Sunday, October 31, 2010

Head of Charles/losing ours: a journal quilt

     Angela in London e-mailed that she was taking a class at Harvard called Immunity to Change. I snagged her for one evening since we were for once organized to do so. I drove down the Charles River to Logan Airport, doing a dry run so I would pick her up with no misses the next day. Back and forth I drove on the Charles, always seeing more rowers than ever before. I didn't realize people were practicing for the Head of the Charles!
(click to enlarge)
     The last time Angela came was when her son rowed for his school in England. We had the family for dinner and then enjoyed one of those 50 year floods. This time, we wanted to take Angela out to eat and she chose Helmand's from our list, an Afghan restaurant owned by the brothers of the President of Afghanistan. The rack of lamb is wonderful, but we always order several hors d'oeuvres for a unique evening. When the beautiful rack of lamb was brought out so quickly our chins were on the floor...Where were the hors d'oeuvres? Men from the kitchen held the dishes in shock until the waiter politely told us we didn't remember to order them, which we, embarrassed, realized. Still, after plenty to eat, it was back home again, down the Charles.
      The next morning Joe carried Angela's bags to my car so that she would not need to tote them around at school. I would pick her up at the end of the day to take her to a friend's where she was staying, again along the river.  Joe dropped Angela off at her class on the way to his work and soon realized he had left his briefcase at home. It was back again, along the Charles. To England, Afghanistan and home, more memorable and amusing events caught and saved on an 8" square journal quilt sketch.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fabric workshop, new/old directions

     Over the weekend I took a portrait fabric workshop through Quilters' Connection, a fabulous guild of original thinkers. I love their meetings and energy.
     Esterita Austin led this group to show how to cut out parts of a face, adhere to a background and paint if you like. I would have preferred to work on my own subjects, but this was efficient in passing on the techniques. I am only putting this unfinished project up because I am due a blog and with Joe's birthday today and other events, I am behind.
(click to enlarge)
Thirty-third Anniversary
     I quickly slopped on a little paint to insert eyes on the face (the brushes were too stiff and time was out); but whereas I won't finish this face, I do think I will enjoy this fusing technique with portraiture and other paintings for more dimension. I remember watching people at my art show mid-90s running their fingers over cut-outs of a quilt that I painted over.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Organizing October: a Halloween activity

     October is beautiful with the orange, red, yellow and maroon electric colors. Last Saturday I drove to the Lexington quilt show and found new Sew Fresh Fabrics in castle prints and other  got-a-have's for grandchildren.  I drove among stunning trees to the Watertown big bead show via Wilson Farms where I picked up caramel apples on a stick, small hot sugared donuts and fresh cider. The bead show had stunning originals for grown-ups, but I opted for some Halloween glass beads for the children to make bracelets.
three ghosts, a pumpkin and a cat
(click to enlarge photos)
a stretchy ring and button bracelet 

      Tonight we joined the family for supper. I took the books I picked up at the Belmont library book sale that fall day mentioned above, and materials to craft either a stretchy bracelet or one with clasps. Both girls wanted to make clasp bracelets first. Hannah chose a peace clasp and Erika wanted the dolphin clasp. There were not enough decorative beads for two wrist bracelets, so the girls used glass seed beads to fill the gaps on the bead stringing wire. Hannah went on to make a stretch-y ring, knotting it with square knots before the dinner bell. I put the clasps on the bracelets, using an extra bead with the crimps while the two went on to more creative endeavors.   

Friday, October 15, 2010

Unexpected Guests/Additions: A Journal Quilt

(Click to enlarge)
   This past weekend we drove to Maine to visit friends and stopped off in Bath for lunch at the Kennebec Tavern and to visit the Maine Maritime Museum where US Navy ships are built. (They have a lovely website with photos and commentary.) Happily we came upon a fabulous quilt shop a block away that had fabrics, including moose, that I had never seen.

(Original draft :*)
   Last week, Nita*, a beader, was taking an early morning walk in our suburb and found on her aunt's grounds, a 10-point moose.They just stared at each other in admiration. Makes you wonder why some want to shoot. With a camera, yes! Later, I understand a bear was spotted in a tree nearby. We are talking about 1/4 mi from the center of town. Given Nita's excitement, this had to be a journal quilt. Long live the gifts of nature.

