Friday, August 7, 2020

The Boredom of the New Normal on Off the Wall Friday

 I truly want to just slap the person who coined the phrase, "The New Normal".  There is nothing normal about what the country is going through right now .  Not to mention when your days are filled with social distancing nothing "New" ever really happens.  A trip to get groceries feels like your big day out!

I blame this for the reason I broke down this week and pulled out a new project without really finishing any of the ones I have going.  This spring I saw on ebay where a widowed husband was auctioning off

the over 200 quilt kits of his late wife.  (Yes...200....!!!!)  Of course, I had  to help the gent out, saw Sue Daley's Rainy Days and bought it for myself.  Don't ask me why I fell in love with it.  Must have appealed to the little girl in me!!  Not to mention, it was a stroke of genius to put it all in this nice little suitcase that can be repurposed later!  So there that suitcase sat in my bedroom for months just tempting me to start it.  Since I was bored.....I did!!

Wow....I've said it before but doing kits really is a good idea.   It not only to helps you learn how to think like the pattern designer but it also gets you to  create in a way you wouldn't normally create in. The quilt combines beginner piecing with beginner English Paper Piecing.  Easy right????  Well,  I don't think in my 28 years of quilting have I ever used a plastic template to rotary cut around something over ....and ...over.....and....over. (I knew I bought that tiny rotary cutter for something!)  Sue also shows how to glue baste her her pieces instead of thread baste which I plan to try.  I like the planned layout but I still think there can be more to the quilt so I think I'm going to hunt down more fabric and add a bit more piecing to it.  I mean ...well... more is more...right?!  

Anyways, I spent the week trying to figure out exactly what Sue wanted me to do.  Then I spent hours cutting everything out and hopefully next week I'll have more to show!

Under this week's things I like.....

I taught myself how to order progressive glasses online and I'm all proud.  For years, I've been too scared to try and I honestly didn't think it would work.  Well, what better time to try it than during a global pandemic?!  A few hours later...and  for about $100 I have an excellent pair of new glasses.  I would say I save myself $200 but since I plan on buying a couple of pairs would be a lie.  But gosh, I always wanted to have glasses to fit my moods and now I can!!

I got them at EyeBuyDirect probably because they were the cheapest and have a great reputation.  But there are a lot of perfectly good sites out there to try.  I highly recommend you get brave and give it a try! 

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

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Friday, July 31, 2020

Feeding the Inner Artist on Off the Wall Friday

One thing I've noticed in this year of Corona, is that being in one place is not good for my inner artist.  Over the years, I've developed habits that will feed my creative soul and keep it ref
reshed.  Needless to say, being held up in small town America might be good for keeping one self safe from a global pandemic but it's creating a drought in my soul.  Don't get me wrong.  I've enjoyed spending the summer with less social obligations and more time to finish some projects that have fallen by the wayside.  But I miss museum exhibits, quilt shows, classes, critique sessions etc etc.

Since most of us are stuck at home (or should be! gasp!)  we'll have to use what is easy, free and readily accessible   ....  the internet.  If you're reading this, I'm sure that you know that internet is more than a wasteland of kitten videos and porn.  But did you know it can feed your inner artist??

Menu For
Feeding the Inner Artist

Spend time studying art....
Pick Some Favorites  ...  how can they inspire you to make a quilt?  The palette?  A Crop??  A Deconstructed Version?  Do some quick  line sketches, or quietly think of them in your mind

Salad (Get some Fresh Air)

Go for a walk in the neighborhood.  Set a timer to stop every 5 minutes....take a picture of what your eye sees.  When you get home, grab some water and edit your photos....try seeing them in grey scale....looking at the values.....try finding interesting crops.....try finding interesting grouping.

Main Course (Pick A Favorite)

Pick an idea and do a quick compositional sketch....Do another......and another....Which one tastes the best?  Try changing around the values....Do value sketches of your favorite.  Do a small mock up with fabric....not big just spend an afternoon.  You can fuse or glue or just a stitch here and there.  Now do another.  Don't think too much ....just enjoy the simplicity of creating.  Set aside the best for bigger projects.

