Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Decor and Treats

I have very few Christmas season quilts, not due to lack of wanting to make some. Work so gets in the way sometimes!

I was lucky to win the center of this quilt in our quilt bee's block exchange in the early1990's (every year Vicky R would make one of these Santas as her "block"; there was way more work put into it than you normally would think of as a quilt block. We all wished we would win a Santa, and for two years in a row, I did!)

I added the borders, snowflakes (sequins) and quilting.  It hangs with honor by my front door every year.

This is the second Santa block I won, the following year. Yay me! I plan to include this in a "someday" Christmas quilt with other miscellaneous Christmas blocks.

And my contribution to treat night at the Grand Rapids Camera Club (my husband belongs); a batch also came with me to my quilt bee's treat night.  The homely ones stayed home.  These gingerbread people were easy. I bought the already formed and frozen dough boys from Gordon Food Service, baked and decorated them with royal frosting (Martha Stewart's recipe).

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to my quilt buddies!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Quilts at ArtPrize 2013

Never too late to show you photos of quilts that showed up in this fall's ArtPrize competition!

I am so excited that Ann Loveless of Frankfort, Michigan won the first place in the popular vote at ArtPrize 2013.  Her landscape "Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore" was done from a photo in northern Michigan. It was fused raw edge appliqué from batiks.  I heard comments from people who could not believe it was fabric; they thought it was either a painting or a photograph.

The next is a quilt made from wood! The detail is amazing. Fraser Smith's quilt made it into the Top 10 popular vote.  Here's a close-up. See the "stitching"?

And another wood cloth piece from Fraser Smith, this time a "leather" jacket.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

CAT Scan and late summer garden photos

Anyone need a CAT scan? Or perhaps a quilt inspection? Rosie's your girl!

My purple oxalis looked so sad at my office, but after repotting and a vacation outside, I think it looks fab.

Bi-color budlea (butterfly bush). Just starting to bloom at this late date.

I used to cut off the coleus blooms because they aren't so pretty, and I heard cutting them extends the life of the plant. But guess who likes these teeny tiny blooms? The hummingbirds! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

AQS 2013 Grand Rapids: See Rock City

Do any of you remember those signs painted on roofs and sides of old barns that told you to “See Rock City” as a vacation destination? Well, those barns and signs were the inspiration for this quilt. (As it turns out, Rock City is in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. I guess my folks thought that was a little too far to go for a trip with 4 kids.)

I was looking forward to seeing this quilt in person, because I had read Julie’s play-by-play process of making this quilt, documented on her blog in the last year or so.

 Julie is a quilter from Tennessee, but originally from Michigan, with family in West Michigan.  She managed to make it to the Grand Rapids AQS show to see her quilt hang (among other things at the show) and to see a nephew get married the same weekend.

There is a lot more to this quilt than meets the eye (especially since the ropes at the show kept everyone back a good eight feet).  Here’s what I know about the quilt:

  • Each barn was free-pieced. No pattern used.
  • There is one barn per month of the year, with details near each barn to hint at the corresponding month’s weather.
  • The quilt was put together with sashing between the blocks, but not finished, because a voice in her head told her something was not right. She took the quilt apart and realized that the fabulous free-pieced barns needed a free-pieced sky to go with the barn’s season. Much better!

And I got to meet Julie ever-so-briefly in the lobby of the DeVos Place (where the show was held). Nice to finally meet you, Julie. And thanks for letting me share your quilt with people who didn’t know about you before now!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

AQS 2013 Grand Rapids Highlights

Here are a few quilts in the AQS show that caught my fancy. More to follow.....

Great use of color.

Reminds me of an M.C. Escher metamorphosis drawing.

Shown at the Karen K. Stone lecture. Love her color sense.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Color inspiration everywhere

A few shots of color from the Holland farmer's market yesterday morning, before the place was mobbed!  Not much stitching lately, because my spare time has been spent outside enjoying the great weather.

Love the blue pails. Looks like everything goes with blue.

Sunflowers mean summer.

I'm thinking fajitas sound good with all the  pepper colors included.
Radishes, anyone? 
Sunset a couple nights ago. After this shot, the sky kept getting pinker and pinker, but I was in my car and couldn't stop for another shot.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Why I Quilt

My quilting started in a roundabout way. My biggest sewing and quilting influence was my grandma, Hazel Millard. She sewed everything. She had a fancy brown Singer with all of the cams (I'm not sure where that sewing machine ended up).

My grandpa Ace and grandma Hazel, about mid-1960's.
Here's a few fun things about grandma:

  • She LOVED turquoise. See the trim on the house? See the dress fabric? She also had a turquoise couch and walls of light turquoise.
  • Those retro cotton prints (fancy coffee pots, cups and saucers in turquoise and brown) you see nowadays?  Those were grandma's kitchen curtains.
  • She sewed her own clothes. There were few plus-sized stores to shop in. And, she didn't drive.
  • Her house was small, but that didn't stop anyone from stopping over and filling up the house. There were times the grandkids had to crawl over each other in the living room to get to an unoccupied piece of carpet to sit on.
  • One year grandma made all the men and boys in the family corduroy long-sleeved shirts for Christmas. All different colors. And with the scraps, she made a couple of baby-sized throws to use when babies visited her.

