Friday, December 2, 2016

Working on this year's Christmas quilt...

I could use your help... got opinions? Share them with me!
My quilt book study group chose a book of unusual log cabins, the title of which I have blocked as I didn't buy it. I wasn't going to join in until I saw one of the friends making an uneven log cabin with a special ruler...
That one, the 6" curvy log cabin Trim Tool. Another costly ruler to buy?? I'm in!
My plan was to make one of those swirly ones on the pattern to the right but in reds and greens.

Then I made one block. By "making one block" I mean sew, rip, scratch head, call friend for explanation, rinse and repeat. Several times. Nearly bite the ruler in frustration.
Consider throwing it away, except I'm, too cheap. And doggone if I'm gonna let some ole pattern get the best of me!

So, I looked at google images for curvy log cabin ideas and saw the two on the left. Now I can't find them to attribute but they are drunkard path quilts anyway.  (I was just told the  designer is found here springleafstudios)
 If I did the bottom one I needed 16 blocks, the swirly one needed 32. Winner winner chicken dinner!
I eventually kind of understood the ruler.
The whole experience reminded me why I make improv style quilts, and my own patterns.

Still, learning is good. Slowly it built up over two days.

Here it is in progress.  Measure, sew, press, trim, sit and sew, stand and press, trim, sit... you get it.

As Lynn said, Quilting can be aerobic exercise!

So look at the top picture now, it's done with a red and white dot around the outside.
I'm a bit stuck on borders as usual.

This is where a lot of my projects find their way into UFO-ville.
By the way the whole caboodle came right out of little scraps, 2" wide and less. I love the mix of tone you get even in white/cream/tan/gold.

So now I will show you some border possibilities.
Keep in mind this was to be quick and fun for this year not my magnum opus.
Also keep in mind I plan round quilting motifs with hand embroidery in the center with golden thread. Or tiny yo-yo's.
#2  a really fresh poinsettia print on white ground, with a sweet green inside border which makes it dimensional. Like a frame.
#3 green border with hearts, different from the inner border on #1
#4   hearts on green, with the poinsettia fabric

I kind of like the first view, just the dots. Kind of mod.
I am trying to use one of the numerous Christmas fabrics I have on hand.

I am trying not to talk myself into some kind of elaborate pieced/appliqued border that requires sketching out and long hours of work.

I want it to stay graphic, but kind of like the sweetness of the poinsettia fabric.

The thing is, I tried something new. I used it in an unusual way. Uneven log cabin blocks are a lot like drunkard paths. There's just no limit to the fun of quilt making!
Can't wait to get busy with quilting and embroidery.
And beads.

Oh, and funny enough, I can't close the scrap bins after using up ALL That FABRIC! 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

"I like" Thursdays #12

It's Thursday?? Must be time for I Like lists
Which way do we go???
We'll just start the list, shall we??
1.I like these soaps from Bath and Bodyworks

I just love the scent of Winter candy apple, and Twisted Peppermint.
 My new favorite scent is Winter Citrus Wreath.
We only purchased 8 (on sale)...this time... but we'll return to buy enough to hoard for months to come.( DH who likes to stock up and avoid stores asked if we should just buy a case now)

And Lookie at the new soap holder, covered in pearls, REAL I'm sure! We got the last one in our store.
I mean who doesn't look good covered in pearls??

Speaking of pearls and beads...
Must be blurry because I was trembling with excitement lol!

2. I like beads. I like a sale. I ordered some from Fire Mountain Gems along with my friend Cindy... when we combined our order, we had enough items to get a discount! I got them like a present with a bag, pen and catalogue. I see bracelets in my future heh heh (note those patterns in the picture)

3. I like walking around Washington DC with my mate...
(I'm not so good with selfies and holding my point and shoot camera... )
who goes into art galleries, museums, and gift shops with me. Patiently.
which brings me to
4. I like gift shops in museums
I mean where else can you find this?? (If you want it, you can order one from the National Gallery of Art)
and why oh why didn't I buy this??
I don't know (shaking head)

5. I like, no, I LOVE   Wedgewood, and Boadicea.
Two Guinea pigs easy to love.  When you visit the site, be sure to look for some videos to see these two playing with toys on the living room floor.
Their personal secretary has a recent post of outtakes from Christmas pics this year on this post.
(Their personal secretary also dances and quilts. I too also dance and quilt. Just missing the pigs)

 Don't those pigs want to come see Aunt Leela for Christmas?? Can't you see them on the bus? Little name tags pinned to their sweaters clutching a bag lunch?