Dessert and Tea  (Relax)

Fill your favorite mug, grab a treat and relax by reading all the books you've bought but haven't gotten past the ogling the pictures.  Don't forget to use post a notes to mark places and make notes.  Set your favorite aside in your studio to help with your next project.  Get rid of the ones that just don't make the cut.

Sooner or later this year will make for a good story. Till then please all take care of yourselves.  Nobody wants to get sick but nobody wants to die of the cure either. 

So What Have You Been Doing Creatively?

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Friday, July 24, 2020

Global Quilt Connection - Off the Wall Friday

So right now I should be at Quilting By the Lake if it wasn't for this pandemic. I would be lying  if I said I haven't spent the week pouting.  After 20 years of going, I can stop any time of the day and know exactly what I would be doing there.  I know....first world problems......that doesn't mean I have to like it.

BUT...under things I do Like..... Global Quilt Connection

Sue Bleiweiss and Lyric Kinard came up with the brilliant idea to bring together quilting teachers from around the world with guild representatives.  They are hosting on Zoom  "Meet the Teacher" webinars so that teachers can describe the  live online courses and lectures they offer .  Not only is this a great way for quilters to connect while still disconnecting, but also its a nice way to keep ideas/information flowing through out the quilting world.

The webinars are free to attend but pre-registration is required.  They will be given on  Aug 5, 2020, Sept 2, 2020 and Sept 9,2020.

If you're like me and don't belong to a worries.  The Hostesses have set up the page so that each teacher's name is linked to their webpage.  That means there is plenty of surfing  you can do and look at what teachers are doing.

(I could tell you how TWICE I tried to join our local guild and it didn't work out - but THAT is a whole other set of posts - LOL!)

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Friday, July 17, 2020

The Zen of Repetition on Off the Wall Friday

It's been hot.  I mean really HOT....well at least for the Lake Erie region it's been hot.  With that I've spent a lot of time hold up in my air conditioned bedroom doing hand work on my pinwheel's quilt.  There is something relaxing about the white noise of the conditioner  and just stitching piece after piece.  It's meditative and soothing.  Many summers I've spent the dog days of August finishing up hand quilting for our county fair.  I love the repeating of the small little stitches adding so much texture where once there was none.  Sighhhhh.....No fair this quilting this year.....but still the dog days are heading our way.  So I guess my English paper piecing project is just going to suffice.

I'm not the only one that finds repetition soothing though.  I was reading about  collagist, painter Sarah Gee Miller this week. She's such an inspiration. Reading her story, you can see how she's a lady who realizes that you need to work hard for your art, but she has also learned how to find peace in it too.  Concerning her series Eye of the Storm, she writes, "a series of hypnotic repetitions either in circular or hexagon form. There is a striving for balance between optical thrill through saturated colour and calming an agitated mindset through rhythmic and repeated bands." Her video Make A Drawing on a Machine is crazy!!  (its a record player...with Led Zeppelin on it ...she thinks.)
She says of her work...

"My work is very meditative.  It's a familiar dance, and I know all the moves.
 I'll spend eight hours painting stripes and making sure every single line is perfect
 or laying down thousand of individual dots  - and the thousandth one 
has to be as perfect as the first.  I don't really know how or why I can do it.
 I'm not really a patient person.  I guess it's pure stubbornness"

Although I'm not such a perfectionist, I can totally relate to the idea of doing something over and over for the greater good of a larger piece.  Although one stitch, one quarter inch seam, one square might not be much....added over and over and adds up to a LOT of beauty and interest and texture and well you get what I mean.  

I hope you take some time to look over Miller's work and find some inspiration in it!

Things I Like!

So I put the final decorative touches on my studio.  At the beginning of the project, I said I was NOT going to get all girly do cutesy decoration.  Well apparently, I was kidding to myself and ended up doing a few cutesy projects!!

Paper Machete Letters filled with rice and mod podge covered with decorative scrap paper (cost about $7 & 3 hrs)

Chip Board letters spelling out a reminder that I'm am there to get things done (cost $10 and 30 min)

Contact paper to cover the grey bins that I decided where to industrial (cost $14 and 4 hrs) 

Andddddddd my daughter pulled out her camera and came up with some shots that are suppose to remind me of why I love summer!!!

