Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tomorrow September Arrives

Time just flies by---way too fast. My favorite time of year is about here. I love the autumn with the beautiful colors and the cooler days it brings. If I could choose just one month to have all the time, it would be October.

I started playing with some of my batiks today. This is what I am coming up with. Love the colors and will see how far I go with them. I sewed the circles to lightweight fusible interfacing so that the fusible side is on the outside after I cut the slit and turn it. That way, I can iron it to the background square. Doesn't seem as stiff as the lightweight fusible web and gives a finished edge for invisible machine applique or a decorative buttonhole stitch in pretty colors. I think I like it. (Click on picture to enlarge)

Friday, August 29, 2008

From my Needlepoint Days

Starting back in the early 70's when we lived in Newton, Kansas - the least favorite place the Santa Fe transferred us to - I took up needlepoint which I did for eleven years. I made lots and lots of pillows and pictures and even a couple of vests. One day I will get the vest out and take a picture of that. There are also still a couple of unfinished projects in the basement which will most likely stay that way - unfinished! I just sketched out on canvas a rough drawing from a picture in a magazine and then filled it in with lots of different stitches and colors. I do know that there should have been shading on the house. We will just call this folk art! For some reason, I really like this and it hangs in my living room. Again, I found the neat frame in an antique shop and we framed it ourselves. I did this in the late 1970's. The last cloud on the right reminds me of a little worm! Figure that's okay as you are supposed to see different things in clouds, right? (Click picture to enlarge)

Another Small Wallhanging

Just a little piece I did two or three years ago from a pattern I found in Quilting Arts magazine. It is raw edge fused applique - for non-quilters, you cut out all the pieces that have been backed with a "fusible web" and iron them on the background. The batik fabrics work really well in this method because they are so firmly woven. It is then machine quilted quite heavily. You could also do lots of decorative stitches, add beads, sparkle, etc. I was just beginning to get a little better at machine quilting. I am still not great at it but much more comfortable.
(Click picture to enlarge)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Some Treasured Needlework

My late husband and I always had multiple hobbies and tried many, many things. My daughter used to kid us and said we had the "hobby of the month". He always had an HO railroad layout - the one in Kansas City was huge and very cool. He was a railroader from the time he was 17 years old. He also loved to build model planes - tissue paper pinned and glued over a stick skeleton then painted. Even had one with a gas engine at one time. Then there was photography - he bought a lot of dark room equipment and cameras from a fellow he worked with and set up a dark room in our basement. That was lots of fun - he made our Christmas cards for several years. When he retired we took a folk art painting class together and he would cut out things for us to paint. I still have some of the cute stuff we did at Christmas time. Then there was the whirligig and windtoys that he made. Our backyard fence had a whirligig on each post. I kidded him and said that when a wind came up the whole backyard would take off. He made lots of them and we would go to craft fairs where he would sell them - not for the need of money but just for the joy of having someone want something he had made. He also took up another hobby - counted crossstitch. I was doing that one day and he said, "I think I could do that." So I found an easy pattern, the cloth and floss and showed hime how. Well, he turned out the most beautiful crossstitch - always on very small count cloth and complicated patterns. There were some by P. Buckley Moss that he loved to do. I will put one in this post. It was a picture of two pretty little quilters which I actually had started but gave up on it. He finished it beautifully and I found a wonderful antique frame in an antique shop in Lacon, Illinois, and we framed it. A treasure, for sure. Then there are a little boy and girl he did that are just so pretty. I took the pictures at an angle so the flash would not reflect. I think you can still see how lovely his work was. (Click pictures to enlarge)

Stained Glass Kaleidoscopes

Played around on Kaleidoscope Kreator with the photo of my beautiful stained glass. Here are two that I thought were really neat. (Click to enlarge)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hanging in my Front Window

This beautiful stained glass quilt block is another birthday gift from my daughter and son and their spouses. It looks just beautiful hanging in my window and is the first thing I see when I look there. I love my little condo but the view of other brown houses and carports is not what you would call very scenic so this is a lovely addition to my window. It was made by an artist in a little town east of here. Thank you so much, my dear kids!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Little Something

This is a little wallhanging I put together and am not sure if I will take it further or not. It's hanging on the wall in the basement waiting for me to finish it. I love the batiks in it and think the colors are so very pretty. I may just quilt and bind it or maybe add borders or even maybe make it bigger. Of course, it's paper pieced and pretty easy to do. (Click picture to enlarge)

Completely Dotty

Today has been one of those muggy, warm, uncomfortable summer days and now it is storming. This is my least favorite kind of weather but there is not as much of it here in Michigan as there was in Illinois and other places in the midwest where we lived. At least, it is getting close to September and my favorite season - autumn. With air conditioning, even weather like today is very tolerable as long as you stay inside!

I am still thinking of the wonderful 80th birthday celebration that my family had for me. It was a time to cherish always. Now I must get back into the everyday routine - although I don't really have that much of a routine. I just kind of play it by ear and do what the spirit moves me most of the time. I have some projects to get done before the first guild meeting in September - they are started but more to do on them. Some of the gals are coming over tomorrow afternoon and we will compare what we are doing for this challenge. Each year there is a challenge that you can take part in and those projects are displayed at our annual quilt show.

