Thursday, July 31, 2008

Eye Candy for a Cause

While happily quilting away on the bright log cabin quilt this morning, I saw the mailman out the window come right down the driveway to the house. Ah, a package! Surely not either of my two Etsy purchases, already? So I came to a good stopping point and checked it out. Well, the box was undoubtedly yet another gadget my husband ordered. But I got some great mail---a photo CD I ordered from Tomme Fent with the Grab Bag quilt challenge pictures. This is another great cancer fund-raising project that I learned about from Virginia Spiegel's blog. For only a ten dollar donation to a Relay for Life charity, and $2.00 shipping to Tomme, you can have this CD that explains how each quilt was made from the products in each quilter's grab bag. So far, I have just run through the slide show, but I can't wait to read each artist's statement and study these quilts more intensely.
For those unfamiliar with Virginia Spiegel, she spearheads Fiber Art for a Cause, quilting art charity projects for the American Cancer Society that have culminated in over $160,000 raised so far. Among the projects she has coordinated are fiber postcards at Houston, Collage Mania exhibits.
I currently am signed up to make a 12" x 12" quilt for the With One Voice fundraiser. These are due in about a month. I have not started, of course, but have two ideas.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Quilting Again

After a lapse of a couple weeks, I have had the Gammill humming again for the past two days. I finished the "music-themed" quilt. Have to admit, this is the first time I have ever had to charge a PITA charge. What's that, you ask? It means Pain in the A_ _! Not the customer, but the quilt was very challenging. I took a picture of the whole thing, but the computer is not recognizing the memory card that I used when I had the quilt pinned to the new design wall. The customer started quilting this project herself, but found she could not do what she wanted. PITA #1- the backing and batting was the same size as the top, making it hard to pin to the leaders. I sewed some muslin strips.
Here are some partial shots:

There are names of composers and musicians along the outer border. This was the biggest PITA! Many, many, starts and stops, and each little blub of thread shows well with this creamy yellow thread on black fabric.

There is an acoustic guitar to which I added wood grain lines. This part was not too hard, except that I had to research wooden guitars to see what kind of grain line they should have. Good thing...they are supposed to run straight along the length of the guitar, which is made up of three different pieces of wood on the top. Didn't JoAnn do a beautful job on the guitar?
The grand piano has music staffs running through it, to which I was supposed to add notes. But they did not show up too well, and were getting to be another PITA with stops and starts and burying threads. The customer stitched the staffs in a silver thread.

The bottom border of the quilt says "Strum those strings and tickle those ivories!" Much easier to do in cursive.

Today I pinned on the king-sized log cabin that I took in the day before my babysitting adventure. This one is in bright, happy colors, with my favorite kind of quilting: foliage, feathers,and some peacock feathers. There are some butterflies and dragonflies in one of the main prints, which looks like a Hoffman. I am using a Reed, or sort of yellow-green, King Tut cotton thread. So far, so good! And another quilt that is waiting will use the same thread and quilting style, so I should be able to transition to that one easily. This big boy is taking two bobbins to complete each pass on the long-arm. But I am enjoying it!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Etsy Art Purchases

By now, many of you are familiar with the big online auction site e-Bay, or a similar site serving as a yard sale for the whole world. But do you know about Etsy? It is e-Bay for artists! Everything for sale on Etsy is handmade.

I have never put any items for sale on Etsy, and until yesterday, had never purchased anything. But two of my favorite bloggers posted pictures of some of their creations, and I decided to claim them for chez McBrayer.

First, the delightful Fannie of Imagine, Create, Inspire posted this Rose Art Quilt on her July 25 blog post. The last sentence of the post was "This Rose is for you." I took her literally! The fact that my new sewing room is painted in peach and yellow may have influenced this purchase. But you know I love flowers, and I am also wanting to explore the use of Neocolor pastels.

The second Etsy purchase was from Violette Clark, who I have mentioned in this blog several times. Just use the "Search Blog" text box at the top of my blog and type in her name. I have been a fan since I first saw her artwork and funky home in Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine. I started visiting her website and blog after that, and saw these little head houses which she featured on her blog on July 23. Had to have one! I purchased the smaller one with the happier face.

My home features a lot of artwork, mainly consisting of my quilts and my father's paintings or prints and some pottery pieces. But why not become a collector? Now I have a good start. Don't forget this lovely piece that I just won from Wanda Hanson at Exuberant Color.
Now, have I started you on another way to procrastinate while you scope out some eye candy?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Quilt Design Wall

We actually stayed home this weekend, and I spent some hours on my sewing room "re-do." You may remember that back in February I cleaned everything out of my son's old room to make it my sewing room. My old sewing room is also on the third floor, but I had WAY outgrown the space with all my STUFF. I decided to move all the fabric and sewing machines to the other upstairs room, and use the old room for painting and crafts and my books. So, I painted son's room, and then I accepted a teaching job at the end of February. End of project until this weekend! We have travelled out of town almost every weekend since school was out in June.

