Monday, March 29, 2010

Look What Happened When I Was Away

I came home from my brief trip last week to find that my cherry trees had burst into bloom! These are Yoshino cherries along the driveway. Yoshinos are the same trees originally planted in Washington, DC along the National Mall and Memorial Parks.

I also have a weeping cherry close to the house that started blooming the same day.

Too bad the weather has been ugly for the past few days- cold, gray, and windy and rainy. I would love to be outside working in the yard.

All the spring bulbs have come up, like this pink hyacinth. It is right by my front steps, and smells divine.

And I love the grape hyacinths. You can plant a few of these little bulbs, and they will spread out like crazy.

Today will be a good day to stay inside and get some quilting done. I am hoping to finish the yellow floral quilt today and take some photographs to show you. It is the perfect spring quilt to go with my flowers and blossoms!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Old Friends

My best friend at Cary High School and my roommate at N.C. State- at least for a short time- was Barbara Patton of Cary. I got her a blind date with the roommate of a guy I was dating. They got married during our sophomore year. I got married (to a different guy!) at the end of junior year. We were in each other's weddings.

That was one of my more successful matchmaking attempts. Barbara and Doug came to Raleigh this weekend to celebrate their fortieth wedding anniversary. We met for dinner at The Angus Barn.

Happy Anniversary, Barbara and Doug!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tarheel Quilters Guild Show in Fayetteville, NC

I got back yesterday afternoon from my visit to Fayetteville, NC and my family in South Carolina.

First stop was the Loving Stitches Quilt Shop in Fayetteville. I love that store! I spent some time with their Gammill service man, Ken. What a friendly, helpful guy! I stocked up on some extra parts like check-springs and needle screws. He offered some advice on adjusting my thread guide on the intermittent tensioner to keep the thread from slipping out. I also purchased just "a few" sale fat quarters in sweet floral fabrics, some Marking Magic spray, and a few other fun items like these sparkling fibers and colorful buttons.

Then, it was on to the Kiwanis Rec Center to judge the long-armed quilts for the Carolina Longarm Association ribbon. The quilts were already hung and their ribbons awarded. The long-arm quilts were listed by number, and they had covered the quiltmaker's and quilters' names with post-it notes. Ann, Mary, and I walked through the entire show with our lists, circling the quilt numbers of those we liked best, putting check marks on the quilts that were obvious contenders for the longarm quilting award.

Here is our winner: Welcome to Sue and Ed's Garden, made by Pat Scheideler-Kern, quilted by Linda James.

The pattern is by Faye Labanaris and Pamela Humphries. According to the label, Linda used a computerized longarm machine. However, we are not sure if the beautiful pebble quilting and McTavishing in the background were computerized. I had previously seen this quilt at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium last year, where it also won big awards.

Here is another quilt that we really liked, and was a strong contender for the award. It is Hot Summer Winds, quilted by Rosemary Cushman. We loved the movement and flow her quilting added to this bright pieced quilt.

I did a quick run through the show with my camera and took a few shots of quilts that I especially liked. I did not have a program to give credit to the quiltmakers.

The flower in this very small art quilt was made using Neocolor II water-soluble crayons.

I went crazy over this tree made from bright fabrics. Moss was added with what appears to be needle-felted wool roving.

This is a very striking red and white log cabin quilt. The red feathers were colored after quilting.

I had never seen this idea for quilting the log strips, but it was very effective.

Two original design quilts by the same person were both delightful. The first is a view of a town in Europe.
The second is called Egret and Water Lilies.

You know me, a sucker for brightly colored art quilts and sparkly stuff. This little quilt won a ribbon for Best Use of Embellishments.

I loved this beautiful applique quilt of various houses. Looks like the judges loved it, too!

Another quilt with very crisp applique and red accent fabric.

This quilt collected four ribbons from the same show, including the coveted Best of Show. It is made by the same person who made the brightly colored batik tree. Very artistic, yes?

On to South Carolina. My son has the Beatles Rock Ban for the Wii interactive video games. Avery plays the drums while Bryson plays the guitar.

Avery just loves the Beatles! He and Lily call "Here Comes the Sun" their "happy song."
When we were taking Avery to Kindergarten Friday morning, I sang, "Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to school we go..." and he says "I know that song from the Snow White movie!" Then he started singing to himself what he thought were the words, "My home, my home, it's off to home I go..." So cute! He also loves to drink Woo Hoo in the little drink boxes. Other people know it as Yoo Hoo. :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sock Monkeys Child's Quilt

Today I quilted a child-size quilt. The pattern is Twist and Turn, and the fabric has adorable sock monkeys.

Linda asked for a fun, swirly overall design. We chose Signature "Parchment" cotton thread.

The backing is a thick, luscious, yellow flannel. I always think the back looks very textural when the backing is flannel.

Tomorrow I will be heading to Fayetteville, NC, to the Tar Heel Quilt Guild's show on the day before it opens. Members of the Carolina Longarm Association take turns visiting local quilt shows to award the Best Longarm Quilting ribbon. Mary, Ann, and I will be choosing from among 78 quilts to award one ribbon! That should take awhile!

