Gone too soon

On Thursday evening I was told that my friend, Cleo, had passed earlier in the day. This was definitely a case of someone being gone too soon.

Cleo was a fighter. In the 10+ years that I had known her, she had fought cancer twice and worked so hard to recover from severe edema in her legs. She was starting to get back to her life, and for a quilter, that meant new projects! She had borrowed a number of Scrap Quilting books and had already picked out a few that she wanted to make.

But, alas, she was beset with a stroke and then learned that the cancer had metastasized further into her body. She passed while surrounded by her loving family.

I know that I had met Cleo before, but my first true conversation with her occurred at a Quilt Show….where else!! She was working behind the scenes, keeping the kitchen organized and running. We talked for at least an hour and I was struck by her interest in my life and the way she would assimilate what I had said and then ask further questions. I knew that she was retired at the time and made the assumption that she must have worked in a mental health area. Instead, I was to find that she was a banker!! I guess that they have to ask probing questions too.

She carried that ability to listen and ask questions to her quilting. She could critique a quilt in a heartbeat and was always gracious in her presentation so that you actually thought that it was YOUR idea and not hers!! When she and her husband, Richard, would come to our house for dinner, we often ended up with the guys on the deck and Cleo and I in my studio, with her patiently looking at each of my in-progress pieces and making wonderful suggestions that, eventually, made it a better quilt!

She was part of our Cre-8-tive group and, when we presented our challenges, she would ask what we liked about it and what we hated about it. One of our last challenges was handwork. We each presented a basic piece and then passed it around as others added to it. Cleo presented us with this….

We each did some work and handed it back to her looking like this….

And she finished it into this magnificent piece…..

And, her portion of this challenge is what inspired me to make these Quilt Show Badges….

In July of last year, Michael and I met she and Richard for lunch and she proudly showed her latest project, a photo quilt for her Granddaughter……

….It didn’t matter if we were standing in the middle of a parking lot!!!

She always inspired me!! At one lunch she was showing me the results of a workshop that she had taken and I decided to go home and try something similar. I got this far before life took over again…..

I am thinking that it is time to pull it out and get it finished!!

Cleo was a believer in Jesus Christ and in His saving grace and I believe that she is in heaven now. I can only imagine what heaven looks like for a quilter but I can hope that…..

  • there are no broken needles
  • needles never come un-threaded
  • thread doesn’t tangle
  • bobbins never run out (especially not 2 inches before you finish sewing that binding on)
  • you can always find the pin that you dropped
  • steam irons have an infinite water supply, and don’t cut off at just the wrong time
  • half-square and quarter-square triangles are always the perfect size….straight off of the machine
  • fabric is available in any pattern and any color
  • and most importantly…..seam rippers don’t exist because they aren’t needed…..EVER!

You will be missed my friend!!!

Quilt on dear Cleo…..quilt on!!!

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It’s starting!!!

Our builder called today and said that, since the weather was going to be so bad this next week, he had contractors who could start the wall demolition in my studio on MONDAY!!!

Guess what we are doing this weekend!!!!

I wonder if all of this will fit in the bathroom??

Stay tuned for the outcome!!!

She is under the needle and I am scared to death!!!

After the last post where I talked about turning my “Henna girl” into a flower girl, several of my quilting friends initiated a discussion on Facebook and the bottom line was that everyone thought that I should just leave her as she was and not add anything. Since these are all women whose advice I respect, I decided to do just that!!!

I did want to break the background up a bit so I played (on paper) with adding some lines…..

But the question was what color of fabric to use for the small stripes. I started with black, but it was too dark. Then I went to a mottled grey but it still didn’t look right. So I pulled out my paints and trusty sea sponge…..

…and added some additional colors to the strips.

To attach the strips to the background, I used my ruler to keep things relatively straight and dotted glue along the line…..

After the lines were added, it was time to add the girl, once again using dots of glue.

Next, I played with colors of tulle to put on the top and ended up deciding to use a “grey/violet” (shown on the right here)…….

I did a bit of research about how to hold the tulle in place and ended up on Susan Carlson’s blog. she said to, once again, use dots of glue!!……

…but to spread the glue out well when the tulle is added.

