Inspiration Tuesday

It’s Tuesday, so there must be some…..

Long before the Corona invasion, there was a guild retreat planned for the first week in May. As with everything else right now, it has been canceled.

However, while there, I was planning to work on something totally mindless…something scrap…..something with nothing but sewing and ironing!!! I was thinking either charity quilts or Quilt’s of Valor.

The last two QoV’s that I made were NOT well planned. I started out with an idea and eventually turned them into tops, although it was NOT an easy task……

And, I even failed to even take a photo of the right one with full borders on it!!!

My plan is to make one and maybe two tops in the next month or so and wanted a definite pattern to work with. Time was spent searching internet images and ideas for QOV’s, coming up with a total of 21 ideas!!!

I picked out my favorites and planned 4 of them in EQ…..

I will probably start with the first two as they are a bit less complicated but I would love to do the second set as well.

Now to get started!!!

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The Not-Negative Post

Yes……the double negative was on purpose!!

Four days ago, on April 15th, I was in a funk. It was the original tax deadline day and I was NO WHERE near finished. I was feeling like there was a big rock sitting on my chest that simply wouldn’t budge.

I sat at my computer and wrote a VERY negative post…..and then deleted it the next day!!!!

But since then, the rock has slowly, ever slowly, started to budge. I am finally getting tax returns finished, Financial Statements issued and 3 clients have received the Small Business Administration Loans that will help their businesses to survive!!

My mood was also lifted by receiving this sweet note in the mail…..

….made by one of the wonderful university students from our Church.

Then there is this gorgeous lily blooming in the back yard…..

…..these two deer crossing the road on our walk (followed by yet another one)……

And, finally, finding the PERFECT Zoom meeting background screen……

What else could I want!!!!!

And, before I know it, it will be……

Bordering on Insanity….

Recently I have been looking thru my computer and finding photos of quilts from my past. I thought that I would share one or two along the way.

Border challenges were all the rage in 1996. The quilt design process included one person designing a center block, passing it on to the next person who would add a border, then on to the next to add another border, until the top reached the desired size.

It was then that our guild decided to have a border challenge. But, in this case, we would design and make the entire quilt ourselves while following certain defined parameters…..

The details have escaped my memory, but I do remember that each round had to be a specified size and most rounds had a designated type of block that needed to be included.

The final product was thrilling to me…..

Border Challenge Quilt

My favorite memory of this quilt was sitting in the back yard with Michael while I tried to draft each surrounding border. There I sat with pencil and paper….and eraser, dreaming of the future of computer aided design programs.

I chopped and changed and re-drafted each border, meaning that the next border had to be changed as well. As I fumed and erased the paper for the umpteenth time, Michael commented that he thought quilting was supposed to be fun. I looked at him and snapped….”I AM having fun…..leave me alone”!!!!

If I remember correctly, it was the first time that I pieced a background…..

Pieced Background

….although the backgrounds that I piece now are much more convoluted.

I made the label using leftover bits that and I gave it an appropriate title…..

Quilt Label Craziness

………………..”Bordering on Insanity”!!

…..and I certainly was that!!!!

Inspiration Tuesday

I just got off of a Zoom meeting with some friends from our quilt guild. It was planned at the last minute so a lot of members didn’t hear about it in time to join, but it was sure fun to see faces ….

and hear what these amazing people have been doing. Several of these are serving our country by making hundreds of masks. THANK YOU!!!

Now, on to the……

Last week my friend Chandler sent an email that included a link to this photo…..

She said that, when she saw it, she was reminded of some of the “travel” quilts that I have made. I quickly responded and sent my own picture……


This scene had gained my attention on a documentary that we were watching on TV and I took the photo to help me remember the inspiration.

I love the stair-step designs in both pictures but really like the idea of adding the splashes of color from the women’s sari’s.

As I looked more at these photos, I decided to learn about the structures themselves. I found that they are called “Stepwells”. Apparently they originated in India and are designed so that people can walk down to the pool of water rather than having a “normal” well where the water has to be brought up in a bucket from below ground level.

So, I learned something AND have been inspired…..I would call that a day well spent!!!

Easter and Ironing

First of all, I hope that everyone had a marvelous Easter Sunday. We started off with a neighborhood walk complete with reminders that He is Risen…..

….followed by a quick gathering of some of our church family…..

It was so good see faces and hear voices!!!