While in Fayetteville, I hope to visit Loving Stitches Quilt Shop. Then it is a quick hop from there to my son's home in South Carolina for a short visit, since it is not too far. Even though I just saw them last weekend at the beach, can't resist another chance to get my "grandbaby"fix. Even though they are not babies anymore!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quilt Reveal: "Happy Home"

When we were at the beach last weekend, I gave Dave and Emily the gift I made for their fourth anniversary...a small art quilt named "Happy Home."

This is a small piece that was actually my Lesson One composition from the Pamela Allen online art class, "About Style," that I completed in February. I used the palette from this painting by Matisse.

The Dessert: A Harmony in Red, Henri Matisse, 1908

I found that I love pulling fabrics and colors using a painting or artwork that makes me happy. I found the great red-orange fabric for the house in my stash. It even had scrollwork motifs similar to the curvy flourishes in the painting.

The week that I was finishing this project, Dave and Emily got their little puppy, Roo. I added him to the front porch at the last minute. Any little doggie shape with big pointy ears works for a Roo dog!

I did work from a photograph for this piece, but everything was cut freehand with scissors and no pattern. The pieces were first appliqued to a piece of batting using embroidery floss or Perle cotton. Then I added a second batting and backing, and quilted it first on the Gammill and then on my domestic sewing machine for more details.

Because of the black outline quilting, there is almost a second picture on the reverse side.

I still have a warm glow about the great weekend at the beach. On the way home, we enjoyed all the spring blossoming trees and flowers. This great daffodil garden was at a rest stop on I-40 near Warsaw, NC.

The only bad part was when we got home, and I found out my father had just been admitted to the hospital with a touch of pneumonia. My brother John works very close by, and was able to stay with him until he was settled for the night. Hopefully he will be discharged soon, as he was responding very well to treatment.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunset Beach Birthday weekend

We were so lucky to have good weather for our beach trip this past weekend. The destination was Sunset Beach. We stayed in a cottage with a view of the sand dunes, marsh, Inter- coastal Waterway, and a peek at the ocean. Everyone goes out on their decks and balconies to watch the sun go down.

Even the seagulls were lined up on the roof of the house across the street.

It was a great time to be with family and friends. Here we are on the deck getting ready to go out for a seafood dinner on Friday night. Dave and Emily arrived at the restaurant in time to join us.
Here is the birthday boy with our daughter-in-law, Emily.

Our grandchildren were there, too, and they had so much fun playing on the beach. It was just hard for them to understand that they could not play in the surf like they do in the summer. The water was still icy cold.

The one-lane drawbridge that provides access to the barrier island of Sunset Beach will soon be a thing of the past. The new high-span bridge is rapidly nearing completion. There have been times when it was mildly annoying to wait for the bridge to open for passing boats, but I feel we will be losing some of the charm of this little island, where you just have to move at a slower pace.

We always hate to leave the beach, but it was a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Birthday Celebration

This was my husband, Charlie, sixty-one years ago. No, he is not old enough to be in a museum.
I am fortunate to have loved and been loved by him for two-thirds of his life.

Here is a collage that I made him for his birthday tomorrow. Lots of things that represent the mountains that we love.

I am still pretty new at mixed media, but this was really fun to put together. I used a 9" x 12" canvas panel. There was exactly one frame in that size at Michael's, sort of a narrow shadowbox deal. I had to shave off some of the sides to get it to fit in the frame.

Tonight, Quilt Royalty is coming to the Capital Quilters' Guild. Sharon Schamber will be our guest speaker. I took a class from Sharon at MQX in 2007. She was very generous in allowing us to touch and photograph her quilts up close. Even the one that later won the $100,000 quilt contest.

I should be staying home tonight to pack, but I'm going to guild. Tomorrow morning, we leave for the beach for several days with friends and family. It is supposed to be in the seventies. Can't wait!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Green Thumb?

You can kiss me, I really am mother was a Donovan, about as Irish as you can get! Since today is St. Patrick's Day, today I will feature some green things. (The quilt I am currently working on is a big, beautiful, yellow floral which may take me a while to finish and photograph.)
First of all, here are some shamrock plants...probably more than twenty-five years old. My father had a pot of these that he thought had died, and he consigned them to the compost heap. At the end of the winter, he was astounded to find them flourishing in the rich humus of the compost! These break apart easily to plant in new pots. And when they look like they have expired, throw a little water on them, and they spring back nicely. I have mine in some green McCoy pots...along with some spider plants started from a little baby spider plant we got as a wedding favor, oh, twelve years ago?

I have shown you my scheffera before. Betty Lou is now twenty-six years old. She got moved into the front dining room at Christmas to make room for all our dinner guests at the family get-together. I think she likes keeping company with Monet.

We always have good luck with Norfolk Island pines in our sunny kitchen nook. This one was in one of those 8-inch pots when we got it just a few years ago. It has grown five feet since then.

But who wants to see the inside when it is starting to look like spring outside? Daffodils are in bloom

And here are some flowers blooming on my Lesson 2 quilt from my recent Pamela Allen online class, About Style. I have been stitching all the raw-edge appliques with embroidery floss. Taking a long time, but it is coming together nicely.