Friday, April 29, 2016

Wednesday Night Strippers Quilt Guild

Friendship and conversation
are what it's all about!
I love the name of our local guild:  The Wednesday Night Stripper Quilt Guild.  When we are out selling raffle tickets, we always get a second glance and usually a comment or two about what we "really do"  on Wednesday Nights  It makes for a great conversation starter and some good old belly laughs.

Our monthly meeting was held this past Wednesday, and I want to share photos from our "Show and Tell".  We have a wide range of quilt styles within our group, but the same passion for textile and a desire to give back to our community.

If you have ever considered joining a guild, do!  Find one close to you and plug in.  I always come away inspired  and with a deeper love for my passion of quilting.  It also gives you a ready made set of friends who will help you figure out a pattern when you are stuck. Life is more interesting when you are part of a community.

Cathy Bush made this beautiful Trade Winds quilt.  Don't you want to cuddle up under this for movie night?
Sally made this woven rug from fabric strips.  How cool is that?  Another good way to use up left over strips.  I think I may have to try this because the current rug in my laundry room needs to be retired!

Sally also made this colorful baby quilt.

And busy beaver that Sally was over the winter, she had sent this off to be quilted and was seeing it for the first time since being quilted by our resident long armer, Cathy Bush.  I regret not getting a close up of the quilting.  The pattern was a raindrop with a spiral in the center.  Beautiful work by both Sally and Cathy.

Bev completed this delightful baby quilt.  Some little boy is going to be very lucky to receive this!

Earleen brought in a completed UFO - her "Fractured Quilt" looks so cool, giving it sort of a Monet painting effect.

Betty also completed a UFO and brought in her paper pieced table runner.  We began a challenge this year to complete our UFO's.  Anyone wanting to participate puts a $1 in the jar and then anytime you bring in a completed UFO project your name gets added to the drawing for prizes at the end of the year.

Gail's completed UFO.  This wall hanging was also paper pieced.  Don't you just love the vibrant colors?

There were a few more Show and Tells, but I was unable to get a good picture of them.  Next time!  Thank you ladies for sharing.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bay View Calico Quilt Shop

Like any fabricholic, I love quilt shops.  But as the saying goes, "Wherever I roam, there's no place like home."  My hometown quilt shop is still my favorite.  It is the place I go to chat with friends, pet fabric, figure out a conundrum with my latest project, and of course buy a yard or two from the new fabric line that has just arrived!  We all need a place like this, and I recognize that I am blessed to have a quilt shop just 7 minutes from my front door.  I wish everyone could be so blessed! Come take a little stroll with me...

Even though the building is made up of two large rooms, I love how shop owner, Evelyn Griffore, has made cozy nooks, each with it's own color way or fabric type.  

Batiks, and Patterns, and Batting, Oh My!!!

Do you like embroidery or redwork?  She has a nice variety available.

The children's section is always cheery and invites you to dream of babies and toddlers snugged up in a quilt of your making.

I am amazed at the changing display on her walls.  No matter how often I go to the shop, there is always something new.

Shop owner, Evelyn Griffore

Another little nook inviting you to spend awhile.

If you ever find yourself making your way up the east side of Michigan and happen to find yourself driving through a little town called Au Gres.  Take some time to stop and dream at Bay View Calico.  You will find her shop right on US 23, about 2 miles north of Au Gres.  She is located just before the VFW hall.  Hope to meet you there someday!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Name is Mahtob

In my early teens I remember overhearing my mom and aunt periodically talking about the story portrayed in the movie, "Not Without My Daughter".    My aunt lived in the Middle East at the time.   I had forgotten this memory until I found the book "My Name is Mahtob: The Story that Began the Global Phenomenon Not Without My Daughter Continues".  I was curious to see what Mahtob remembered and how she dealt with the trauma in her childhood.

