Friday, September 15, 2017

It takes Heart

  Hearts have always been a favorite motif for me.  When I was able to do crazy quilting many years ago, I made lots of hearts, and gave them as gifts, and such.    I even have a crazy quilted quilt with the heart motif.     The top was given to me from the quilt guild when I was President.  I actually finished off the embroidery, and added the crazy quilted border.  Then 1 batted it and hand quilted in the open areas.




  And then there is the strip pieced water color heart.  This was the first strip pieced one I did.

   It's  an on-going thing for me to translate the heart motif to whatever technique I am doing.  I do lots of heart motif quilting and the feather shape comes from the same curve as the heart top.




   All of this leads up to making a few token scrappy, leftover hearts.  I first heard about making small hearts, sewing them and sowing them from Barbara, Smitty and Sadie's mom, at Catpatches blog.    She was making a few to hide and sow along her travels this fall.  Then I began to see some reported "found hearts" on FB.

 Here is the story about ifoundaquiltedheart  with details and such.    I just used a few chunks of fabric, some scraps, a bit of ribbon.  Very simple, raw edged shape, and not too perfect :)





  I had  designed the hang tag  but not printed it when the power went out.   So this morning was a good time to get the tags printed and tag the hearts.  I want to sow a couple when I go to therapy .
   The hearts I have made may not be posted on the website or on FB, but  I enjoyed playing around with them.  In this crazy, hectic, fast-paced world  with so much happening and going on, it is nice to do something simple and maybe brighten someone's day.   It takes Heart.💗
Happy stitching.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

No power/no sewing/inconvenient!

    I was just beginning a post on Monday, when we lost power.  Ugh!   A tree took out a power line.   We were prepared for it, but being prepared physically is not the same as mentally being able to get through it.

     First, my brother arrived Saturday afternoon from Naples.  That is right, Naples.  Destroyed and devastated.  He will be here a couple of weeks....of course, I might have to hog tie him to keep him from going back.  His apartment survived he heard, while others in his area were flattened or blown out.  The worse news he has gotten was from the Sheriff's Office report that the electric grid has to be rebuilt (no power), there is no safe water and all must be boiled even to bathe, and no gas for residents.  The report suggests residents stay put, stay out of the area for a few weeks until some semblance of order is restored.
  Thank you all for prayers for him.

  No power for 36 hours is a minor inconvenience I know when I put it in perspective to what others are facing.   It made me think about the life style we have with all the communications, and equipment to make out life easier.  No sewing....I don't have a crank machine.   I needed to press a few blocks.....no power for an iron.  The wind was  blowing/howling all day Monday, and through the night....that meant little sleep, and I was cranky Tuesday.

Vintage Pyrex Percolator, Glass Coffee Pot, Flameware Coffee Pot 7754B
   Luckily I held onto an old Pyrex coffee pot that makes wonderful coffee on the gas grill!   So I could put on a brave face.  The gas generator (for the freezer and refrigerator) was so loud and noisy, I was glad to escape to Physical Therapy for a session......lots of stretching as the low barometric pressure produces more intense muscle and nerve pain.  
  A salad for dinner along with a grilled sandwich and it was almost dark and time for bed.......8 pm!  Lol....candles and  a lantern do not produce enough light to read by no matter what history says.    We think we are tough now a days, but I have news for us......we are really spoiled.
   And then the morning comes.....relief the power has been restored by those wonderful power company workers.  A hot shower and a brighter day......communication and news.  I do have a lot to be thankful for.
Happy stitching.  

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Small things

  I know it has been 2 weeks since I posted.......a long 2 weeks.

   First the PT.   I had an evaluation done because the doctor was fearful of muscle atrophy.  So off I go......the eval was good.  No atrophy just a bit of slip in the balance systems.  We can attribute that to the increase in pain which has increased from the feet to above the knees.  So obviously I tend to compensate by altering gait which messes up my balance.   And back to twice weekly therapy sessions.....tough, very tough.  Right now I am very, very sore, but doing my homework exercises anyway.

   The attitude:
  Insight: I choose to be a freaking warrior, not a victim.  For today I will fight to maintain myself, to accomplish one thing.  There are days I cry, complain, and get angry.  Days I can't hold the rotary cutter, or  seem to accomplish anything.  But the days I can sew a seam, fold/pet/enjoy my fabric.....those are the days I remember.  It takes a lot of focus.