So, now I was ready to quilt…..and just a little bit nervous about it!!! I am very concerned about quilting / thread painting this piece so started on the easiest part…..the stripes in the background……

I finished off my creative time for the day by quilting a few lines in her head-wrap and then outlining her body.

I am super happy with what I got done and hopefully will be brave enough to continue with the quilting!!!

Thinking of backgrounds…..

Since I now have the “Henna Girl” (working title) body completed, it is time to think about the background and rest of the picture.

As I showed a couple of posts back…….

…….. she and her mother were sitting in the middle of a large street market….literally IN the street!!! They block that particular street off for a certain time each day and the market moves in for the few hours.

I decided that I wanted the background to look something like an asphalt street and figured that sponge painting was the fastest way to go.

I started looking thru my stash and came across this piece of fabric…..

You may remember it from the “less-than-successful” dyeing session that I had this past summer. As I looked at this fabric, I decided that it would be the perfect base for the background, but it was going to need a lot of highlights added!!!

I cut the fabric in half to give myself a second try (if needed) and got set up on Michael’s workbench…..

I started out by mixing several brownish paints and began sponging my way across the fabric……

Next I added some greens and kept going with the same sponge…..

As time went on, I kept adding new colors, but mixing them in with whatever paint was left from the previous round.

I ended off by sponging a jet black over everything else.

The final product looked good……

Next, I glued all of the body pieces together to make her all one piece and excitedly added her to the background……..

I covered it with the tulle and am super happy with how it looks. Although the tulle deadens the colors some, it really does help with blending the fabrics……

I have also started working on the two background elements….. part of the basket in front of her and a bag of fruit in the back.

She’s coming along!!!!!

What I did last weekend.

First of all, let me apologize for not having more posts in these first 2 weeks of 2020. I have had great intentions, but life has simply gotten in the way!!!

That being said……this was my view for much of this past weekend…..

….staring at an I-phone screen while it recorded my husband Michael (on the right), interviewing various people at the Dallas Safari Club Convention. One of his editor’s had asked him to do some posts with video reviews of the convention and I offered to come along to handle the technological side of things.

All in all, the videos were successful although I did learn a few things along the way that will make it better next time. Also I now feel VERY comfortable with recording and editing videos so maybe I can add a few here every once in a while.

Most of Michael’s time was spent talking to various firearms dealers, (which quickly grew boring for me), so I decided to walk the show and look at the artisans who were present. Here are some of my favorites…..

The first that caught my eye were the works of Joshua Tobey. I particularly loved the humorous side of many of his sculptures…..

There were so many painters with works displayed that it was hard to pick a favorite, but I was captured by this painting by Peter Blackwell…..

….and truly enjoyed the colors displayed in many of his other works…..

The wood carvings of Steve Bartholomew would be gorgeous in any home!!!…..

…as would the bronze work by Christopher Smith…..

Finally, there was a lot of “fine” jewelry, but these simple animal pieces from “The Magic Zoo” were the ones that tickled my fancy……

It was a fun weekend and I always enjoy when Michael and I can work together….we make a pretty good team!!!

So, the last videos are now edited and ready to post and it is time to turn my mind to my January 31st deadlines…..ie….the curse of the CPA!!!!!

I’ll be back soon!!

Studio Update

Now that Christmas is over, my house has been undecorated and redecorated in “Winter Blues”, using a few of my favorite “blue” things……

….including this small 12 inch quilt that I made YEARS ago…..

In the studio, I have been working on my Color Wheel quilt……

I have now appliqued most of the circles on and am ready to start putting binding on the edges of the squiggle. The first step is to baste it in place…..

Next I need to make miles of bias binding, and then decide whether I am going to apply it by machine or by hand…… I am leaning toward hand.

Now for my biggest studio news…..

In the upstairs of our house, there is a sitting room just on the other side of the bedroom that holds my studio…….

….and my husband has had the idea of knocking down the adjoining wall and adding about 75% to the size of my studio. We talked to the contractor today and he plans to start sometime toward the end of January. I am pumped!!!!

I have been searching the internet looking for new storage ideas for fabrics and threads and trying to figure out how to build a new cutting table. So many new things to think about!!!!

Now I need to get the Henna Girl and this Color Wheel quilts finished up FAST!!!