 Go see!:

6. Flamingo anythings like this stocking at

 sent to me by my friend Linda... gotta make this

 7. I like trees. (I know, you know but still...)
 Looks like another bare tree right?
Hint, it's in the sculpture garden (see National Archives behind it? ) at dusk. Shiny!
Yep. Shiny METAL tree. AWESOME! Thank you to some artist right? Beautiful things to see in our nation's beautiful capitol. I am trying to focus on beauty and on artwork.
On artwork and on the country valuing art work so that citizens can see it.
I value art and freedom of speech. America is founded on that, truth, and respect for difference of beliefs. Speaking of that....
look at these two books for sale at the Nat. Gallery of Art... (I purchased one on writer's prompts)
Make the world a little kinder....It's possible

That's my list for the week  and I'd love to see yours.
What did you like this week? 
More I Like posts full of fun  click here, under the label "I Like"
Let me know if you write an "I Like" post and I'll link to it
check out these fine folks sharing their lists too!
1.From the Magpie's Nest
3.paulabquilts post SoHappy It's thursday
5. pinkadotquilts
6. imworkingonaproject

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving Travels and Theodore's brother

available at Nat. Gallery of Art or see it HERE  by Danielle Krysa
On Thanksgiving our wee family of two decided to visit a couple of museums in Washington.
We are relatively close and they are open for our enjoyment 364 days a year. Thank you for culture!!

I loved the cover of this book! My inner critic is loud and obnoxious. And a blowhard! And doesn't stick to the facts!  It says rude things that are just not true and will interrupt my art journey if I give it the time of day.
Sometimes one needs to show this sort the door so they leave.
Back to our afternoon spent together and looking at art. It's so enlightening to look at things differently. We started after lunch, found a terrific parking place right here!
We went into one of my favorite places (National Art) to see this exhibit.

Drawings for Paintings.
No photography allowed, so no pictures of this exhibit,  I'm sorry to say. Lots of pictures tho!

It was interesting for me, since I like to draw but my critic is mean about them.
I like to paint too.

I make fabric art more often, and have made it from my own drawings at times.
Loosely designed from drawings.

Mostly I draw, then wonder how it would look when painted, then wonder how it would look when quilted.
If I enjoyed needlepoint or pottery I'd wonder how it would look in those mediums. (media?)
I loved seeing sketches by famous artists, and the paintings next to them.

Like me, they felt free to change the drawings when painting. The smallest gesture change made the entire tone of the painting change. Small changes can change things including art.

The drawings were often elementary, dot for nose, scribbles, overlapping sets of hands. Like mine!

Let's consider one painter generally accepted as one of the greats. V. Van Gogh
Hello my talented friend!

Very exciting for an artist to see actual paintings in person that we grew up seeing in print.

A person like me wants to get close, to see brush strokes, how paint is mixed to create line and shadow.

About this one. I noticed the green in his face, the mixing of blue and yellow, reddish brown and white.
The intense brush strokes creating lines I might create with quilting.

Look at the background. Bold strokes. Note the shadows. The intensity of eyes. The crooked nose, shown as it looked to him. A nose someone more ego driven might have straightened in painting. The changing of facts might make a person feel better but honesty is better really. I love the brush strokes on his face too.
I wish I could have seen him at work, making choices, mixing color.

I've had students ask if they could come to my studio to watch me work. My inner critic responded no! Why would you?

They must have admired my work and wanted to learn how I approached choice making. My inner critic is obnoxious. It stopped  communication and we all missed out.

Van Gogh made this painting only a year or so later...
I suspect he was tormented by inner critics. He was tormented with strong feelings for sure. I wonder if he chose nature for his paintings so that he could feel calmer. Again I looked at brush strokes. Each painter handles a brush differently, some blend more than others. This is done with thickened paint really showing the determined strokes of a brush loaded with paint and left very dimensional lines
Bold. Paint tells the story.
 Anger? Determination? Self expression certainly.

Changes of direction leading the eye to go horizontally, then vertically. Color mixed on the brush for shadows. It seems like he allowed for what we might think of as improv. Quick decisions.

This kind of work would require freedom, not returning time and again to "undo" or "redo"

Not attempting perfection.
Laughing at perfection!
Capturing a moment, a light, the wind, earth.

