Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Won a Sketchbook Challenge Prize

I just found out from one of my fellow students in Pamela Allen's class that I won a prize in the May Sketchbook Challenge!  It is a book by Jane Davies called Adventures in Mixed Media: Collage, Stitch, Fuse, and Journal Your Way to a More Creative Life.

I will be sure to give a review when I receive this lovely book.

I will be doing some collage, stitch, and fusing this weekend at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium.  I am taking two landscape quilt classes. One is with Joyce Becker, and the other with Frieda Anderson. 

Today I served as a scribe for the Symposium Quilt Show judging.  We had three judges.  Each one got three scribes and three "fanners."  The fanners lay the quilts in a pile on the table and turn up the ends one at a time for a preview.  The judge then looks carefully at each quilt, and can ask for them to be held up.  She then goes through the checklist provided by the guild, rating each item excellent, good, satisfactory, or needs improvement.  Some of the quilts are then "held," for further ribbon consideration, or "released." 

After each judge completed their categories of quilts, the three judges got together to view the "held" quilts.  I could not always hear their comments, but it seemed that they very carefully evaluated each quilt.  If all other things were equal, quilts with "issues" received a lesser prize.  It was a very interesting process, all in all.  I recognized a couple of quilts that I had either quilted or participated in making as a group quilt, and excused myself from the room during the judging of those. 

I did not stay for the entire day, but it seemed as if they would finish the process before 5:00.  When I left, they were completing the judging on the quilts that I already saw during the first stage.

I can tell you that there are some great quilts in this show!

North Carolina Quilt Symposium, "History Revisited ~ Old is New Again"
 June 2-5, 2011
Peace College
15 East Peace Street,

Raleigh, NC

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Caribbean Sunset Customer Quilt

Here is a customer's quilt that I finished some time ago, but she just picked it up yesterday.

Jo Ann Gilbert based this quilt upon a photo she took from a cruise ship.  Jo Ann is a very artistic quilter who has won awards at big shows.  One of her quilts was featured on a book cover.

On this quilt, she really made the sunset and reflections glow.

It was hard to tell where the sky ended and the water began, so I quilted everything with sort of a cloudy-like, wavy meander.

Jo Ann pieced the backing and batting to use up her fabric and supplies, but it was a little too short on the sides to mount on the machine. 

I added muslin strips and did a lot of basting to keep the quilt taut.

She made a label and stitched it on so it would be sewn in with the quilting.  I have several customers who do that.

I think some of the sunset fabric was from fabric painter Mickey Lawler.

We will be going to the mountains for the Memorial Weekend and staying until Monday.  No Internet service there.  Have a safe weekend!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New Work in Progress

Here is my latest art quilt in progress...tentatively named "Sunday Ride."

This was done for Lesson 3 in my Faces and Figures online class with Pamela Allen.  We were to put at least two figures into a composition this time.  I chose to depict Charlie and I riding through the Christmas tree farms at the top of our mountain.  Kasey is there too, and if you look closely you might also spot some wildlife lurking behind the trees! 

Pamela did not make any suggestions to change this piece, although I have redone my right arm (too spindly) and changed my shirt color so Charlie's hand would show up better. Also, this is all just glue-basted- and Charlie's left ear appears to have flown the coop!  It is a good thing to take digital photos of your work and check them for contrasts in values. 

I started stitching this one by hand last night while watching the finale of Dancing With the Stars.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Journal Pages

I got busy on the scanner today, and have pictures of some of my newer journal pages.

The first one is for The Sketchbook Challenge.  This month's prompt is "Can't Resist This."  Who can resist a little cutie like this happy baby?

To play on the word "resist,"  I spread some gel medium on this next page and scratched some floral designs into it before painting.  This one is in my favorite journal, my Moleskine. 

The next one should have been done in my mixed-media journal.  Instead, it is on sketchbook paper, and is curling a bit from all the collage and gel medium I used.  The quote by Vera Brittain:  "I thought that spring would last for ever more- for I was young and loved, and it was May."

The next one is an example of a spread where I kept adding stuff and did not know when to stop.

Here is another page starring my dog, Kasey.  I painted the tree first with gel medium to add some texture.

I painted this girl's face and hair with gesso for a first layer, so her hair especially is kind of dimensional.

I have been practicing my Zentangles in my Zentangle journal.  I have going through the  Alpha Tangle book by Sandy Steen Bartholomew and making tiles of each tangle while riding in the car on the way to the mountains.

And, because I have a set of watercolors at the cabin but had no watercolor paper handy, I tried coloring some of the Zentangles with paint.  I 'm not sure how successful that looks.

That's it- I have been working on another art quilt for my Pamela Allen online class, Figures and Faces.  I hope to have something to show tomorrow.

