Sunday, October 31, 2010

Light and Shadows

It was a gorgeous, sunny, somewhat chilly mountain weekend in Ashe County, North Carolina.  All of my zinnias had turned to brown stalks during the two weeks since our last trip.  Many of the trees have lost their foliage, except for the oaks. You can see on this shot of the hillside that most of the trees are brown, bronze, or dark red if they still have their leaves. Not much golden yellow is left at the high elevations.

 I enjoy roving with the camera in the late fall afternoons, and catching the long shadows and golden rays of light as the mountain casts its shadow.  Here is the sun just reaching the bend in our driveway.

The sun only reaches half of the creek and the side not blocked by the mountain.

This is the back path that leads from our cabin down to the creek.  Nice long shadows.

This old barn is across the street from our place.  It belonged to my brother-in-law's grandfather.  A very interesting photo with the afternoon sun hitting the old boards, but I would not want to set foot inside of it, or be anywhere near it on a windy day.

There are still a few flowers to be seen if you look hard. These asters were right at the edge of the creek.   I even saw a few butterflies flitting around.

But, let's face it, summer is over and the fall is fading fast.  But last week, we had temps in the high eighties.  This rhododendron appears is covered with flower buds!

When I got up on Saturday morning, it was twenty-seven degrees F.  They are predicting snow for next weekend!  As hunting season gears up and the weather turns cold, I will be staying home.  But I may go up one more time next weekend...just to see it snow!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Doodlicious Daybook- 21 Secrets Journaling Class

When you create a journal out of brown bags, leftover wrapping paper, old calendars, and manila cardstock, it immediately removes the "preciousness" and fear of the blank page. 

If you have a four-year-old who can contribute shapeless globs of paint, you are good to go!  I immediately saw ghosts and a pumpkin .

When I posted the above picture on the 21 Secrets workshop page, Tracie Hanson of Doodlicious Daybook pointed out the pink snaggle-toothed monster lurking on the page.  Then I was off and running!

The page on the right is from an old Quilting Arts catalog.  Perfect to set the mood!  I added this cute little comic of a wiener dog wearing his hot dog costume for Halloween.

I hope you and yours have a fun, safe, and happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

WONDERful Quilt!

Just finished one of the most interesting quilts that I have worked on in a while.  I give you....  WONDER WOMAN!

Or, her undies, at least!

This quilt was lovingly made by my friend Karen Wagoner.  We went to college together at NCSU, got married about the same time, and each had two children at about the same time.  We lost track of each other until she showed up on my doorstep to bring me her first quilts! 

She has a daughter who still loves Wonder Woman.  On one of Karen's trips to bring me more quilts, she brought some of the Wonder Woman apparel that her daughter had collected over the years.  After deciding how to work with that chemise, I suggested she might find some more images on the web that she could transfer to fabric.  Done!

These are copies of comic book covers.  The one at the top is from 1942...perhaps the first?  Notice it is in black and white.

Of course, the top and, uh, briefs, are the star attraction.  Well, for all of WW's many male admirers, they were always the attraction, right?  Surely not just the invisible airplane and golden lariat? 

Karen appliqued them to the background by machine blanket-stitch.

There are some well-loved T-shirts in the quilt.

But my very favorite is this wonderful photo transfer of the two beautiful sisters in the Wonder Woman "Underoos!"

They still make Underoos, although I don't think the brand name is as widely used. They usually have a T-shirt top or vest, and underpants that resemble the costumes worn by Superheros. 

Now they also have Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob, and other non-Super types of children's characters.  I wonder if wearing SpongeBob underneath your clothes gives kids the same feeling of confidence as wearing Superman duds?  Probably not.

I admired my little grandson's Spiderman Underoos about a year ago, and he disdainfully told me, "Gigi, they're called UNNERWEARS."

I have fond memories of my own two little blond boys in their Superman pajamas complete with capes.  There is a little pair of Dave's waiting in the cedar chest for his own little Superhero someday.

Or maybe they will become part of a quilt!
I also finished a little patriotic-themed quilt for Karen's grandson.  It was also quilted with lots of stars.

I like to add children's names to their quilts if the makers agree.

He does not need to worry about passing this quilt down to his little sister.  I think I have already quilted at least three for Evie, including one of my all-time favorite children's quilts.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Doodlicious Daybook- 21 Secrets Journaling Class

What a beautiful day!  I treated myself to an hour-and-a-half walk on the greenway near my house.  Since it was such a gorgeous autumn weekend and we were not in the mountains to enjoy it, this walk along the creeks, woods, and wetlands was a great substitute.

After that, I took a set of watercolor paints outside and used a fall palette to paint some background papers.  Then I stitched some of these to other painted and assorted papers, from calendars, magazines, and scrapbook papers.  I assembled these with loose-leaf notebook rings into a "Doodlicious Daybook" or journal.  It is fat and funky!

When we had the grandkids in the mountains last weekend, Lily and I did some painting outside on brown Kraft paper and card stock.  She produced the pink page by smearing her hands all over a glob of paint.

I used a technique from the online workshop 21 Secrets, which is a series of videos and instructional pages by some of the top names in journaling and mixed media.  This one was called The Doodlicious Daybook with Tracie Hanson.  You are supposed to paint really large doodles on mural-size paper.  I just used the brown paper left over from wrapping paper rolls.  Then you cut up the big sheets to create journal pages.

