided to quilt along the white strips and then along the square borders. The edges are top-stitched...except where the whole deal was too fat to fit under my sewing machine foot! Anyway, they look good. My niece Melinda sent pictures, including this one of the corner of the quilt with Ragen's name quilted in.

Last Friday, the elementary school where I teach celebrated its 80th birthday. We had a parade around the block with each grade level dressed in outfits representing a different decade. How fun to see Punky Brewster, Jane Fonda, hippies, poodle skirts...and here I am in the thirties outfit I wore, since I teach fifth grade.

It was interesting to see how the students reacted to me in my old-fashioned looking dress and hat.
There was one fifth grade boy who occasionally has bad days and acts out. I had a slight confrontation with him about a month ago. Well, he was dressed in a black suit and was looking very handsome. When I saw him in the hall, I commented about how nice he looked. He walked right by without saying anything. About two minutes later he came back out in the hall on an errand, walked by me, and said, "So do you" very quietly. :)
Friday night we spent the night with son Dave and his wife Emily, who was celebrating a birthday weekend. This was the first time we had spent time with them in their new house in Cary. Here is a picture of them by their tall dogwood tree in the front yard.

After that, Charlie and I worked in our yard the rest of the weekend. He cut grass, trimmed, and raked up pine cones and branches. I planted flower seeds, weeded, and bathed the dog. It was good to get these things accomplished.
I hope you also had a good weekend!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

Our Capital Quilters Guild meeting featured a delightful guest speaker, Cathie Hoover, from Modesto, California. I was not the only member who came home from the meeting thinking, "I need to get busy and make some quilts!" Once again, I was impressed with how much better the quilts look in person than they do in pictures on the Internet. They just don't capture the sparkle and detail. Cathie must be a Seamstress Supreme, for she has made garments included in the Fairfield Fashion Show, and includes many intricate embellishments in her quilts. And I liked that most of her quilts have something whimsical or humorous, like a black-and-white cow that reads "No! No! No!" in black text over white. But at night, it says "Yes! Yes! Yes!" in glow-in-the-dark paint.
Anyway, I mentioned yesterday that I had made a non-art baby quilt, and was going to try to pin it on the Gammill before I went to work.
I have actually only used my Gammill once since January, when I quilted another baby quilt. You know, if you don't do something for awhile, you get out of practice. "Use it or lose it." So, I had purchased my backing fabric, washed and dried it, and got ready to load it on the machine.
Guess what I completely forgot?
You have to piece the backing and square it up before you load it on the machine! Duh!
So I had this three-and-a-half yard long piece of fabric in my hands, looking at the leader for the backing, and doing a mental head smack.
Needless to say, by the time I got my backing ironed, pieced, squared up, trimmed, and cut the batting to size, it was time to get ready for work.
I need to make a little time each day for quilting.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wednesday WIP- a day late!

Since I returned to teaching in February, it has been a lot harder to find time for quilting. But I do have a WIP to share, an actual traditional quilt. I am hoping to mount it on the longarm this morning.

This one is for new great-nephew Christopher, son of my niece Rachel in Tennessee. I chose soft flannels and some Minkee for a super-soft quilt. I usually stock up on baby flannels when I go to Mary Jo's Cloth Store in Gastonia, NC. It is usually only about $3.00 per yard there.

I used half-inch seam allowances instead of the usual quarter-inch to allow for the Minkee, which tends to stretch and curl along the seams. There are a couple of nice-size puckers in the top thanks to the Minkee. Oh, well, my longarm quilter will "quilt it out"- how many times have I heard that! LOL

Yesterday morning I had an appointment in Raleigh, and managed to run by Carolina Sew-N-Vac to pick up enough flannel for the backing and still make it to school on time. I chose a grassy green.

Thinking of quilting in some frogs and turtles...or maybe some suns and stars to go with the border fabric.