North Carolina Quilt Symposium Preview

Learn more about the North Carolina Quilt Symposium!  (June 2-5, Peace College, Raleigh, NC)

Here is a local television program that features three of our hard-working Symposium leaders talking about quilting, the raffle quilt, the quilt show, vendors, and aprons.  One is Jane Hall, the internationally known author, judge, appraiser and quilter from our Capital Quilters Guild.  Roberta-Miller Haraway is also in Capital Quilters Guild and a member of Cyberbee, one of my quilting groups. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

May Mountain Weekend

The weather was perfect and the mountains were beautiful.  Charlie and I took both our dog, Kasey, and our son's dog, Roo, with us to Laurel Springs, NC on Friday.  It is heaven for doggies to be able to run free up and down the hills and jump in the creek when they get hot or thirsty.


The flame azalea was in bloom in various shades of orange.  I knew we had one in the back yard at the edge of the woods, but did not remember this one in the front above the dam.


At the top of the mountain where it levels out, there is a large patch of flame azalea in the woods, which deserves its name when shining in the sun.


Of course, our beautiful doggies looked even more beautiful decked out in spring wildflowers!


Come to think of it, that bit of frivolity may have caused Kasey's very bad behavior a moment later.  We were riding in the Gator along a dirt road in the tree farms that is also enjoyed by horseback riders.  Kasey took a flying leap and dove into a spot in the grass, rolling herself in the delicious smells of a nasty green pile of liquid horse poop! 

You can see the mess she made of herself, which did not wash off in the creek.


So, she had to get a bath when we got back to the cabin, and Roo got one for good measure.

Got to take the good and the bad (and the nasty) when you love your pets!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Whacky Ladies Auction Quilt

Yesterday was another sew-in day for the Whacky Ladies quilt bee.  Mission:  assemble the sampler quilt for the Heritage Days auction.  Once again, Betsy at Quilts Like Crazy right here in Wake Forest allowed us the use of their space to work on the quilt.

Here is Carolyn with one of the outer borders of 12-inch blocks.

That bear paw block on the right was left over from a quilt that I started back in 1987 or thereabouts and finished in 1998!

The ladies finished making the scrappy blue stripe border.  Here is Irene hard at work on the machine while Donna does some trimming.

Here is Sharon after trimming a last strip to fit.

Donna figured out how to sew the striped borders so that the stripes march around the center medallion.

It was fun to work together in such a colorful place with inspiring quilts everywhere you look.

By the time we "ran out of gas" at about 4:00, the white sashing was cut to size, and we decided to add a narrow flange of dark blue between the white border and the outer blocks.  I took it home to complete the final seams and then quilt it on my longarm.

Last night was the May meeting of the Capital Quilters Guild.  We are all abuzz because we are hosting the North Carolina Quilt Symposium in just two more weeks.  Last night we turned in our quilts for the show.  I am entering two quilts from last year.

Maggy Trees a Coon is entered in the Pictorial Quilt category.

Japanese Garden is entered in Wall Quilts, Small.

Last night I turned in three charity quilts for the Quilts on Wheels program.  I won a door prize- a green "honeybun" roll of fabric.

Our guild has a large stash of donated fabric.  Carolyn Ruby from Cyberbee, my group that has been in charged of Quilts on Wheels for the past two years, made lots of honeybuns and jellyrolls from the stash to serve as door prizes for those who make quilts for the charity.

We had a very entertaining and informative program about organizing your quilting space.  The speakers were two ladies from Kernersville, NC, who are now professional organizers.  I could relate to the "Before" pictures of the wreck of a sewing room. 

I did not take any photos at the meeting, but would like to direct your attention to My Sandbox to see the beautiful mystery quilt that Katie Greenwood finished just in time to turn in for the Symposium show.  So many pieces!  She did a fantastic job, and quilted this on a domestic sewing machine.

Leaving for the mountains today.  Some R&R at our mountain place, and a trip to Boone to check up on my dad, who is still in the nursing home trying to recover his strength after his hospitalization for pneumonia.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lady in Waiting

I am taking yet another online class with quilt artist Pamela Allen.  This one is called "Figures and Faces."  I could not resist this one, because I love all the narrative and figurative quilts that Pamela is known for.  Our first assignment was to create a piece of furniture in some sort of setting, and place a figure on the furniture.  Then make a narrative by adding props to the setting.

Since I had just spent almost a week by my father's bedside in the hospital and then nursing home, this idea came quickly to mind.

What I was going for was the lady looking at the pretty mountain view outside the hospital window, and longing to be out of the boring hospital setting.  But, I thought this made a rather boring quilt.

Pamela suggested that bored people typically have slumped posture, supporting their head in their hands.  The setting needs more clues to reveal that it is a hospital room, not just a bedroom.