Using the best tools!!!

As I mentioned previously, my husband Michael has a side business where he writes about hunting and firearms. As part of this he is often sent firearms to review, with the latest being a rifle that was designed for long-range targets. Since he needed help at the range, I went along as his photographer, videographer and spotter.

After a few shots at various range targets he asked me if I wanted to try it. Now, I have never shot a high-powered rifle before and never really had any desire to, but he encouraged me to try this one. And, boy was I surprised…..

The design of the firearm meant that there was virtually no recoil and the scope meant that it was easy to spot the targets. My shots at 100 and 200 yards were close to perfect.

As the targets moved further out, we needed something to help with the calculations…..in this case a Handheld Ballastic Computer…..

This thing is seriously cool!!! You enter the specs of the rifle you are shooting and the ammo that you are using. Then you hold it out to check wind speed and direction. Finally, you enter the distance at which you are shooting and VOILA…..you are given the settings that you need to use on the scope to effectively reach the target.

We kept shooting and moving out 100 yards at a time. The final target was 715 yards (2/5ths of a mile) away and this was my grouping…..

Not too bad for a beginner….

…… but I do have to share my kudos with the tools that we used!!

It's my blogiversary!!!

Eleven years ago I decided to start writing and posting a blog featuring quilting, traveling and the other crazy things in my life.

When I started, I was uncertain that I would enjoy blogging, uncertain that it wouldn’t just take up more and more of my time, and uncertain that ANYone would want to read it. Well, all three of those worries were unfounded!!!

I love writing about what I am doing and I have found that the blogging process has helped to focus my quilting energies. I am always thinking about the next project and how I can blog about it. I have also enjoyed the documentation process that goes along with blogging, and have found it to be really helpful to write what I do and why.

But the biggest enjoyment of blogging has been the people that I have met along the way…..I have connected with women from many parts of the US and many foreign countries, and they all have one thing in common……they each have SO much quilting talent!!!

I have “met” people who spin with drop spindles, knit until their arms ache, learn to speak Greek just for the heck of it, cook some amazing dishes and, most importantly, keep the art of quilting alive and well in this world. I have been encouraged, complimented, educated and loved by all of you and I thank you!!!!

So, please raise your glasses…..

”To all of the wonderful blogging quilters of the world…..HERE’S TO YOU!!!!!”

Cooking up some memories

Today I did a bit of Christmas cooking for a dinner that we are hosting tomorrow night. I started with a carrot cake……

….followed by three candies….and that is where the memories flooded in.

The first was making Peanut Brittle using a recipe that my Mother-In-Law (Esther) gave to me many years ago…..

Esther was a good cook, and she LOVED for things to be easy and I really appreciated that. This candy is made in the microwave and is wonderful, although I often burn at least one of the two batches that I make. But, today I got them both just right!!!

Her other Christmas specialty were Millionaires, using caramels and pecans and covered in milk chocolate….YUMMY!!….

Esther turned 94 this week and, unfortunately, is struggling with dementia. When I spoke with her today and mentioned the Peanut Brittle, she brightened and said that she bet it would be good!!

The second memory arrived when I was making Double Divinity….one of my Mother’s favorite Christmas goodies. And this candy is not made the easy way. It has two cooked sugar solutions that are poured over beaten egg whites. She had a love/hate relationship with it as it would sometimes fail for no apparent reason, including whether or not it was humid outside!!!

My Divinity experience today was mostly successful, although I burned the second sugar/water solution, not once but…..TWICE….

…..That is NOT the right color!!! But this is the way that it is supposed to look…

I will let it sit tonight and cut it into squares tomorrow.

All in all, it was a fun afternoon cooking and remembering my Mom and Mother-In-Law, although watching “The Great British Baking Show” may have put a bit too much pressure on me!!!!

One batch of cookies in the morning and I am ready to go!!!

It's the Little Things

There have been two things that have made me happy on this Monday……

Seeing the cable that is being laid in my neighborhood to bring wired internet and TV service!!! No more DSL or U-Verse!!

Having these pins delivered to my front door. I bought them specifically to use on my design wall and they are PERFECT. The “comfort” heads make them easier to push and the size of the head makes them easier to find when I drop them!!!

As they say…..