Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I love color

I always joke with my friends that when I get to be in charge of the world, I'm taking brown off the color wheel. I'm just down with brown. Brown, and its cousin, Beige, are just so blah. And navy blue and maroon aren't far behind. There are, of course, other colors that I'm not fond of, but I understand the concept of giving people a choice.

My sister-in-law, a beautiful redhead, favors autumnal colors such as olive greens, rusts and browns. Although I love her like crazy, I find it very difficult to use these colors when I'm working on a project for her. It's funny, every time, without fail, if I'm making something with these colors, one of my friends will peer over my shoulder and go, "that's not for you." My mother-in-law loves navy blue. Last summer I bought a pack of Japanese indigo prints to make her something, but so far they're still in the quilting closet.

My favorite colors to wear are hot pink, turquoise and purple. My house is decorated in shades of blues and greens. My garden flowers are pink and purple. My pugs are tan and black, but they don't come in other colors (although their leashes are purple!). My quilt studio is decorated in hot pink and zebra print. I almost didn't buy my house because it had beige siding. Fortunately I've painted the shutters purple and that seems to help. I recently heard that you can paint vinyl siding--watch out Mike!

Anyway, I digress...the other day my friend Joannie bought me this nifty little book: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-home-color-selector-david-willis/1009171152?ean=9781435106512 . Actually she bought one for herself, and I admired it so profusely that she went back and bought one for me. It is a neat little book with a color wheel (that turns!) on the cover. It is designed to help you pick colors to paint your home, but I also thought it would be a neat way to pick colors for quilts. It is in the bargain books right now at Barnes and Noble, so you may want to treat yourself and pick one up.

Pugs and kisses,

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ugly Vest Postscript

I broke down and wore the Ugly Vest to work today. The front doesn't look too bad, the back looks like a bad habit from the Flying Nun. At the end of the day, I literally gave the vest off my back to my friend Maureen (a skinny red head), who admired it profusely and was absolutely thrilled!
A Report from the Worcester Sewing and Craft Expo

My friend Marion and I have been going to the Worcester Sewing and Craft Expo for quite a few years now. This year the date was in conflict with the Machine Quilters Expo in Providence, Rhode Island, so we had to make a choice. There were several classes that I found interesting, so we decided on Worcester. One of the things that I like about Worcester is that you can see a photo of the project online, as well as register online, so you
  1. Know what you will be making, and;
  2. Know immediately if you got into the class or not.
Unfortunately, it seems like the show is getting smaller each year. They also seem to re-run the classes from year to year and every year it seems like there are fewer vendors. On the plus side, it's easy to get to, there's a parking garage across the street and they offer discounts for multiple classes.

I have decided that this is the "Year of Machine Embroidery" and I want to take better advantage of my embroidery machine. This means using it for more than embroidering names on blankets. So, I took two machine embroidery classes with my favorite machine embroidery instructor, Cindy Losekamp. Note, that at this point I'd add a link to her website, but she's in the process of redesigning it and hopes that it will be up in the next couple of weeks. Her business name is Sew Artfully Yours (if you're interested). I met Cindy about 8 years ago at a machine embroidery conference in Las Vegas and have taken many classes over the years from her. Cindy's best quality is that she is unflappable. She's able to fix anything...and over the years, I've seen students manage to come up with everything you can imagine and more. Another thing I like about Cindy is that she gives you extremely detailed instructions and she sets you up for success. She's road-tested every project and guides you through each step.

Anyway, the first class I took was a machine embroidered crazy quilt purse that was both pieced and embroidered in the hoop. We even put the zipper in on the embroidery machine! It was a 3-hour class and when we left, the only thing remaining was to sew the side seams of the purse.

In my next class we did a stuffed applique on a pre-made baby blanket. This was a quick project that was completely finished in 2 hours. It came out really cute.

I was disappointed in my other two classes. They were both on garment-making and I felt sorry for anyone who took them without any garment-making experience. Although I felt that the instructor (deliberately un-named) had a wealth of experience (and was a very pleasant person), I didn't feel like she did a lot of teaching. While she provided all of the materials for both classes (which we did pay a materials fee for), we definitely didn't have the same taste in colors, so I was unhappy with the selections. Plus, I felt there was a bit of "bait and switch" going on. I signed up for a lovely vest that was pictured in a frenzy of wild prints and dupioni silk. There was about 1/2 yard of dupioni silk for the entire class to share, but plenty of very ugly quilting cottons. Suffice to say, while I liked the vest pattern (everyone wears a size small!),  it is designed to be "drapey" and quilting cotton just won't work. I finished it last night and it is called "the ugly vest". I don't plan to wear it, EVER. I will use it as a prototype. I need to get some rayon fabric and try it again.