Tonight is the monthly meeting of the Capital Quilters Guild in Raleigh, and I am actually going to attend the meeting. My attendance has been poor this year, but the meetings are always great. It is a fairly long drive to the meeting sight from here in Wake Forest, so I don't like to go by myself at night. My friend Donna from my local bee is going with me. Our speaker will be Cathie Hoover from California.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My Quilt is Unforgettable!

My friend Holly from the CyberBee group alerted me to a very nice surprise this week.
Mountain Sunset, the little art quilt that I made for my husband's birthday, is featured on The Quilt Show's daily blog on April 11 in a slide show set to the music "Unforgettable."
Wow, it was included in some fine company!
The Quilt Show is an online quilting community with paid membership. Members can upload pictures to their own "gallery" on the website. I had just uploaded this picture on April 7.
Getting a warm fuzzy feeling!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Celebration Day...Drawing Winners

It's April 14...the day we have been waiting for here at ATQ...

My oldest child's birthday! I always feel like this is really Mother's Day for me... the day I became a mother. Happy birthday, Bryson! You have been making me happy for 32 years!

And- Happy Birthday, Anna! My beautiful sister-in-law is married to the second youngest of my five brothers. Brother Jeff, author of the poem in the Blogiversary post comments.

Doesn't it look like she is sailing in beautiful blue tropical waters? She is!

Which brings us right to another reason to celebrate! Today is the day to announce the

Come With Me to the Islands

Blogiversary Give-Away!

I used a random number generator from to pick the numbers. And here we go...

Drawing #1 for the Tropical Waters art quilt... Winner is Antonija, better known as Toni from the blog Under the Dining Room Table. Toni lives in Wisconsin...yup, she needs a bit of the tropics!

Drawing #2 for the Tropical Island art quilt...Winner is Bethany! Bethany posted her comment anonymously on April 8, with no e-mail address. I hope she checks my blog and sees that she has won!

Drawing #3 is for the Tropical Island postcard...and the winner is Sandra! Sandra also did not leave her e-mail address, but posted on April 6, 2009 10:10 PM .

Send my your snail mail addresses, and your tropical quilts will be sailing your way.

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to everyone for the lovely comments and for visiting my blog. I hope you will continue to visit me here at All Things Quilty!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Bit of Springtime

Heading to the North Carolina mountains again this weekend. I will leave you with a bit of spring from my yard here in Wake Forest...
and a magic link to bring you instant springtime where you live, even if there is snow on the ground...
And don't forget to leave a comment on my April 3 post to enter the Come to the Islands Tropical Give-Away! The drawing will be April 14, so leave a comment before midnight on April 13. Be sure to leave your e-mail address if you are not a blogger. I have gotten several lovely comments from people that I have no way to contact. Check back on Tuesday, April 14!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sailing Postcard

I am now officially on spring break, two days late since we had snow make-up days. But I can't complain about getting some time off after only working part-time since February 24!

Today is the only day I actually have for sewing, since we are leaving tomorrow at noon for another weekend at our mountain place. Charlie is off for Good Friday.

We have two family birthdays on Tuesday, April 14: my son Bryson, and my sister-in-law Anna. I made this little card for Anna in an attempt to capture the feeling of their sailboat out on the beautiful waters of Sanibel Island. Yes, another tropical-themed project. My father is leaving to spend a week with them on Friday. I wish I could stow-away in his suitcase! Jeff, Anna, and their children are wonderful hosts, and it is such a beautiful place to visit.

I wish I had not needle-punched the sailboat down with the embellisher. In this case, I don't really like the frayed look of the edges. However, it is done and ready to mail.

I punched silk and wool roving directly to a piece of Timtex, added a little Angelina fibers, and then cut the boat and sails out of white cotton. The zigzag edge has both a rayon and a metallic thread. The back is watercolor paper tinted azure blue.