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Friday, July 10, 2020

Off the Wall Friday

Taking a couple of days off...

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Friday, July 3, 2020

Flossie Teacakes' Guide to English Paper Piecing on Off the Wall Friday

Summer time has finally hit the banks of Lake Erie.  With that, we are having a mini heatwave, where it's more fun to stay inside and stitch than go outside in a mask.  And really where would they let us go anyways???  So, I've been spending time in my air conditioned bedroom suite working on my English Paper Pieced  Pinwheels quilt and listening to audio books.  There is something really soothing about making a one patch quilt into something interesting and beautiful.  But still....I thought maybe you could EPP something more complicated.

And with that thought....down the rabbit hole I fell.  Of course, I wasn't the only person that had the idea of taking EPPing farther  There are more than one ridiculously patterns out there based on I believe tile work.  That might be fine for some, but if I was going to  spend hours and hours and hours following someone else's pattern to do a by-hand project....I would still be cross-stitching!!

That's when I stumbled on Florence Knapp's amazing Flossie Teacakes' Guide to English Paper Piecing.  Thanks to Amazon, I had the book in a day and what a book it is!!  Just when you think you've read every variation on quilting, a great new book comes along.  This is not your average How-To book....ohhhhh noooo.  Knapp manages to put not only the history of EPP, but the psychological and social  influences of the technique.  THEN, she finishes the book off in a very thorough instruction on the technique (complete with excellent photos).

Knapp included two of her own patterns highlighting how to combine fussy cutting with EPP to get a very cool Kaleidoscope...Moroccan tile  kind of look.  Her work is breath taking and it's the kind of thing where you did she do that?  Well she shows you!!

What I like about the whole thing is that you can really combine the zen of piecing  which is quiet, repetitive and soothing with the creative flair that will keep your imagination going through out the process.  Just amazing.

The book itself is nicely published.  There are a ton of wonderful photos and its laid out nicely.  The
only thing I would have liked is a bigger font for these  aging eyes.  sighhhh  But the book is so pretty and feels so pretty that you just want to flip though and pet the pages....I know you know what I mean!!

Honestly, I would say this book is a must for any serious EPPer.  I mean even if you didn't want to do all the fussy cutting, it still will give you an idea of how far this simple technique can be taken up to new heights.

But yeah....I promised myself to finish the pinwheels BEFORE starting another quilt!!

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Friday, June 26, 2020

W.I.P. - Off the Wall Friday

Well, anybody who has been paying attention will realize my personal work has stalled a bit the last
couple of years.  I normally would whine and apologized and be racked with some good ole fashion guilty but ya know what???  I've decided to be kind to myself.  In the old days, it wasn't unusual to hear about middle age women having "nervous breakdowns" or empty nest syndrome or their husbands leaving them for a younger woman.  At 54, none of that has happened to me.  I've just had a bit of a creative pause.  Even with that, I still feel creative but I just haven't done anything about it.   I think in 30 yrs of being a quilter, it's okay to take a pause.

But with my studio just begging to be used, it was easy to jump back.  I decided though to finish up the two biggest projects I have going...

2016  Block of the Month Quilt and my Hell Freezes Over Pinwheel Quilt.  So this week I worked on both.  That pinwheels is still giving me fits on what layout it will be but I do know that I need more dark-dark for the layout I thought I wanted.  Now that I look at it......I don't know......I really need to make visual decisions visually and get them up on the board.  It just take FOREVER to lay them out that way....not to mention looking up and down and up  and down makes me sea sick (pathetic inner ear - lol).  But its a great project to listen to a book and work by hand in the air conditioning.

My studio (without air) had me doing the next month on the block of the month quilt.  It's getting bigger and bigger!!

With that, work this week, reminded everyone that we haven't been taking time off enough since most vacations where I'm taking their advice and taking a few long weekends and try to get some of this stuff done.  While doing that I'll keep my eye on my next big project....

So What Have Been Working Creatively?

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