On a positive note, I finished 3 out of my 4 class projects, so I only have one new UFO for my stash. The sweater coat needs some re-engineering with some more fabulous fabrics, but since it is a freakishly early 80 degrees outside, I'm putting in on the back burner for now.

Pugs and kisses, (I promise photos soon!)


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

In a cleaning frenzy!

My friend Joannie comes over to sew with me on Monday nights. I am fortunate to have a large quilting studio over my garage with enough room for at least three people to sew comfortably. Last night Joannie was working on her third Jungle Monkey plain patch/4 patch and I got bitten by the cleaning bug. Actually I was inspired by a new quilt blog I'm reading called "Fabric Therapy" http://fabrictherapy.blogspot.com/ . (Silent cheer: Yeah! I just added my first link!). Teresa is uber-organized, and her blog posts just resonated with me. Note: I will NEVER be as organized as Teresa.

Anyway, first I started by going through all 18 cubbies in my new craft table and making a numbered diagram and a list of all their contents. Surprisingly, about 4 or 5 were empty (I remedied that!) and I found a number of projects that I'm inspired to go back to. I also brought in a large zebra bin that I started throwing all the leftover pieces in. Eventually my plan is to pick out a couple of scrap quilts to work on and to work from the bin. In the meantime, I have plenty of UFOs to work from, so the bin contents are safe for now! I also made a bag of batting scraps and flannel scraps. And, as I emptied old, finished projects (I tend to keep the leftover pieces forever), I made a pile of empty ziploc bags for new projects!

Next I attacked the plastic bag mountain and threw away the nasty old dog beds that someone had "re-gifted" me. Although I had washed them a million times, they were still gross. Plus, the puggies have new zebra dog beds to match the new decor in the studio. There is still more cleaning and organizing to be done, but I feel exhilarated!

Tomorrow I'm going to the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Worcester http://www.sewingexpo.com/  I'm taking a class on "sweater dream coats" made from a bunch of different sweaters. Since I'm addicted to the sweaters by Jill2Day on Etsy http://www.etsy.com/shop/jill2day?ref=ss_profile, I thought I'd try making one of my own. Although I fear that I'll start haunting Goodwill and Savers and start collecting sweaters! I'm going back on Friday night with my friend Marion. We're taking a Friday night class, sleeping over and then a couple of classes on Saturday. Naturally, we'll hit the vendor mall. As usual, Marion will spend nothing, and I'll break the bank. Oh well! It's great to have girlfriends to play with!

Next blog post, I will try to add photos!

Pugs and kisses,

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Last week was a semi-quilty week...

What I mean by that is that I didn't get too much sewing done, but as always, managed to purchase a few things, spent some time with my quilting buddies and even went to a quilt show!

I noticed that my last two posts started with "I'm suffering...". I have to write something positive or I may have to rename my blog "Quilter's Angst!" Anyway, instead of lamenting today, let me just say how lucky I am to have such good gal pals who are also my quilting buddies. I've belonged to a small private bee group, known as the Brown Baggers, for close to 20 years now. We meet once a month and hold several quilt weekends. There are about 18 of us. Some of the girls I only see at meetings, and a couple of them are my nearest and dearest, who I speak to daily. When Mike and I got married in February in Florida, all six of my girlfriends made the trip. Four of them are quilt buddies. I also belong to a weekly group that meets on Thursday nights. I look forward to my monthly Sunday meetings and weekly Thursday nights and try to plan my schedule around them.

Good girlfriends are irreplaceable. They can get you through anything. Like any other group we've gone through illness, death and divorce. This year, happily, we have a lot of good things in our future. I got married, two of my girlfriends are becoming grandmothers for the first time and we had some big birthdays to celebrate! My friend Marion turned 75, although you would never guess it. Another one of our Brown Baggers, turned 80!

Have a great day!


P.S. I'm starting to take some photos and will try to figure out how to post them here! It will make it more exciting!