Anyway, I have this lovely room with peach walls ragged with a yellow glaze.It is sunny and fresh. Since these rooms are actually finished attic space, the walls are slanted, limiting design wall space. I have had two of those sheets of pink builder's insulation for several years, covered with some of the boys' old blue flannel sheets. That was not going to cut it in my pretty new space, so I used my JoAnn's 40% off coupon to buy some luscious thick felt in a warm beige color. It will look great in there, although I am not sure the color is the best choice for auditioning fabrics. I have heard taupe works well, so maybe these will be okay.

Anyway, it took me several hours to wrap the felt around these insulation slabs. After pinning the felt to the back, leaving about six inches to wrap around, I glued the edges with a hot-glue gun. The corners are sort of mitered to reduce bulk. Of course the slanted one was quite a challenge, and I did not cut at the proper angle to match the ceiling slant.
But they will work! I will get DH to bolt them to the wall for me. These insulation sheets are 4' x 8', which makes them difficult to move around if you have 8' ceilings. You can get the folks at the home repair superstore to cut them for you to the size you need. I mean, really, unless you have a pick-up truck, it is hard to get something that size even home from the store. We managed it in an SUV, but I ended up cutting off about eight inches. The insulation board is very light in weight, and cuts easily after scoring with a razor blade. (Exacto knife.) I wrapped the cut edges in wide clear packing tape to keep the little pink slubs from getting everywhere.
DH was supposed to help me install shelving, pegboards, window blinds and curtain rod, etc., but he had his own to-do list this weekend. But I think we are staying home again next weekend, so hopefully, I can get my space organized soon.
I have four customer quilts waiting for me, so I better get going.
For those who are nature lovers out there, here is a peek at our second brood of four baby bluebirds this year. They look big and blue, so I bet they will be leaving their hot little box this week.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Big Dave's Big Day

Today is my "baby" boy's birthday. He is twenty-seven. How did that happen?This is what he looked like on July 26, 1981.
He was a beautiful baby boy with silky blond hair, so light it was almost transparent.

If you are a mother, you may spend a few moments on your children's birthdays thinking about their birth experiences. I vividly remember this day twenty-seven years ago.
Dave was born twenty minutes after we got to the hospital. I thought he was going to be born in our Honda Accord!
Dave has always done things in a BIG way ever since.
And he has turned into a very fine, very BIG man.
Happy Birthday, Dave!

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Last Farewell

This morning I was very saddened to hear of the death of Randy Pausch, the Carnegie-Mellon University professor beloved the world over for The Last Lecture, his advice on living life to the fullest.

If you have never seen it, please take the time to watch.

Rest in peace, Randy.

From The Last Lecture homepage:

On September 18, 2007, computer science professor Randy Pausch stepped in front of an audience of 400 people at Carnegie Mellon University to deliver a last lecture called “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” With slides of his CT scans beaming out to the audience, Randy told his audience about the cancer that is devouring his pancreas and that will claim his life in a matter of months. On the stage that day, Randy was youthful, energetic, handsome, often cheerfully, darkly funny. He seemed invincible. But this was a brief moment, as he himself acknowledged.
Randy’s lecture has become a phenomenon, celebrating the dreams we all strive to make realities.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Change of Plans

Yesterday was a catch-up day for me, meaning I got very little done but caught up on my old lifestyle of lolling around without a couple of young'uns to care for. In the afternoon, we had a tremendous thunderstorm, ending up with an inch of rain. I headed to the porch to sit in a rocker and enjoy the coolness, when I hastily beat a retreat inside. The lightning struck just a bit too close! I took this picture of the lonely, abandoned baby stroller through my glass storm door.

Today, I vowed to do better, and was planning to oil up the Gammill and do some quilting. But after walking Maggy the Mutt, I had a rapid change of plans. The storms must have chased off our heat wave, because it felt refreshing and delightful outside. When we have a day in late July without humidity here in North Carolina, we must take advantage of it! Heading out now to the garden for some weeding.

Like this squirrel seen jumping out of the old squirrel-proof bird feeder (yup, he actually got inside the glass)...I'm outa here!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Missing Them Already

It has been a whirlwind adventure, keeping my two pre-school grandchildren for almost two weeks. I feel like the quote: "The reason young children have so much energy is that they suck it out of their grandparents." That's okay, I will gladly deal anytime with household messes, lack of sleep, sibling rivalries, and the three P's (pee, poop, and puke), to be around my little darlings. Last weekend we took them to our cabin in the mountains. They absolutely loved the Gator, fishing in the pond, and wading in the creek near the dam. I think Avery will definitely remember his visit with us, and hope that two-year old Lily will. She acted so much like a big girl!

I just mailed a big box of stuff that I forgot to send home with them. Somehow I am just not as organized as I should be to pack up two little ones for a road trip!
To all of you young mothers who still find time to pursue your passions of quilting, artwork, or even blogging, my hat is off to you. Don't know how you do it!
Thanks for your patience as I totally abandoned All Things Quilty for All Things Kiddy the past few weeks. After I finish cleaning my house and car, I have lots of projects to write about.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fun with Grandchildren

It has been an exhausting week!
But lots of fun.