Here is the challenge wallhanging that I made for the quilt show we had in March this year. The theme was dots. (Click pictures to enlarge)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

To My Family

It is so hard to put into words what this past weekend meant to me. No one around has a nicer family than I. Sher and Bill, you have been the best daughter and son to your Dad and me and I continue to be able to enjoy being your Mom and spending time with both of you. I am so proud of the way you have both grown into such incredibly wonderful people. And you both chose lifemates who are the cream of the crop. It has been a privilege to be your Mom. I consider myself a very fortunate woman to have lived the life that I have. I have eighty years of memories - some sad, of course, but mainly happy ones.

Norah, Molly and Hannah - if we could have handpicked three little girls for granddaughters we could not have come anywhere near how great the three of you are. Being grandparents was a joy for Grandpa and me - and it still is for me. You all realize, I know, how much we both love you. You are the cherry on top of the sundae of life!! How's that for a corny expression - but it's true. Norah and Molly, your taste is men is impeccable! Chad and Doug are two fine, friendly cute fellows. Both are easy to talk to and it is clear that both couples seem to really have a loving relationship. They certainly have my enthusiastic approval! And, Hannah, if you want that guy that swims, go get him!! He certainly could never find another girl as good as you, sweetie pie!! I am sure there will be several boyfriends in the next years before you find "the one" and I want you to enjoy the search!!

The gifts you girls gave me - wow, they make me cry! I have never doubted that you love me - we all have mutual admiration societies and equal fun has been had with all of you. There are pictures that I had never seen and that is lots of fun. The scrapbooks and Hannah's power point leave me at a loss for words. The paper Hannah did for credit is so cool. All I can say, is Thank You, my dear granddaughters, from the bottom of my heart. I love you all so very much.

Sher and Bill, the is just so much fun - and, from the work that I do on the computer, I know how much time you both put into that with the scanning, planning, e-mailing, phoning, etc. and Bill putting it up on the internet. I love having a website and I will learn to upload to it. And the stained glass quilt block is absolutely beautiful. I will hang it today or tomorrow after I get some nice chain and some S hooks. My thanks to you also goes to my other son and daughter, Barclay and Ann.

This was the happiest birthday I could have had. The weekend was wonderful - the best company, good food, lots of laughs, some nice wine - how can that be topped. You will have a hard time topping it for my 90th!! Hope I am here - LOL

Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for my birthday celebration. God bless all of you and me, too. I love you.
(Click picture to enlarge)

To my Family

I just now lost my post - will be putting it back up if I can find it. Sob!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

There's a Lady in the Corner

The second New York Beauty I pieced - this time using oriental fabrics which are another favorite of mine. It was quilted at the LQS and I was really pleased with the outcome. In the middle piece of one of the corner border blocks (not visible in the picture) there is a pretty little oriental girl looking over the rest of the quilt.....hence the name. Off in the distance on the left side you can see one of my chamber pots. I have a great collection and will someday post pictures of some of those. (Click to enlarge)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Happy Birthday to my First Granddaughter

Today is my first granddaughter's 31st birthday. That was the beginning of a brand new time in our lives of being grandparents.................absolutely one of the nicest things a couple can experience. I loved being a Grandma and I still do even though the girls are all grown up now.
Lots and lots of great memories.

So Happy Birthday, Granddaughter #1!! Will see you this weekend.
With lots of love and


The Little Butterfly Wall Quilt

The butterflies are all done. Kind of a happy little piece. Think I will sew a little black bead at the end of each antennea (you know what I mean!!) (Click to enlarge)

A Quilt Named "Finally"

A switch for me since I usually do machine applique and hand quilting, this quilt is one that I hand appliqued and machine quilted. It was going to be much larger - in fact, I have some extra finished blocks left - and the blocks were on my flannel wall in the basement for a long, long time. I was at a point when I didn't want to handquilt any more large quilts. I had done many of them and it takes so long; but I don't feel that I can wrestle with a large quilt on my sewing machine and was also not that comfortable with machine quilting. So I pared it down. I really do like the way it turned out. You would need just the right space to hang it as a wallhanging. I think that in most cases, lots of us quilters are making pieces that appeal to us and we just have to do them instead of doing them for a specific purpose. Of course, there are always the ones that we do as special gifts for people who are so very special in our lives. This one is named "Finally". (Click to enlarge)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Antique Sampler

Mary Anne Wiley

In the early 70's when we were living in the KC area, my late husband's mother came to visit and brought with her this old sampler that was done by Ray's great-grandmother in 1843 (she may have been his great-great-grandmother) when she was only 10 years old. What a treasure! I am pretty sure it is in the original frame with the original glass which is kind of wavy and a little pitted. I read in a book about some of the old samplers having very sad verses stitched on them since in that era life was hard with much illness and not the miraculous cures we have nowadays. This is no exception. The verse little Mary Anne Wiley stitched was......