 
    I was asked by a friend if I knew how to make bowl cozies.  Nope, but I could find out.   So Sir Old Man hauled me to the quilt shop for some Wrap and Zap batting, Pinterest provided a tutorial, and the stash provided the fabric.    So I have a stack of large squares cut and the batting.....I am only using one layer of it instead of two.   (Note:  If I used regular cotton batt with no scrim, I would use 2 layers for extra body. )   I figure they will make good Christmas gifts, and if I start now, I can get some made.

 

     I found 12 string blocks in the closet.  These are 10'' blocks, so just a small quilt, about 30'' by 40''....exactly what Piper needs as a "in place" quilt that Mom can carry easily in a tote.  So anyway, the blocks are joined and pressed, and backing found.  My task this week is to get it pinned and hopefully quilted.




  The storm:  Three or four days ago, Irma was  projected to affect us.....200 miles inland from the coast!    My biggest fear was the power outage that would be sure to come along with wind damage.  Since we are out on the edge of the county, at the end of the maintenance line,  practically forgotten, when we lose power it might be days for it to be restored.  So check the food stash/refill the water bottle stash/get the camp stove out/get propane/get gas for the generator/ check the gutters for debris/move furniture inside/ and so on.  All done, and today we will pick up some fresh fruit and produce just in case.
  The new forecast is mainly rain, about 6'' for us, with gusty winds, not damaging winds.  That is great!

  The last 48 hours has been very stressful due to family in Florida.  My brother is in Naples......earlier in the week they were on the safer/softer side of the storm.  Now, it looks like a direct hit there.  He has gone from taking Remy and staying in Tampa to ride it out, to staying in Naples in a secured house of friends, to leaving out alone at 2 am this morning.   So you can be sure I did not sleep one night, and was awake until 2 am  when he sent a message.  I have cried, been upset, and cried some more.    He believes a direct hit will takeout his apartment building, put 6' of water in his office a few blocks away, and be weeks to month before power will be back on.  
  I also checked in with friends, and my dearly loved cousins......they are prepared as can be.  Luckily they are inland but still on the western side of the state.  
   This is a time of strength and staying focused.  So I will concentrate on small things that I can do.    Many thanks, and hugs to so many of you who have been checking in on me.  I am a warrior and  no little pain or big old mean storm will keep me down for long.
Keep stitching for me.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Slow week

    I saw a poster on the Pernicious Anemia FB page.......it tells exactly how I feel this week.  I know many of you battle pain daily too.
   This has not been a productive week on the sewing front.  I did a small amount of sewing more as a diversion than production.  Pain tends to do that to me and it has been one of those weeks.  Pain  is now prominent  in my feet.....I feel like the bones are exposed and the pains shoot up my heel and sole of my feet.  So walking and activity has been less.....and on top of that I have an evaluation for more physical therapy tomorrow.  Keep it in perspective.....I have sensation in feet and legs  where none was.  I believe this is part of the "reversing out" process of the nerves healing and connections being made.

 

 

    I added 4 more blocks to the scrappy mountains on the design wall.  And I cut 4 more sets......I think that will be enough for this one.    Yet, I haven't made a dent in the floral fabrics......I am losing on that front.













Piper on "place" quilt

  This pretty girl is Piper, my daughter's service dog.  Piper asked for a new "place" quilt.  When she is "on duty" Piper knows that she can keep watch from her quilt.   Piper goes to work at least 4 days each week....here she is keeping an eye on Mama while she is getting a check up at the doctors.











   She requested one that is colorful and fun.   This one always reminded me of a party.......we will send it off today.


   Happy stitching.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Magical eclipse

   We were fortunate enough to live in the path of totality for the solar eclipse.  For weeks that is all we have heard on the local news.  Huge viewing parties and events were planned in the area.  No hotel rooms were available in the county!  I thought about it and then decided not to offer the spare room for rent.  LOL.

  Today came and no clouds in the early morning.  A quick sit on the porch and I knew we would need to add the tall fan for cooling and table for the laptop.  It was very quiet for early morning.....no birds, bees, or chirps.

  By 1 pm it began.  Sir Old Man rigged up a box for me for viewing the projected eclipse.  He had the face shield to use from his welder's set.  We watched a bit of the local news streaming from different events.   The temperature began to drop a little bit, the shadows began to lose their sharp edge, and colors appeared different.  It was eerie.  Like a ripple in the time warp curtain, things were not distinct, and yet they were in the normal place.
 