The rest of the day was spent doing a bit of play and a bit of work….all in all, a MARVELOUS day!!!

Elle asked if I had any idea how the ironing surface had been made so I thought I would show a few photos…..

This is the underside of the board…..

It appears to be made of plywood (15/32), and is cut to 21″ by 60″.

There are two wood strips added to each edge and then the slanted strips that follow the contour of the ironing board base…..

It is covered by a VERY heavy felt and then topped with an ironing board fabric. The only thing that I added was an elastic band around it to help it fit tighter.

Even though it wasn’t designed for my particular board, it fits perfectly……

….and is SO sturdy. I think that it helps that the original ironing board is a workhorse!! It belonged to my Grandma and I love thinking of her when I use it!!!

On other thing that I have done for years is to plug my iron into a power strip rather than into the wall. That way, I just tap the switch with my foot to turn it on and I am ready to go. Another quick tap when I am finished and everything is off and safe.

On the fabric organization side, I am slowly working thru the blue fabrics but am finding that I have a bunch that are too small for my folding method. I am now trying to figure out exactly how to store those smaller pieces. Many people say to cut them down into strips and squares but I feel that I already have too many of those so hate to add more to it!!

I am also realizing as I fold that I am truly ready to get to work on a project. It has been over 3 months since I could walk into my studio and sit down at my machine!!!! But eventually everything will return to normal…..in the world AND in my studio!!!

TTFN…..Ta-ta for now!!!

Folding FUN!!

I have had a couple of people ask for a demonstration of exactly how I am folding the fabric.

The technique that I use is NOT my own creation. I saw this idea many years ago on some Youtube video and I have used it successfully on a portion of my fabrics during the last 10 years.

The first step is to figure out how big you want your folded fabrics to be. In my case, the shelves were 13 inches wide, 15+ inches deep and 13 inches high

I knew that I wanted two rows of fabrics in each cube so that meant that they could be a maximum of 6.5 inches each. After lots of trial and error, I decided on a 6 inch fabric width.

Since most fabric is approximately 44 inches wide, that makes it 22 inches wide when folded in half (selvedges matching). If I fold it in half again, it is 11 inches “deep” which would fit perfectly in my 15 inch shelves.

And so it begins………

Not all of the fabric pieces are as easy as the ones that I demonstrated. It has been interesting to try to make every piece fit in some way, but I have honestly been able to fold more of them than I thought I would.

Today I found a few minutes to finish one of the blue boxes….only 3 more to go…..

Stay safe and sane!!!!

The Palin source…..

Michael and I LOVE Michael Palin. We have spent many hours watching all of his travel shows, often dreaming about visiting some of the places that he has been. As a matter of fact, he is the reason that we trekked in the Himalayas back in 2015.

Many years ago, I stopped his show about the Sahara Desert to take a picture of a camel that appeared on the screen…..

At the time, I was playing with thread painting and used this photo to make a quilt…..

Note that it is the same “wide screen” display as the TV.

This past week, we decided to re-watch the Himalaya DVD and I was drawn to this gentleman in Tibet……

Doesn’t he have a wonderfully expressive face??

I am thinking that this might be a fun portrait to tackle next…..what do you think???

Folding, folding….always folding!!

This weekend I needed a break from taxes, loans and other accounting projects so decided to spend as much time as I could in my studio…..folding fabrics!!

I had originally planned to take a break from folding, but once I got started, I began to enjoy it again!!

At the end of the weekend, I had finished with the pinks and purples……

There were several pieces that puzzled me. When I held them up with the oranges, they looked pink, but when I put them with pinks, they looked orange. What is a girl to do???

There are a few that I pulled from the purple box that made me wonder if I was struggling with being color blind…..what was I thinking when I filed them previously!!

I also made a decision that the bottom shelves would house those fabrics that sort of fit into the groups that are above them but maybe contain lots of other colors too……

Blues are next……

…..but since there are FOUR boxes, I am thinking that I will be in this color family for quite a while!!!

It was good for me to take a break this weekend and now I am actually looking forward to hitting my desk again tomorrow.

I hope that your weekend provided a bit of diversion too!!

It’s a new world

As I have come to the end of this week it has been interesting to look back and contemplate the ways that the world has changed.