That black thing at the lower edge is a shadow of my finger!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Another Tropical Quilt

Nassau Memories, 2003, 24" x 21"

While the sign-up phase for my Tropical Quilt give-away is still going on, I thought I would show you another little beach-themed quilt. I purchased my Gammill Classic long-arm machine in May 2003, and then in June had foot surgery that kept me from using it for more than a month. I was desperate to quilt something, so I purchased a kit for this fun little beach scene quilt. I am fairly confident that it was from Batiks Etcetera online, although I do not see the pattern available there. I quilted it on my old Bernina 1260.

This scene reminded me of a wonderful trip to the Atlantis Resort in Nassau in 2001. I used a metallic and iridescent threads to add sparkle to the sea and sky. I added my own dolphin button to swim next to the two that are appliqued to the right border.

I have always liked this little quilt, even though it is not my original pattern. Sometimes you just have to make something because you need to be playing with fabric!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Lovely Mountain Weekend

We had a short but wonderful weekend at our mountain place in Laurel Springs, North Carolina. Lots of son Bryson and my two grandchildren--- in fact, I think there were twelve grandchildren all together between my sister and her sister-in-law and me. And look who I got to cuddle and admire for the first time...two week old baby Ragen!

Lily and Avery played outside all day, and enjoyed getting dirty and climbing hills.

It was opening day of trout season, and the creek had been stocked. Almost everyone caught their limit. The prize of the day went to my nine-year old great-niece Hunter, who pulled in a huge trout that is destined to be mounted. I have never seen such a big one- must be a granddaddy!Although the seasons are usually several weeks behind us in the mountains, there were definite signs of spring, including the daffodils I planted along the driveway.

And look what the bluebirds have been up to! We put up bluebird house last summer, and they have already started their brood.

They better be sitting on those eggs tonight, because it is supposed to snow again!

Don't forget to leave a comment on my previous post in order to enter the Blogiversary Give-Away!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Come With Me to the Islands...Blogiversary Give-Away

Over 37,000 page views since February 24, 2007 and 396 posts...whew, I am tired just thinking about it! Time to celebrate with a belated Blogiversary Give-Away! On my actual blogiversary, I had just started back to work, an event which has greatly interfered with my quilting and blogging time. Glad to have the job, but....

it's time to take a virtual trip to the islands with not one, not two, but three give-aways with a tropical theme!

Are you tired of cold weather? Is it still winter where you live? Then just leave a comment on this post before midnight on Monday, April 13. Be sure that I can contact you via your blog or e-mail address if you are one of the winners. The drawing will take place on April 14.

To get you in the island mood, here is Give-Away Prize Number One: a small art quilt named Tropical Waters. Just slightly less than 6" x 6", this one is a shiny and sparkly interpretation of the surf lapping the white sands of the beach. The blues and greens of the waves are made from silk and wool fibers, yarns, and Angelina.
Both waves and sands are accented with tiny beads.
I made the background with my Babylock Embellisher, and machine-quilted on my Bernina. This little quilt is finished with zigzag stitching, and features a backing made of an ocean water theme fabric.
Give-Away Prize Number Two: How about a cruise to a Tropical Island?
Prize Number Two is a slightly larger piece, 6.5" x 7.5". It is a slightly textural interpretation of an imaginary volcanic island with blue sky, fluffy cloud, tropical foliage, white sands, and again, the beautiful waves in every shade of blue and green. This one has colored yarns, Angelina, silk tops, wool roving, and machine quilting.It has the same swirly water fabric on the back, and is also finished with zigzag stitching.
And finally, just finished yesterday, Give-Away Prize Number Three: a fabric postcard also named Tropical Island.
It is 4" x 6", and can be sent right through the mail for a fabulous greeting to a friend. Or, like the other pieces, it can be framed like a small piece of art, or set on an easel. Again, the piece was made on my Babylock Embellisher with various yarns, fibers, and tulle. It is machine-quilted with shiny thread to a stiff piece of interfacing called Timtex, and then fused to a painted piece of watercolor paper. Zigzag stitching finishes the edges.

Don't forget....your own little piece of the islands will be yours if you are one of the three lucky commenters on this post. Good luck...
Don't Worry, Be Happy!