My age it is now half a score
And I perhaps shall see no more
Remember death to all is nigh
Youth as well as aged may die.
Alas I am an orphan left
Now of parents I am bereft
Now oh Lord I look to thee
Each of thy orphans help to be.

We once were six in a family
In deaths cold bed thou hast laid three
Lord teach us to improve each day
Ere thou dost call the rest away.
Yea in thy love remember me.

Mary Anne Wiley 1843

She then stitched in her mother's birthday, her birthday, etc. Notice the way that she would start a word and not have room and then just continue it on the next line. I will post those closeup pictures of that part of the sampler, also. I think this is one of the most precious things I have ever seen. There is also a picture of Mary Anne as an adult along with her sampler. I hope you enjoy this lovely bit of the past.

(Click to enlarge)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Black Magic

This quilt is posted in an earlier post but not a digital picture. Digital is so much better! This is the last quilt that I hand quilted and it was done in gold thread. (Click to enlarge)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

From There to There to There to Here

This is the quilt that I worked on in four different homes in two states. I used a really kind of ugly fabric for the main fabric of this quilt. It is in the block at the lower left corner of this post. The four flowers, the leaves and the center of the middle flower are all from the piece. I gleaned the blocks from magazines, books, designed a few and figured out the frames for each. It is hand quilted with a big feather border. This quilt was juried in to Paducah in 2002, ten years after my Blooms in the Night was there. No prize this time, but it is such a thrill to have your quilt hanging there with all the other beautiful quilts. (Click to enlarge.)

Folk Art Fun 2001

Here is a quilt that was a long time in the making. I found the feature fabric in a shop in Illinois before we moved to Michigan. The majority of the blocks are from a great little book called Folkloric Designs by Nancy Brenan Daniel. It is tattered, dogeared and marked up but I still use it from time to time. Nothing but line drawings. The colors in this quilt are different but I really enjoyed working with them. After I had finished the top, I decided to have it quilted at the LQS. I was so pleased with the way it was done. This is the first big quilttop that I did not hand quilt. It takes so long to quilt by hand and, although it is so beautiful, I wanted to learn to machine quilt even if just on smaller pieces. I do feel that beautiful machine quilting is on a par with handwork. I am in awe of some of the work being done out there. (Click to enlarge)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

"Antique" Skirt

Here it is - Carol's Calico Skirt!! I mentioned in an earlier blog an applique skirt that I made in the mid-seventies when I was still a young chick! A little while ago I was in the basement and checked a couple of storage boxes and found it in the second one so brought it up and took it's picture. Thought you younger quilters might be interested in what type of fabrics we had to choose from back then. As you can see, most of it was double ugly!! Quilter's dots, small calicoes and solids were about all that was available when quilting took its big resurgence around the bicentennial. Of course now - the fabric is to die for!! You can never be too rich, too thin or have enough fabric! Anyway, here is my skirt that I thought was so wonderful. Had a book called Mountain Artisan Quilting Book (no longer have it but found a picture of it on the internet) and saw the picture of a skirt like this which I thought was so cute. As I recall, there were no instructions for the skirt in the book - but it was a long time ago and I could recall wrong. I cut out the front and two back pieces, added batting and then started appliquing the flowers which I satin stitched (kind of). Added the waistband and bound the bottom in black. It is really kind of primitive but I have a soft spot in my heart for it. I (Click to enlarge)
Do you know what, I think this could probably be a gorgeous skirt made up in some of today's fabrics. I can see it in batiks - or Kaffee Fassett's - or Amy Butler. All glitzed up with shiny threads, beads, paint. There is this about quilting - no way will any of us get done all we would like to do but it is certainly fun trying. Enjoy!!

Love Aunt Gracie Fabrics, Too

Some time ago, I was asked to give a demonstration of machine buttonhole applique at our guild meeting. Put together this easy block that has the curves and points you come across in this method and appliqued while the guild members gathered around. I decided to make three more blocks and do a small wall hanging. It was quick, easy and cute and shows how nicely the reproduction fabrics blend together. It was good practice for my machine quilting, too. You go, Aunt Gracie! (Click to enlarge)

Friday, August 1, 2008

This little piece doesn't have a name

This is one of the wallhangings I mentioned in the preceding post. Fused and buttonhole appliqued. It's one of those pieces that I am not 100% with for some reason. I have made so many quilts and wallhangings (over a 30+ year period) and am more enthused about some of them than others. Interests change, also. Things are so very different now than when I started quilting. The tools, patterns, methods - it's incredible! Some day I will take a picture of a quilted long skirt I made in the 70's - I thought it was the coolest thing. Huge calico flowers satinstitched in black. I saw it in a book and made one myself. It really is a hoot but with a black turtleneck, I was all dolled up. And when I look at it now I yearn for that little waist!! Oh, well, I will be 80 in three weeks and I am blessed with good health and most of my brain cells so life is good and I'll never complain.
(Click to enlarge)

"This Time It's Pieced"

I had done two small winding ways wallhangings by fusing and machine applique. After having done some drunkard's paths and New York Beauties, I thought I would tackle the curved piecing in the winding ways pattern. Really loved the way this turned out. (Click to enlarge)