Corduroy throw; each square about 2.5 inches, randomly pieced.
  • Grandma wanted to sell this throw in a yard sale one year. I told her I would buy it from her, but she said "why would you want that old thing?" "Because you made it grandma!" She gave it to me.   It needs a few repairs, but I love it.

Well-loved (and many time washed) little throw.

  • Grandma gave me my first folding cardboard cutting board. I used it for years.
So grandma, thank you for the inspiration and encouragement for the life-long hobbies of sewing and quilting!

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Shot of Color

Pretty window box in Douglas, Mich.

Part of a street planting in Douglas. I don't know the name of these, but they look like mini hollyhocks. They stand about 18 inches tall.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Follow via Bloglovin

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/5314305/?claim=h875q392d99">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

If you are a Google reader follower, you already know Google reader is going away on July 1.  Another way to follow blogs is to use Bloglovin.

Just click the button on the right column and you'll be all set. If you follow by your email address, you won't have to do anything; my blog should get to you just as it always has.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Retro applique and embroidered dish towels

At quilt bee this week, Cherie showed some dish towels that she "saved" from her mother-in-law's estate (no one else in the family wanted them).  These were too cool not to share with you. I had never seen these designs before in antique shops or elsewhere; I wonder if they weren't as common as the all-embroidered dish towels.

Don't these look straight out of the 50's and 60's? Doing housework in heels is a myth, or at least my mom and relatives did not fit this image!

I neglected to take a photo of the back, but all of these were very neatly hand appliquéd with teeny, tiny stitches.

Aren't these great colors and designs? Has anyone seen these before?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Yellow & Grey baby quilt delivered

Here it is! Colors a bit washed out with the overhead lights at work.
Well, baby Rosa decided to arrive nearly a month early, even before the planned work shower and potluck.  Fortunately we had a zippy quilter (thanks, Margo) and a zippy binder (thanks, Nancy) so we could have our special quilt ready for the cutie pie.

Here's the back, with colors a little closer to real. Mom liked the colors and said it would go with the baby room. Success!

My rock garden is shaping up. I had a treat a couple of days ago while hand watering this garden. A male ruby-throated hummingbird started sipping from the above columbine, and I tried to stay still and watch. Then Mr. Hummer came over to me to inspect my dripping sprayer. What fun!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Old Quilt Top, Funny Stuff

This is a  new "old" quilt top I just purchased from Ann Hermes, set 3 blocks by 7 blocks. The fabrics are estimated to be from the late 1800's.  Each block was hand-stitched, but the blocks were sewn together by machine.  The quilter, either the block maker or the one who sewed it together, apparently did not know the definition of "square" (as in, each side should be equal). Pretty wonky.

Here's a close-up of some of the fabrics used.

This is what gave me a giggle. I thought this grey fabric was all one piece, but look again. Someone sewed nine pieces together to get this piece. Isn't this a riot? You're telling me that the stitcher ran out of colorful fabric scraps and said, "oh well, I'll just stitch these greys back together". I think I would have been tempted to cut up a shirt just to get some contrast!

And Mr. Grosbeak has been visiting regularly since last week. Isn't he a cutie?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Yellow and Gray baby quilt top done

Rosie gives a final CAT scan before I sewed the blocks together.

Finished top with some sunshine effects. It's always a challenge to get group blocks to fit together nicely. I gave myself some wiggle room by cutting the squares and strips for everyone, and making the strips slightly wider than needed so the blocks could be trimmed to the same size.

Here's the back (with more sunshine effects).

And in keeping with the yellow theme, here are my lovely Trout lilies. These are freebies that showed up in my yard one year, (they love the cedar chips) and they keep coming back every spring. They are only around for a couple of weeks, then they go underground until next year. I just love 'em.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A few more spring flowers

Well, my birthday kalanchoe blooms in any season inside the house in a sunny window, but I love the deep pink color.

Finally, it's warm enough and sunny enough for my daffodils to pop open. They've been in bud for about three weeks now, but it was too darned cold.

This is a "volunteer" from my neighbor's yard, and a from a quick Google search I learned this blue flower is from a bulb, and is called "Glory of the Snow" (Chinonodoxa fobesii).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring finally sprung

Sorry, no quilting for the past couple of weeks, due to the top priority of getting the taxes done and e-filed prior to the April 15th deadline.  Lots of shredding and filing done, so my paperwork should be organized for at least a week. Or two.

The proof that spring has sprung, despite measurable snow last Sunday: Crocuses popping up everywhere.

The hen and chicks are waking up in the rock garden.

The Lenten roses are about a month late (probably because of snow cover), but they are blooming in the cold.  The flowers always hang down, with the faces looking at the ground.

The plant catalog shows the flowers like this (aren't they pretty?), but you hardly ever see them this way unless you pick them up and take a peek at their faces.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Baby quilt blocks have arrived!

Here is a sampling of most of the blocks from each of my co-worker sewists. I have not yet trimmed them to size, but at least you can get the gist of what the quilt will look like. We have 48 blocks total, some to be used on the back.  Our pregnant co-worker is doing her baby room in grey and yellow because she doesn't want to know the baby's gender, so I complied with yellow and grey, but also threw in a bit of other colors for fun. I'll be sewing these blocks together and piecing the back in the next 2-3 weeks (after our taxes are done), then off to the quilter and then the binder. Baby is due in June, so I think we're looking good so far!