How did he deal with his inner critic? He was tormented for sure. He felt strongly no doubt. I would have wanted to watch him work too.

 Enthused after seeing so much stimulating art, I used the medium at my disposal, my camera.
I interpreted the moment with this spousie. Using reflection, interrupted line, late afternoon lighting, changing angles I tried to capture a moment.
The fountains and trees are vertical. the mirrored sculpture has lines of metal, inside we are vertical. Inside is also another mirrored sculpture reflection. As are the other people. As is the same sky reflected from the mirrors.
Line on line, intersecting. Muted palette. many subjects within other subjects it reminds me of Escher a bit.

I love the image and while I made the decision to content, angle, subject I made the decisions quickly. I decided what to include, what to exclude, where to stand, when to take the picture. And did it quickly to outrun the critic.

The inner critic could cause me to miss a moment.

We enjoyed the late afternoon light as it drifted away. We walked along the lovely mall toward one of my favorite museums, American History. I have always, from childhood, loved history. I have always wanted to see how people actually lived. Watched them work, sort of.

We were nearing closing time of 5:30. The employees at the entrance were within their rights to be snarly but they were jolly! They engaged me in conversation and made me laugh. I felt in on the joke! One of the group! I belonged there even though we went through security with only 20 minutes to look around.

That's a moving sculpture outside the building. It slowly rotated, eternity, glistening in spots, shadows in spots. Always moving. Always impossibly balanced. Reflecting us in a tiny part of itself. More mirrors.
It's a time for reflection on who we want to be in America. Who we want to show to the world.

each of these following pictures are seen from an artist's perspective.
I include certain subjects. I choose the lighting and placement that you see. You would certainly shoot it differently if at all.

I purposely centered one of our National monuments. One to the man who stood up for freedom and representation. A government that tried to represent all it's citizens. Isn't it glorious? It is to me. I wish I could have watched the founding fathers work.
Enjoy our capitol as evening deepens...

Thursday, November 24, 2016

"I Like" Thursday #11

Time for another "I Like" post!
And on Thanksgiving too!
#1. I like my husband. It's nice after looking for Mr Right for so many years to actually find him.
He's holding a 2 year old Westie named Cooper.
Oh. My.Gosh!!

We've been looking for a poodle to help make us a family of three again. This weekend at the Sugarloaf craft show we stopped to visit the booth of Jill Stern who makes hand dyed and hand painted clothing/shoes. They had Cooper there in his supervisory capacity.
Now I am in lurve with a Westie!
 He has a deep and meaningful look like Cole did. Knowing. Loving.

#2 I like hand made clothing
I managed to only buy one more of Jill's shirts, which brings my total to two.
They are one of a kind and wash easily.
In person it's an intense turquoise blue with brilliant flowers.

Perfect for the summer with cap sleeves
Perfect for the spring and fall layered over a shirt somewhat like a vest.

I love hand dyed clothing

#3 I like cool coffee cups
From artist Michael Natale. We have four already that sit on the counter holding various items. Now we are actually using these. They are dishwasher safe and feel so special. It's like I'm an artist, just using them. It might be a statement too, use the good stuff. Don't save it. We drink coffee every day so why not use a mug we love!

#4  I like this designer Fabric with metallic gold in it (click to see the intense gold on fabric on the right)
Hold onto your hats!
I bought more fabric!

I was just going to "look" in Capital Quilts in Gaithersburg since we were so close anyway...

In the time it took my husband to park the car and walk in from the parking lot, I already found four fat quarters I "needed".

Very Klimt, no? I LOVE Klimt's work.

He was censored by Nazi Germany. We have to be very careful around here not to censor art, right??

Like opinions, there is room for all. It's an American right to be free to peacefully disagree, to express oneself. Guard Free Speech.

#5 I like.felted items by Ram's Horn Connections, an artist living on a farm in PA.
Maureen and I had a grand time talking about inspiration and farms, animals and injuries overcome. What a joy to unexpectedly meet a kindred spirit at a craft show. She makes amazing creatures from wool, which I don't know how to do...yet...although I tried once and nearly impaled myself on the barbed needle.
When asked about her studio, neat or mess, she laughed and said "mess!"
It's my belief that most working artists have a messy studio. At least in my informal interviews that's true.
 That's a goat, a cow (I heart cows), a donkey and a sheep on a toboggan! Sitting still for the picture obviously or their ears would be flying in the wind! She has an etsy shop...