Back to the drawing board.  Here was my second attempt.

This one got better praise from teacher.  She suggested only to darken a few elements such as the end of the bed for more contrast. 

The next lesson should be more fun.  We are to make a head-and-shoulders portrait using fabric elements to make the eyes, nose, hair, etc.  You can bet that I will be departing from the muted neutral colors in Lesson 1 to something much more exuberant!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Work in Progress- Whacky Ladies Auction Quilt

All but one of the blocks are finished, the center medallion is a big glowing star, and some of the strip-pieced border is complete.  My local quilt bee, The Whacky Ladies, are making a sampler quilt to be auctioned at Heritage Days in October.  We were supposed to have a sew-in day to work on this project during the week that my father was in the hospital in Boone.  Since that day had to be cancelled, I decided to try to make some decisions about this project so we can proceed.

This morning I  moved the furniture, mopped my kitchen floor (gasp) , and started playing with settings.

My first idea was to surround the center star with the 12-inch blocks, and finish with the scrappy strip border.

That was looking kind of busy.  Next up was to add a white border around the center medallion.

That seemed a little unbalanced...too heavy on the outside edges.

Then I tried putting the scrappy stripes around the center medallion, and the pieced blocks on the outside.

I think this will be the setting we use.  The finished quilt will be 72" square.  I think a few are going to work on this at our local quilt shop, Quilts Like Crazy, on Thursday.  I will quilt it, and others will do the binding.  It should be ready in plenty of time to be displayed at the July meeting of the Capital Quilters Guild.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Biting Off the Nose to Spite the Face?

We had a very enjoyable weekend.  Our son Dave, daughter-in-law Emily, and their dog Roo joined us on Saturday to attend the wedding of a family friend. 

The dogs got to stay home while the adults went to Brier Creek Country Club for the lovely wedding.  It was supposed to be outdoors at 5:00, but at 4:15 it started to thunder and lightning and rain.  Plan B was quickly put into effect for an indoor ceremony.  Just as Ashley walked down the aisle, the sun emerged through the clouds.  I took my camera, but neglected to re-insert the memory card, so no pics of the gorgeous table decorations or wedding.

You may remember that Roo sometimes gets a little anxious when he is left behind in the house.  Back in December he put an end to the fake fur kitties we have had for years.  At his house, he has chewed up a down comforter and most recently, Emily's eyeglasses. 

When we arrived home after the wedding, I immediately spotted what he had done for entertainment this time.  Yes, an entire box of tissues was shredded on the floor.  Apparently, Roo had the need for a little more fiber.  Here is one of my art quilts, The Green Man, Pre- Roo:

and here it is, Post-Roo:

This quilt had been atop a small table in our living room.  So, it was within easy dog reach.  My bad!

The Green Man used to have a dimensional nose made of woven together fibers, and some fiber eyebrows that jutted out from the face.  That's what you see in the pile of fluff next to the quilt.

Also on this quilt, there is no binding.  I left the edges untrimmed, and zigzagged lots of fibers around the edges.  One corner was left kind of ragged on purpose.

Roo decided to chew the opposite corner to match.

So, if he was going to chew up one of my quilts, he actually made an excellent choice!  This should be fairly easy to repair.  Or not!  Maybe The Green Man will have a new story to tell.

Roo is being introduced to The Perfect Dog System.  I sent Dave and Emily home with my double set of DVD's!

Actually, I think it is kind of funny that Roo picked The Green Man's nose for him. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spring Garden Tour

Today I decided to revisit the historic section of Wake Forest and "stop and smell the roses." 

It was not the best time of day for photography, so some of these are a little washed out.  I started this time at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, which is on the former campus of Wake Forest College. 

Like many college campuses, it features lots of brick, grass, and trees.  Magnolias are the most impressive of the stately trees, and they are in bloom now.

 The seminary is celebrating its sixtieth year.

Here is Binkley Chapel, an iconic symbol of Wake Forest.

I like the doors on the Wake Forest Baptist Church, which is on the campus.

From there, Kasey and I walked up Main Street in the historic district.

My eye was drawn to the lovely gardens, gates, and bowers.

How is this for Southern hospitality?

The scent of roses and honeysuckle is in the air.

The herb garden at the Wake Forest College Birthplace Museum is looking fine.

I think this shrub is an oak-leaf hydrangea, a plant I have always wanted to acquire.

I enjoyed all the spring flowers.

Here is a pretty mailbox covered with purple clematis on my very own street.

My lime-green hosta have popped up, and have not yet been attacked by slugs or snails.

And the honeysuckle at the edge of the woods is intoxicating with its sweet fragrance.

It is hard to stay inside and do anything!