On Monday morning, we had to close on our home loan refinance, normally done in an office with all parties sitting around a conference table. In this instance, the closing attorney drove to our home, discretely handed us a packet containing 132 pages and then climbed back in his car. He then called us from the car and walked us thru the process of understanding and signing the myriad of documents. AMAZING!!

Then, Michael was contacted by our GP about his second Shingles vaccination. If he didn’t do it soon, he would have to start the series over again and he REALLY didn’t want to do that. He explained to the receptionist that he was in the “immune-deficient” category and that he was concerned about coming into the office. The receptionist replied that, if he would drive to the office and call in, they would send the nurse out to give the injection while he sat in his truck…..EQUALLY AMAZING!!!

Later in the day, he drove to the local package store to buy some wine and was serviced while sitting in his vehicle…..drive thru style.

Since we have had to start walking instead of using the equipment at the gym, Michael realized that he needed new running shoes. He went online shopping at one of our local stores, found the same shoes that he currently has and we are going to do curb-side pickup today to get them. We also bought a new grill online and it will be delivered (for free) this upcoming week.

It is amazing to see how people are managing to make their lives work even when the world has been turned completely upside down.

My work week has also been turned over. I would normally be focusing entirely on personal tax returns, but several of my clients have had to close operations and are worrying about their employees who aren’t getting paid and how they are going to survive. Fortunately, the US Government has presented a large relief package that allows for small business to obtain Small Business Administration (SBA) loans where the principal will be forgiven if the money is used for certain expenses. The only problem is that there is a limited amount of money available for these loans so everybody is scrambling to apply for them.

When this was announced last Friday, it seemed that many in the finance business (banks in particular) already had the details and were going into action. I started to panic a bit that I couldn’t find any information this past weekend. On Monday, I listened to my first webinar on the subject and quickly realized that NO ONE knew what they were doing and that the final regulations had not even been released yet. Since Monday, I have participated in 4 webinars and listened in on two conference calls (total of 9.5 hours) trying to understand how these new rules were going to effect my clients, both business and personal.

On Friday, about 6:00pm, the first bank started accepting applications. We had been told that it would be happening earlier so I had kept my web browser open to the site and kept refreshing the page every few minutes. Michael reminded me of the scene from “Big Bang Theory” where the guys are trying to buy Com-icon tickets….

It has been encouraging to see so many quilter’s putting their sewing skills into making masks, scrub caps and headbands as a way to support our struggling medical professionals. Again….I am amazed at the resilience of life!!

It has also been heartening to see kids playing outside, people taking walks with their families and SO many dogs being walked. And, based on the number of people that I see working in their yards, I am honestly expecting this Spring and Summer to be a confluence of flowers!!

I have been thankful for the Daffodils and Tulips that encourage me that this season is temporary and that there are better things to come!!

STAY SAFE……AND SANE!!!!!

Spring Cleaning

Or maybe it is COVID cleaning!!! This weekend I knew that I needed to spend some time getting the house cleaned up and some spring decorations out…..I have had enough for blue for now!!!

The first stop was the second floor!! I hadn’t done a good clean since the studio remodel and everything was still covered in a fine layer of dust. My first priority was my studio….naturally!!!

After dusting and sweeping everything in sight, I wanted to get some projects on the design walls to inspire me to keep creating. Then I moved all of the unsorted fabric boxes out of the bathroom and into my room……

I have worked thru 6 boxes and have 17 more to go. Yikes…..I may be folding fabric for the rest of my life!!!

I put quilts on the wall to add a bit more inspiration……

Here is the entire room in one photo……

And the best thing is that the bathroom is empty again……

I finally got the new hall (that leads to a bedroom and bathroom) decorated…..

….and I especially like the view as I am walking down the hall to my studio…..

Finally, to add a bit of color to the stairs, I decided to hang one of the quilts that my Mom made……

This quilt has a great story. She started it back when my Dad was away serving in WWII and remembered that it was the first time she had ever purchased fabric to make a quilt. She pieced the top but never got around to quilting it. Over the years her interest in quilting waned and it sat, unfinished, in a small cardboard box!! In the early 1970’s her interest in quilting returned and she offered to finish the quilt for my “hope chest”. Unfortunately, the white fabrics had yellowed badly so she carefully un-pieced it and re-pieced it with new white fabric. She added her gorgeous hand quilting to finish it…..

Anyway, on Monday it was back to work as usual, but at least with a cleaned house and lots of colorful, Spring decorations…..