Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mermaid Jacket- WIP

Here is what I have been working on this week-the Mermaid Jacket.    I checked with my instructor, Linda Schmidt from Quilt University, to get the okay about posting our class work.  This jacket requires a lot of construction!

I started with the yokes for both fronts and the back.  This is where the undersea scene will be developed.  Here is what the back looks like with some seaweed before it was all couched down with a variety of threads.

Here are the fronts.  I couched yarns, floss, and other fibers along the edges of the seaweed and ocean floor.  My ocean floor is kind of colorful, yes?

Of course, there must be some mermaids for the Mermaid Jacket.  I decided to paint mine with Tsukineko inks for the skin and Lumiere paints for the torso.  They are drying and might make the next WIP edition.

There is a lot of strip piecing involved to add to the rest of the bodices.  Here are parts of three different strip sets to coordinate with the yokes.  That bottom set is not as curvy as it looks in the picture!

It has been a long time since I have done this much patchwork.  I am almost caught up with Week 3 of 4.  Tomorrow, Week 4's lesson will be posted, but we are leaving for the mountains in the morning. 

 It will be opening weekend of trout season.  You can't just throw in a line and catch a trout any more.  You have to have not only a fishing license, but a trout stamp.  The streams are stocked before opening day.  Traditionally, you can count on bad weather for opening day.  This was especially true back in the day when we used to camp in tents down by the creek.  I remember once going up there when Bryson and my nephew Jason were only two years old.  It rained Friday night, snowed and turned to ice on Saturday.  Everything in the tent got wet, as well as all our cooking gear and food outside.  We went by the K-Mart to get some dry sweatpants and sweatshirts, socks and underwear for the kids.  Then we went back to Greensboro to my sister's for the rest of the weekend.

Bryson is bringing our grand-kids for the weekend, so I hope it is not a repeat of that experience!  It has been raining all week.  They say it might snow on Friday.  At least now we have a snug and cozy cabin to retreat to.  And a washer and dryer.  And a shower.  And a kitchen.

Life is good!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Indoor Blooms

I am glad we went for that scenic walk yesterday.  Today it is cold and raining buckets.  Kasey's only walk this morning was to the mailbox, although she is standing expectantly by the door, still soaked from that little outing.

With all the lovely flowers blooming outside, I decided to add a little seasonal decor to my kitchen.  We have tall windows and a glass porch door that allows what little light is available today to enter the room on three sides.  I brought in a few stems of miniature daffodils and pansies.

The bunnies are swinging away on the sill while the dogwood blooms behind them in the back yard.

There are some painted, trapuntoed quilts on the wall in pastel colors.

Yesterday, my friend Marcia received the little baby quilt that I finished using her mother's patchwork.

  I added a label trimmed in pastel rickrack and a photo of her mom.  There is space to add the baby's name if they choose to.

Still working on my quilted jacket.  I will check with the Quilt University instructor for permission to post photos of our work.  So far I have partially finished only the yokes.  Slow progress!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Historic Wake Forest, North Carolina

After two days of cold rain, the sun finally came out this morning.  I was itching to get outside and see some beautiful spring flowers.  The bad part about an early spring is that sometimes the flowers bloom when it is too cold to be outside and enjoy the beauty.  Today I decided we would visit some of the loveliest yards in town.  I packed Kasey in the car for the short ride to North Main Street, the historic section of Wake Forest. 

Most southern towns have a few grand mansions, perhaps owned at one time by the local kings of industry.  Wake Forest has a virtual parade of stately mansions, once owned mostly by professors at Wake Forest College.  Actually, the college was lured by Reynolds money to move to Winston-Salem, NC, back in the fifties.  The campus is now the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

We started at the Wake Forest College Birthplace Museum.  The house, known as the Calvin Jones house, has been moved from its original location on campus to a lovely location on North Main.

On the grounds are gardens, benches, and areas for outdoor concerts.  The old well has also been relocated here.

Here is a nice fountain in the herb garden.

This is a very nice herb garden..

Here is the Calvin Jones House from the side.

From there, we headed south toward the campus.  North Main Street has sidewalks and a central median that serves as a garden space.

Here is a peek at the magnificent houses on parade along the street.

The pink tree is a redbud.  Isn't it pretty against the blue sky?

I love this house with the "gingerbread" on the front porch and the white picket fence.

Local legend has it that on Sunday afternoons, the students would visit the professors at their homes and hold spirited debates on their front porches.

This veranda would certainly accommodate quite a few students!

This is one of the most familiar buildings near the college.  For years, it was an ice cream shop known as The Corner.  I heard that it went out of business a few years ago.

If you peek in the window, you will see settings for a tea party.

I enjoyed all the gardens, statuary, artwork, and whimsy along our way.

Candy tuft and dianthus

The iconic Southern camellia

This lovey-dovey young couple in the garden shed made me look twice.

Kasey truly enjoys going for walks in different locations.  I think she prefers the woods and creeks, but she was very well-behaved on the sidewalks.  With all the recent rain, she even had a romp through a lovely big puddle.