On this page, a part of a big doodle is on the left, and a failed painting on the right.  This is a great way to use paintings that you don't like, but wouldn't mind journaling or collaging on top of.

I didn't realize I had so many paintings I could use for this purpose! 

One of today's painted backgrounds is on the left, and a NC Wildlife magazine cover is on the right, with the delightful zebra duct tape.

Painted doodle on the left, watercolor on the right. I used those cheap acrylic paints like Folk Art from Michael's for the doodles.  I buy them when they are on sale for like 69 cents apiece. 

This is one I did today...can you tell how happy this beautiful fall weather has made me?

India ink doodle on watercolor on left, big doodle on right

Doodle on left, pocket made from scrapbook paper on right to hold bookmark

Well, you get the idea.  This is going to be so much fun to fill with journaling.

I hope your weekend was fun!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Backyard Visitors

We looked outside and saw this cute little fawn in our backyard on Thursday afternoon.

When Charlie grabbed the camera to take her picture, I noticed its twin was in the second liriope patch.

They were so cute.  This part of our yard is sort of a natural area that merges into the woods behind us.  We don't really see the deer very often, but I guess these two don't have a mama any more and were not shy about leaving the woods. 

They can eat all the liriope they want, but they are going to be in trouble if they start munching the azaleas and camellias back there!

It's a beautiful, sunny fall day here in North Carolina.   Happy Weekend!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Durham Orange Quilters' Guild Show

Today I spent the morning at the Durham-Orange Quilters' Guild Show at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham.  You know I love quilting if I arose at 6:00 AM to get to Durham!  I was one of the three members of the Carolina Longarm Association who were sent to award the CLA ribbon for Best Longarm Quilting at the show.

Here is the winning quilt, Celtic Garden, pieced by Mary Ed Williams and quilted by Suzan deSerres.

Here is the winning quilter, Suzan, who happens to be a member of CLA (names of quilters were not revealed until after the judging.)

And just look at the gorgeous ribbon.

It was an exhausting job to choose from more than 100 long-armed quilts to award just one ribbon!  Believe me, there were some gorgeous quilts on display.  The facility is part of a former tobacco manufacturing plant that has been lovingly converted to an amazing event area.  You can see the hardwood floors in the first picture.  There are open beams, balconies, exposed brick walls, skylights, and lots of other interesting architecture inside.  But the most amazing part of the tobacco campus is a man-made "river" that flows around the building, with waterfalls, cascades and fountains.  It is amazing and beautiful!  My camera is still in the repair shop, and DH's borrowed camera lost its charge after only about six pictures.  Maybe next time I can take some photos of this fabulous spot right next to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Here are a few other pictures from the show.  I have a slight complaint about this show, mainly that the program only lists the award winners.  The individual entries are not identified or described in the program, although placards on each quilt contain the information and statements about the quilters.  The program says, "Thanks to all quilters who entered" and lists their names only.  So, sorry, but I can't tell you much about  these few pictures that I took before the camera battery died.

Atlantis, by Lindsey Alexander and Margaret Reiswig


Grandma Wickard's Iowa Schoolhouse

Shooting Stars, by Debbie Feulner and Linda W

Got to go, my company's here!  Big weekend ahead with our annual pig-picking

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Perky and Pretty

For my last two customer quilts, I put the Beatles on the Ipod, put my brain in Sixties and Seventies mode, and had lots of fun with Flower Power!

Martha Armstrong is a Stampin' Up teacher and demonstrator, and has been teaching classes on making quilt tops from die-cut appliques.  Sometimes after a class, she brings her students over to me to do the quilting.  They make the tops in several hours, with the appliques clinging to the background fabric with glue stick.

This one was made by Jean from Mechanicsville, Virginia. 


Instead of stacking the center shape in the middle, she chose to offset it for a different look.

I took my quilting design from the swirly background fabric.  The quilting is all swirls in a buttercup yellow thread.

 The backing fabric is this pretty teal floral print that coordinates with the Moda Bake Shop "Layer Cakes" she used for the appliques.

The second quilt is like deja-vu all over again...almost.  Tammy used the same Layer Cake fabric , but on a pale yellow background.

On this one, I decided to quilt in some flowers and leaves as well as swirls.

When I got to the very last row, I noticed that one of the flowers had lost its center applique.  Here is another reason for the four inches of extra fabric that longarmers like to have on each side.  I made a pattern from one of the centers and cut out a new one from a piece of the extra side fabric.  This is the first time one of those glued pieces has "unstuck" itself and gotten lost!

The backing of Tammy's quilt is the same as Jean's, but in a different colorway.  I used it to draw out some potential quilting motifs.  In that way, the quilting really becomes part of the design. 

In this case, I used a piece of Golden Threads tracing paper and drew freehand shapes.  You could also trace the shapes directly.  Caution:  use washable markers if you plan to keep the "style sheet" on the quilt top as a reference while you work.  Or, if the design is complicated, you can stitch right through the paper.  I have done that sometimes when quilting animals or other designs from Laura Lee Fritz' book, 250 Continuous Line Quilting Designs.  I prefer to just stitch freehand so I don't have to pick out all the little bits of paper!  Here is an example of a quilt that I stitched through the tracing paper.

Happy Quilting!