The book is written in an easy to read style.  I felt like I was sitting over a cup of tea and listening to a friend share the story of her life.  My heart hurt, cried, and cheered with Mahtob as she shared the painful memories of childhood and the victorious emotional healing she has experienced.  I was impressed with Mahtob's mother and her unwillingness to speak ill of Mahtob's father.  Her mother was careful to instill in Mahtob a love for her Persian heritage and made sure Mahtob understood that she was free to contact her father if she so choose to.   Domestic violence is an awful epidemic that seems to be prevalent in today's world.  It was encouraging to read how someone has risen above the destruction of domestic violence and emerged an emotionally healthy and vibrant woman.  I highly recommend you pick this book up the next time you are looking for something to read.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Beginner's Class

On Saturday I taught the first of 3 sessions for a beginner's class.  We are making Little Charmer Quilt from Cut Loose Press, designed by Joan Ford.  I had five quilters ranging from age 10 to 50+.  This is only the 3rd class I've ever taught and so I am still learning.  There is nothing more enjoyable, I've decided, than helping other people find their inner love of quilting.

Pat brought Mikayla and stayed to be her right hand woman!  Mikayla has a great eye for color and I love the purple she chose for her 4 patch blocks.

Patty pairing up fabrics and matching those seams so that her points come out perfect!

Sue and Colleen (mother and daugher-in laws) enjoyed chatting while chain piecing.

Rachel, my niece, learning to use the rotary cutter.

Everyone completed all 42 of their 4 patch squares.  They went home with homework - square up those babies!  Next month we will meet back together to start strip piecing the sashing and then begin assembling the blocks into a lovely lap quilt.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Project in Progress

The days are flying by and I wish I could reach out and catch them by the tail to slow them down.  The end of the school year always gets crazy busy. This week I made it a priority to sit down at my machine and sew a seam or two each evening. 

I have been having fun making these blocks, using the stitch and flip method.  I used the triangles as my leaders and enders and now have a stack of 119 half square triangles for a future miniature project of some sort, I'm thinking some mug rugs or place mats may be in their future.

A little pile of confetti!  Loving the colors!

119 half square triangles!
Ironed and ready to have their ears clipped

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Blogs: Where I Find Inspiration

There is something about seeing what other quilters are up to, that boosts my creativity.  Rarely do I want to duplicate something exactly as I have seen it, but I am very visual and seeing another's creativity inspires my own.  I may take a technique, color combination, or traditional block and use that to create my own wall hanging or quilt.  I have compiled my top 5 favorite blogs and will list them here for you to check out and enjoy.

1.  Quiltville - Bonnie Hunter  This has become my favorite blog.  Her blog is full of quilts made by her and the students she teaches around the world.  I enjoy "traveling" with her and hearing about the towns and countries she visits.

2. Life as a Quilter  I grew up in a Mennonite church and so this blog seems like home to me.  I enjoy reading about her life and her love for family comes shining through.  She makes beautiful art quilts.

3. Persimon Dreams  I found this blog about 2 years ago when I was looking for a challenge.  Each year Kim Lapacek issues challenges to cultivate creativity.  I was unable to join her challenge for this year due to time constraints, however I have it on my calendar to join again next year!!

These last two I have just begun to follow in the last year.

4.  A Quilting Life  I am on a rampage to control and use my scraps instead of storing them or tossing those beautiful little bits of color.  Sherri's "Quilt Your Stash" challenge for 2016 is what drew me to her blog.  Her tutorials are easy to read with lots of pictures to help those of us who need visuals!

5. Kevin the Quilter  I love his quirky sense of style.  He doesn't post weekly, but following him by e-mail means that once every week or two I get a fun surprise in my inbox.  Always a fun read.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Creativity Slumps

One thing I have come to realize....creativity can be squelched if we don't cultivate it.  Our minds become dull, beige, and sluggish.  Every so often that happens to me, and I wonder why life just seems so beige.  At those times, when I stop to think about it, I realize that I have been so busy with life and haven't taken any time to create anything new or even sew a short seam.

What's a girl to do?  Several years ago I ran across Flylady and faithfully followed her blog to get my house and daily routine into tiptop shape.  I don't necessarily follow her routines any longer, but one thing I have taken away from that time is, "You can do anything for 15 minutes".

Often I find that I haven't been creative because I am  busy and, let's be real, creativity takes effort to get started.  Sometimes after a long day in the office, I don't want to make any more effort!  It's easier to sit in a chair with a cup of hot tea and Pinterest all evening long.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love me some Pinterest!  But I've also recognized the danger of Pinterest.  It makes me feel like I'm being creative, but in reality I've wasted precious minutes in which I could have actually stirred my creative juices by playing with fabric or other crafty items around my house.