I hope you enjoyed taking a walk along Main Street with me!  We will definitely be going back and visiting some side streets in the historic district.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Moist Mountain Weekend

We knew it was going to be cold and rainy, but we went to our mountain place last weekend anyway.  It had been more than two months since we went  up there, and we wanted to check it out for any winter damage.  Everything was fine.  It was not raining on Friday, and we were able to take a ride to the top of the mountain with my nephew Jason, his wife Robin, and our dogs.  While we were in our usual spot at the top in the Christmas tree farm, we heard what sounded like sirens.  Since there is no nearby road, turns out the sound we heard were coyotes!

Even though it has been another cold and snowy winter in Ashe County, many of the daffodils I planted along our driveway and down the hill have bloomed.

  I hope that one day the hill will be covered with daffodils as they multiply over the years.

On Saturday we went to visit my father again in Boone.  He is still not feeling very well, but we enjoyed our visit.  Charlie was able to get his wireless headphones working.  They had  been a gift from my sister, and I couldn't get them to work when I was there last week.  When you walk around the retirement home where my father lives, you hear a lot of loud televisions blaring from behind closed doors because so many older people are hard of hearing.  These headphones should help my father hear his TV better without having the volume turned all the way up.

We had to deal with intense fog as we came down the mountain.

We kept hoping there would not be a deer in the middle of the road as we came around a curve.

The usual mountain vistas were obscured by the mist.

Once we got to North Wilkesboro, the fog cleared.  There were many beautiful blossoming trees all the rest of the way home.  I think these are cherries.

Glad we made it home safely!  We hear it is snowing up there today.  This is ridiculous!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March Sketchbook Challenge-"Spilling Over"

The theme for this month's Sketchbook Challenge is "Spilling Over."  Here is my journal page.

With our early spring, the blossoms and leaves are going crazy, the bluebirds are investigating the birdhouses, and it was easy to create a page for the theme.

This is watercolor paper with collaged tissue paper, flowers from an old quilting calendar, my colored pencil sketch of the bluebird, and other hidden elements in layers.  The big orange daffodil center is a seal from a wine bottle.  I have gessoed over some of the collage, and then added colored pencil.

I also figured out that my two previous entries for January and February were only on my own Flickr page, not the group challenge page.  So I added all three at one time today.

When it's 85 in March...

When the temperatures have been 85 degrees F for two days in a row, what is one to do?

How about work on a Christmas quilt?  Ho-ho-ho.  I finished one of several Christmas themed quilts today for my customer Teresa.  This one is in contemporary Christmas fabrics with red, gold, chartreuse, and turquoise colors.

It's not that obvious, but there are six stars that make up the design...three red and three green.  Here is a red one.

And here is one with green points.  Aren't those fun fabrics?

This one is a nap-size quilt, and I don't like those to be too closely quilted.  They should be soft and cuddly. 

Some of the fabrics had ornaments with a coiled hanger, and there were lots of holly leaves.  That made my quilting design choice pretty easy. Holly leaves and curls. 

Okay, so I did not stay in and sew all day.  I have been trying to explore lots of nature trails and green ways in my area to keep Kasey and myself interested on our daily walks.  Today we headed to the Falls Lake Dam.  There is a fishing area just below the dam.

The bridge is part of the appropriately named Falls of the Neuse Road.

Falls Lake is the water reservoir for Raleigh, Wake Forest, and other surrounding areas.  It was formed by damming up the Neuse River.  I remember when it was being built.  Charlie and I took our little boys out there and watched the lake slowly filling in.

There is a nature trail above the dam race that we decided to explore.  Shortly beyond the dirt road is a footpath marked Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

The trail was an easy walk through the woods.  We came across a large granite rock outcropping that I know my grand-kids would enjoy playing on.

The spring violets were in bloom.

We eventually got our first glimpse of the lake from the trail as we entered the Falls Lake Visitors Area.

I did not know there was such a building.

I did not go in because I had my dog with me.  I know where our next excursion will be.  There is a trail down to the lake from the visitor center that is waiting for us.  Aren't the redbud trees looking pretty?

While we were near the visitor center, a large raptor bird swooped down near us and landed in a tree.  I was trying to decide if it was an eagle, an osprey, or a red-tailed hawk.  All are residents of the lake area.  A lady came walking over to me excitedly saying, "Oh, I see a golden!"  I thought she meant a golden eagle. 


She was talking about this little golden!

Turns out, she is one of the "foster mothers" in the Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue group.  We were invited to their April Golden Retriever Re-Union at the lake, even though I did not adopt Kasey through their group.  Nice to make new friends!

Yesterday we were back at the green way behind Heritage.  It is becoming commonplace to see one or more of these beauties lurking in the wetlands or woods. (Squint a little and you might see a deer silhouette near the center.)

Kasey was very interested in this very large bull that was close to the electric fence at the farm on the Wake Forest end of the green way.

That was one close encounter that I did not wish to pursue!