#6 the Brit TV series recently shown on PBS...

 the "Durells in Corfu". You can see the shows online probably. It's my new favorite series on PBS and I'm ticked off the season is so short!!! What fun! I want to be a part of that wacky family. What a wonderful family of individuals each with talents and personality.

#7   the tutorial page at BuzzNBumble
for instance that's a pin cushion!! Adorable! the link is:
I visit a lot of tutorial and pattern pages, as if I can make all the patterns I want to in this life time. I want to make nearly all of these! Thanks girl!

#8  finding a new blog to open my mind to new thought
This woman is focused on clearing out stuff and living a less materialistic life. Link is:
While she takes it to more of an extreme than  is right for my life, I learned  lots by reading her posts. It's relatively new so there are not many posts, maybe part of her minimalist beliefs lol! Check it out.

#9 I like learning new things and friends who give you stuff
My friend Judy passed this tool on to me

I have been meaning to try needle punch. There are lots of youtube tutorials on how to do it. I am headed out to find the fabric one uses. They recommend weaver's cloth. I have, ahem, plenty of embroidery thread to try.

Now where is a good poodle image???

#10  I like Great Big Fir trees
That's it for this week...

I start collecting these likes about Saturday... and keep adding items til I publish on  Thursday.
That means I  add to it all week as I notice something I like which keeps me more positive.

 If you did that, you could link to my post with likes of your own. I think it's fun to see things people enjoy along with sewing items because we know we like sewing!

In fact these people have done that, please visit them too!

SO Thankful you visited me!! Love to all this week, LeeAnna

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Fall, y'all

My Favorite Fall quilt on the wall. This is my seasonal display area although I place seasonal quilts all over.
This is not from this year, but it's one of my four seasonal abstracts. When I showed Summer I said I'd show you all of them.
Here is Fall, and Summer (click for that post). Winter and Spring to follow...and they are more abstract.
Just to show you a few details on Fall:
I remember my thoughts on making this.
I pulled out my squares box, chose fall colors and don't forget bright blue and green.

When the background was pleasing, I cut tree limbs.

I pieced some of them with free form curves and thin strips

I do not love fusible web so I just place the fabric on the background and go to the machine to free motion quilt it in place.
quilted with repetitive lines and gold metallic YLI thread. VERY well behaved in most machines. Note some fun leaf fabric on the border. The side borders are Carol Breyer Fallert fabric. She often answers the phone when you call to place an order! And she's a dancer!
 squares are perfectly evenly sewn and not rippled as it looks in this picture.
Swirling breezes quilted in with madeira metallic blue thread. I love the soft edge of non fused raw edge fabric, heavily quilted it creates a lovely texture seen close up.

Forgive my photo skills. My back is hurting, and I didn't square myself up to the quilt for taking a picture.
 Repeated lines of quilting add to the sense of sunlight at the top. Repeated lines on tree add to sense of bark. Border quilting done with walking foot, all other quilting done with free motion.

Again, this quilt is very flat and well sewn! I should not take photos when hurting but life being what it is... well you'll understand!
just enjoy the colors,(ignore the angled photos) like the real life days.

I love the hollow in the trunk here. Depth is created with shade and contrast. Splashes of color created with scissors and scraps.
I am inspired by colors, and how they relate to each other. I walk a lot and note colors I see, often coming home jazzed to pull some scraps to play.

I could dither over placement for years, so I make snap judgements for the most part on these quilts. Go ahead and move pieces around til you're happy, just don't try for perfection. I admit to taking more time with borders.

I have learned a lot while exploring abstraction concepts. Capture an essence. Create a feeling.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

can you have too many Sewing machines??

I think there are just enough!
These are my Rainbow Scrap challenge blocks for this year. I still think I may quilt them individually and hang them in a banner style. This is the last one, a red one, maybe my favorite one.
close ups...
Mary Englebreit cherries, flowers, dogs, sewing notions

music, 20's flappers dancing to it, hearts and a leg lamp.
Words on the background fabric are sweet too

Enjoy some of my fave fabrics on past machines too

and not to overwhelm you with pictures, I like something on each one. This was fun to do, and on previous posts I described the technique. (you can click on pics for details)
I expect to finish them as blocks, with binding. Maybe a black and white binding for all. Then join them.
Pattern source is: aquiltingsheep