What I find when I tell myself that I WILL sew or create something for 15 minutes, by the end of those 15 minutes my creative juices are flowing and if I don't have any other pressing needs, I end up sewing for an hour or more.  Try it sometime.  Getting started is often the hardest part.  It's amazing what excuses we humans can come up with to procrastinate doing something even if it is worthwhile!

Last night was one of those nights.  For the past two nights, actually, I sat in my lazy boy.  Last night I kicked myself into gear and said, "15 minutes.  You really want to finish the Smith Mountain Morning quilt and not let it become a UFO, right?"  So, I sat down for 15 minutes and guess what?!?  1 1/2 hours later I had the last 5 star blocks sewn together and the hour glass centers for the log cabinish quilt blocks finished!  Whoot Whoot!  I went to bed excited about the quilt and feeling like I had accomplished something rather than sit and veg all night.

Try it....just 15 minutes, or 10, or 5....whatever time works for you....I bet you won't be able to stop either!
The last start block needed!

Ironing my hour glass centers

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Finding Inspiration

 I don't know if you are like me, but I see things all around me that get my creative juices flowing.  Today I am posting pictures of things that caught my attention on our trip to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas.  

There is something about hand painted tiles that just beg to be created in fabric using hand or machine applique.  Next winter's hand sewing project maybe?  I'm thinking it might be fun to simplify some of the designs for machine quilting.
Notice the pretty tile behind the fruit sculpture.

 We went to The Atlantis Water Park while on Nassau.  The aquarium held many beautiful creatures.  I loved the vast array of color combinations in the fish, starfish, and underwater foliage.

This water slide was 93 feet in length, pretty much straight down.  I was to chicken to try this slide, however,  my boys went down it several times!  I was content to stand at the bottom and enjoy the architectural design.

I loved the towel creations that
appeared in our cabin each night.

I also enjoyed watching the
ice carving.

Even here at home, with snow blowing around my ears, I am finding things to inspire my creativity.  I was longing to plant something, and with no warm dirt in my near future, I decided to propagate some of my house plants.  Don't they look pretty all lined up on my kitchen windowsill?  The robin hoping around in the one bare grassy patch sheltered by our house reminds me that spring is around the corner somewhere.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Color in Abundance

 Where to begin?  A cruise to the Bahamas!  I adored all the color I saw. Michigan is so bland right now.  The snow is gone and the brown earth is waiting for some warmth so that green growing things can spring forth. I know from experience that it will come - It always does.

We drove into Ohio before I started noticing the very pale green misting over the trees.  Then my breath caught as I saw white and pink blossoms!  What a sight for winter weary eyes.

 When I began my quilting venture 20 years ago, I was so hesitant about choosing color for my quilts.  I would always get kits and make them exactly like the pattern dictated.  

After a few years, I became bored and wanted my quilts to look different from everyone else.  But  I was certain I wasn't any good at picking out colors.  I hesitantly chose a fabric that I liked, and would then ask the quilt shop owner to help me choose other fabrics to match.  It is wise to ask other people's opinion on color choices because sometimes people will see something we don't, but please don't allow other's opinions dictate your color choices.  Choice of color is just that, a choice.  Everyone has a different preference when choosing color.  I have since become more confident in choosing color and I have learned by paying close attention to color all around me. Nature is the best teacher when it comes to color combinations, hues, and contrast.  

Notice the white blossoms.  If I were to take this picture on a gray day, the blossoms would just fade into the sky instead of standing out in contrast.

Likewise, the contrast of the blue ocean with the white/tan ship's railing make the photo more interesting than just a picture of blue water.

I find blue so calming.  This week I was surrounded by blue!  Blue water, blue deck chairs, the farmer's blue shirt!  I was fascinated by the way the hue of the water changed.  Always blue, but never the same shade at any given time.  I will leave off this post with a few more pictures of color from the islands.  Our ports of call were Nassau and Freeport.

My men, being good sports and getting their picture taken.

Notice the green and brown makes the pink pop!

Reminded me of a scrappy quilt

One of the many beautiful creations on our buffet.

Something about this house just captured my imagination.