Thursday, February 11, 2010

Off to Colorado!

I am SO excited! I am off to Colorado tomorrow morning to see my eldest son Andy and his family. Andy has been serving in Afghanistan for the last year and his deployment is finally over! I had a message on my answering machine when I got home from work-he was in Maine. Very exciting news as there was a question as to whether he would be home this weekend or not.

My husband is changing jobs soon and this weekend is the ONLY one we can get away to go visit. We have an 11 to 12 hour drive ahead of us. Dread that, but can't WAIT to see my grandchildren. I miss them so much, and it will be great to see Andy all safe and sound. This was his 3rd overseas tour, I hope it's the last one.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Machine Needlefelting Class

Last week I held a machine needle felting class at the Quilting Connection in Ames, and I managed to take snap a few pictures of the class.

I chose postcards as the project for the night. Here a a couple that I used for samples for the class.

I kept mine simple, with no further embellishments. I didn't want people to feel intimidated by some of the unusual materials I like to use, or feel they had to bring a lot of extra supplies to class.

Here April, Chris, and Marlene are hard at work on their projects.

Marlene's postcard, almost finished. I failed to get a good picture of the finished postcard, but it reminded me of a Van Gogh painting. Simply beautiful.
And then, this week, I got the greatest surprise, I got this in the mail from April! It was the card she was working on in class.
Below is the postcard that I will be mailing off to April. Hope she likes it!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Recent Finishes

With all the snow we've had here there's not much to do besides stay in and quilt, or in my case, actually break down and finish some quilts. Here are two sane (as opposed to crazy)quilts that I've managed to bind.

First up is a Civil War reproduction quilt that I made as a sample for the Quilting Connection, quilted by my friend April West. Nice quilt, but I would never, ever make a quilt entirely of triangles ever again. Ever.

Detail.... Next up is a small version of an old Mount Redoubt pattern, used as a teaching tool for a class. I had left this without a binding for years, now finished, it's ready for gift giving.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sea Urchin Necklace

Quite some time ago I fell in love with a Sea Urchin bead from Heather Powers, a polymer clay artist who sells her work on both etsy and from her website . Heather posted an absolutely beautiful necklace on her blog. I loved the necklace so much that I had to make my own version. I originally intended to make mine exactly like Heather's but it just didn't work that way for me. I tend to work in a monocromatic or very low contrast pallet when making both quilts and jewelry. I guess I just find it soothing to do so.
My version of Heather's necklace uses some beautiful freshwater keshi pearls, faceted amazonite rounds, 2 lampwork beads from an ebay artist, sterling silver beads and findings, and seedbeads.
I can't wait for summer to start wearing it again.

Matchbox Inspiration Box

I was surfing the blogs I follow and came upon this post on the Button Floozies blog. Oh no, I am in love with this project! I absolutely had to make my own version.

This is a matchbook box, made from the large size of matchboxes sold, well, anywhere you can still buy matches. Steve picked up a couple for me for about 33 cents each. They measure somewhere close to 3 x 5 inches.

I used scrap booking papers to cover my box, though I think fabric would work just as well. The Eiffel Tower image is printed on fabric and was applied with fusible webbing. I used a couple of trims, paper flowers with decorative brads as the centers, a button and a broken piece of vintage jewelry for decoration.

I'm planning to use mine for jewelry gift boxes and to hold some crazy quilting supplies I will be mailing to a few friends. Can't wait to make the next one!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Freeform Peyote Bracelet

I made this bracelet quite some time ago, but it was too short for my wrist and I never finished it. In doing a little reading in my bead books I discovered that I could make it longer by adding a few rows of brick stitch to one end. The bracelet was stitched with various sizes and styles of seedbeads and freshwater pearls, and finished with a vitage mother of pearl button.

Monday, February 1, 2010

New Quilt, new attitude

Awhile back, I told some of my quilting friends that I was on "hiatus", taking a break from quilting and all the other stuff I like to do. Reality was a bit more complicated than that.

Over the last few months, a rather nasty situation at my day job was affecting my life, and frankly I was finding it too exhausting and overwhelming to think creative thoughts when I was spending my days with my stomach tied in knots and trying to hide my shaking hands from the person intimidating me and make life as miserable as hers.

I'm tired of it, just plain tired, and so I'm moving on. I woke up one morning not long ago and realized that pfttt...she will never change, but I can!! I refuse to be intimidated, I refuse to continue to let this eat away at me so much that I give up everything I love to do. Days at work will still be unpleasant, but it is only 8 out of the 24 glorious hours we all have each and every day. I can live with that.

So, without further ado, here is my latest quilt. I designed this quilt at the request of Kelly, owner of the Quilting Connection in Ames, Iowa where I've taught for the last 10+years. While this quilt certainly isn't great art, it was a magical experience, with everything falling perfectly into place. Kelly even used it in the ad in Sunday paper, I'm so proud :).

Initial drawing using Electric Quilt 5. Kelly asked for a simple heart quilt block that could be paper pieced and made into a small wall hanging.

Below is the pallet of Bali Batik fabrics I chose to use.

A block in progress...the colors are working well together. Even with a beautiful pallet like the one above, sometimes a quilt will just fall flat. I was lucky and this one came together nicely.
Blocks, a bit more progress...
Detail of the machine quilting process. I wish I was a better photographer so you could see the quilting stitches better. It's something for me to work on this year.
And wa-la, the finished quilt. It's been well received by everyone that works at the shop, and by customers that have seen it. I will be teaching a class for this quilt on February 12, and It's something I'm really looking forward to. I am back, oh yes I am :)