Sir Old Man suddenly said, "Look".   Glancing down at the deck, I saw spots of sunlight that were the shape of the eclipse stage.  I had heard about the phenomenon.  Normally, light filters thru leaves of the trees or shrubs onto the dark ground/grass/surfaces.  This projection is not round at all, but crescent shaped like the eclipse.  











   Then we walked out onto the larger deck and stepped into a magical scene of crescent shaped areas of sunlight.

   Actually a more fitting description would be mystical.  The total eclipse was quickly approaching, the shadows were much deeper and less defined.  So standing there I felt like I was stepping into space as those tiny slivers of  were sparkling in the deepening dark.








 














 A projection of light on the hand rail.











 



And barely a few seconds later the projection is smaller/thinner.   Total eclipse is coming.









  When the total eclipse happened, it was abrupt as if the light switch was flipped.  One second there were faint shadows lines of the trees on the yard, and the next second they were gone.  The air temp cooled immediately.  Darkness descended all at once.  Through the tree line I could just make out the sunset colors of the sky.




  And Sir Old Man took a photo at totality.  Just to the right of the eclipse, Venus was fully visible and so beautiful .   I stood there in awe, with tears streaming down my face at such a sight.  Complete darkness, no shadows, Venus shining and the sun in corona......at 2:38 pm.

 
   And shadows returned as abruptly as they vanished.   The process began to reverse itself....the crescent shapes flipped as the moon shifted across the face of the sun.   Shadow became sharper, and colors returned to normal.   And birds....the birds began to chirp and sing.  A butterfly flew by.   A most magical mystical experience.
 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Once again......scrappy mountains majesty

   I had a comment this week on  some of my quilts.   The comment picked up on the simplicity of the  patterns I use  to create some of my  quilts.  I loved that....someone gets my philosophy.  Let the fabric do the work for you....and  I find that simple patterns work best with busy, colorful fabrics.    That is what satisfies me, and what you will find me doing.

   As I continue to use up my floral stash, I also tend to repeat patterns.   Nothing wrong with a repeat, if it is one you like a lot.  I enjoy figuring out a new version of my favorites.

  So from the stack of oldies that I made.......scrappy mountain majesty is a very easy pattern.  I use the tutorial from Bonnie at Quiltville.com  .   I made this first version about 7 to 8 years ago from large scraps that I had on hand.  I used a larger square and  sub-cut for this one....I think 2 1/2'' strips, so the blocks are larger.  This was mainly to learn the technique and use up some fabric.









  Fast forward to 2014, and enter the "whopper" for our bed and a tribute to Sir Old Man's woodworking skills.  

   This is the Buzz Saw quilt....same pattern with an extra strip added turn it into the  square buzz saw block.    If you want details...go to the linked posts.










   And this is what you will find on my design wall right now.   This version is done in florals.....let's just say the Year of Florals started 2 years ago is still continuing.
  Anyway, I am not sure if this is the layout I will use, or if I will make more blocks, or if there will be borders.    This is just what there is for now.

Happy stitching.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Any Which Way

Up, down, or sideways.....any which way it works for you.   I shared the development and layout for this water color here.  
 The debate went on in the comments about which way it should be oriented.



   This is how  it was oriented as I worked on it on the design wall.  The center portion was a class sample that was getting a little worn, so I added the gray border.  Then I went on and decided to add an outer border to show how to create a shadow and use the reverse value technique.
















 Reverse Value Technique:  My word phrase to describe the contrast of value between the center portion of a wall hanging and the added border.  Where the center area is light in value, the outer border will be dark in value when placed next to it.    Refer to the upper right of the photo.....inner section is light/medium and the outer border is dark.    Lower left corner.....dark value in the center and light in the outer border.
  Opposite values next to each other in this case  are a good thing:)



     And a finished version with the dark shadow at the top.  I like this but had the inspiration to turn it upside down.



    And the personality changed with the  altered perspective.  The weight falls to the base and the shadow shifts to the left.   Sunlight fills the upper border.   The center portion to me appears to be a path now that is  leading me through an arbor of blooms on a summer's day.  

   And if you prefer.....a sideways view would work too...that photo did not turn out. :(   The name was an easy choice.....Any Which Way.  Size is 25'' by 31''.  
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