We have made pictures with my scented markers and water-color painting.
I found out that when Lily gets hold of a marker, she does her nails...
then her lips and even her teeth.

Shortly after she did all that, I took them to the park in Rolesville. We had not been there long when a photographer from The Wake Weekly newspaper asked permission to take Lily's picture. She was playing with another little brown-eyed girl at the time. Since Lily was too busy running around to sit still for a picture, we may not see her in the paper!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Brillante Weblog Premio Award!

About a week ago, I got a lovely surprise e-mail from LynnS of Fiber Fantasies. I had never met her in blogland, but she had been reading my blog, and nominated me for the Brillante Weblog Premio award. Thanks, Lynn!

The rules for award acceptance are as follows:
1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog.
2. Link to the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Provide links of the nominated blogs on your own blog.
5. Leave a message at each blog you have nominated.

With my two grand-babies here and the trips to South Carolina and Asheville, it has taken me over a week to get around to working on my own nominations. And it has taken me all day to write up my nominations! I use Google Reader to keep up with a good number of blogs. It lists those which have been updated, and it is a quick click to see those. When I feel like visiting blogs, these are seven of my personal favorites.

Cleveland Girlie- Cathie Recca, a quilting friend from Raleigh, does beautiful fabric painting and thread-painting. She also loves music and art, has a beautiful house and garden, and by the way is a great cook.

Michelle's Stitch and Paint Spot- This blog is by Michelle Bonds, another Raleigh quilting friend. She not only quilts, but makes jewelry, curtains, journals, you name it...and often using household or found objects such as bottle caps and paper towels. And her nature photography is worthy of National Geographic!

Field Trips in Fiber- The very prolific Vicki Welsh has an informative blog about longarm quilting, fabric dying, making cosmetics such as soap and lotion, and organization. I would like to be half as organized...but, then, I don't like making lists! Vicki is from the Richmond, Virginia area, and does lots of volunteer quilting for Quilts of Valor. She also participates in many swaps, teaches at her LQS, and was the first person to leave a comment on my blog.

Feeling Simply Quilty- My son found this blog for me- Julie Brunner has a blog with a name that sounds familiar! Julie lives in Kentucky. She is a true inspiration to me as she helps her adult daughter go through cancer treatments. She has lots of links to tutorials for quilters, and a slide show of Paducah's 2008 quilt show.

Girl Gone Thread Wild- This one is a little different- a doll maker instead of a quilter. Monica Magness is the maker of the gorgeous Love Squared doll made from "inchies" sent in by many fiber artists. Check it out! It is to benefit the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Imagine, Create, Inspire- Fanny Narte is a fabulous blogger with daily postings of her artwork, and thoughtful, beautiful musings. She states on her blog, "When I started blogging in July of 2007, fiber art was my main focus.My intention was to take a year and explore the different art media available and select an area of focus. Since then, I've discovered online classes, mixed media, collages, ATCs, portraiture, Photoshop, felting, fabric paper and much more." I have enjoyed watching her discoveries!

Exuberant Color- I just mentioned Wanda Hanson's blog the other day when I wrote about the quilt give-away. I have now received my wall hanging, and it is just perfect. Wanda is a very prolific piecer and, guess what? She loves bright colors! She has offered several great tutorials on her blog.

Now, I have to post a comment on each blog to let them know they have been nominated. I hope to get that done before Lily wakes up from her nap! Here is a picture she took of herself:
Yes, having the grands here this week has turned my world upside down...but I love it! By the time the week is over, I will have figured out how to do this a little better. Oh, well.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Another Mountain Wedding

We had a successful trip to beautiful Asheville, NC last weekend. The kids were very good in the car for a five-hour trip! We stayed with Charlie's sister Lee and her family, who were all quite taken
with their little cousins from South Carolina. I don't think they had ever met two-year old Lily!

It was less than an hour's drive to the wedding, which was at a cabin in Maggie Valley. There was even a little garage cabin for their Gator that was cute as a doll house.

I liked the wood floors, stone fireplace, and check out the bar chairs made of burled wood. What a beautiful setting for a wedding! There was a creek running along the side of the property. The bridal procession walked along the creek and over the bridge to a shady side yard. Charlie's brother Richard provided the sound system. There was a Western theme for the whole wedding, including the cake.After a short carriage ride through the valley, the bride and groom returned for a nice reception and some dancing. The children were quite taken with this beautiful, well-manned horse. That's Uncle Beattie, Lee's husband, lending a welcome hand with my grand-kids. The little ones climbed trees and got in the creek.
Our granddaughter, Lily, met Grady's granddaughter, Jada, for the first time. They almost look like sisters, except one has big blue eyes and one big brown eyes!
Today it is raining non-stop. Grandma "Gigi" took the kids to Wal-Mart and loaded up on kid food and things we can play in the screen porch or garage. Better get back to my babysitting!