*Click on Nita's name in Labels below, to go to a special necklace she created in an earlier posting, June 10, 2010!

Correction: Nita phoned to say it was a DEER. Live and learn or listen better :*) Corrected journal quilt at top of page.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Catch-up Cards: more fabric postcards

    After making pumpkin muffins for the grandchildren who dropped off grand dog for boarding, I pulled out my fabrics to catch-up on some surprise correspondence. I wanted to send Charlie Brown raking leaves to the relatives to remind them they left here too soon. The leaves are finally turning colors and dropping. (We sometimes feel like Charlie in that all the leaves on the block blow to our house.)

Fronts, backs and batting or felt are cut to 4 1/2" x 6 1/2."
      While I had the stash out, I wanted to thank our hostess for our Maine send-off dinner. A second lobster fabric card would go to old Maine friends who hosted us there 40 years ago whom I thought we might have bumped into at the Owl's Head Museum auto show.
Finished postcards are 4" x 6." (Click to enlarge)

     After I have surprised everyone I know with a single fabric postcard, I am going to have to learn some new tricks or come up with more amazing cards! I was humbled in this task when I realized you could Google any subject and add "blog" as in "fabric postcard blog" or "quilted postcard blog"  to turn up astonishing viewings and tutorials. I also learned that there are sites to have a blog critiqued.

    Now to address, write (with gel pen) and take to the PO to be hand-cancelled.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fabricating Felt Fleurs: a relaxing stylish craft

   When our beading group, the Beadsprouts, travel for a few days to the Vineyard, we each take a craft. Chrissy researched felt flowers this year since they were in so many fashion magazines and pointed us to HiP: Felt Flower Tutorial. To prepare to write this blog I Googled "tutorial felt flower" and found many more videos. Whatever, it seems these are so easy to create by all ages. I plan to make some to cluster with granddaughters 4 and 6 years.
My two flower pins are about 2 1/2" diameter. Click to enlarge. 
    Get or make your felt (there are all qualities of felt: from the wool sweaters you shrink with soap and hot water to the squares or rolls you can buy at a craft or fabric store.) Cut out shapes of flowers with scissors or with Sissix shape cutters (I do not have or need Sissix, but could enjoy).  You can make a pattern by circling a glass, and cutting out different sizes and flower shapes. You can cut individual petals or stack shapes of one piece, different edges. You will invent other solutions such as folding strips of felt and cutting in a bit. A glue gun or needle and thread with button can hold them together. The stitching with embroidery thread or beading on the  petals adds so much ooomph! Loving care always does that.
Nancy made a giant flower and wore it to the museum!
Click to see better.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Route 64: a birthday card journal quilt

   Sometimes I think I spend all my time celebrating. Tonight we are taking out my painter friend Kathy for her birthday and her husband for his retirement. I was tired of my usual Comic card and decided to make a journal quilt about the 64th birthday. This year Kathy is all over the home in Sharon, at her studio in North Adams, up in Montreal at one of her grands. The bonus is seeing lots of leaves while she celebrates and hangs several art shows.I got her Defining Moments in Art and Rembrandt: See and Do Children's Book for her grands. Kathy loves Rembrandt and painting to opera music.
(click to enlarge)
    The birthday girl used to paint lots of fish and trees but the paintings at her website this year are more abstract or more about the brushstrokes and the paint. I still think of those fish, and I thought it serendipitous that I would go to Catch of the Day at Abby's blog to see the new felt fish she posted...and that I would have an e-mail from Alice about the paella pans at TJMaxx which would be perfect to gift the retiring professor husband, a good cook and lover of seafood. He will have more time to create romantic meals. Evidently, according to Alice, the  paella pan achieves the crust on the bottom that is supposedly one of the most delicious parts of paella
    The fabric of Route 64 is perfect for postcards for our recently departed guests from Texas who drove up to see the changing leaves. Must make those next.

Friday, October 1, 2010

La Pomme Surprise: mini apple ornaments

(click to enlarge)
     I love surprises and winning one is a treat. A few days ago i received a package from France with a set of mini apple ornaments from Apol of La Pomme. Abby Glassenberg posted that Apol, a blog friend, lover of birds, maker of plush flowers, sailboats, fabric books and zines, offered to give away two sets of her mini apple ornaments. Whoever left a comment at Abby’s site would be entered into a drawing. Abby’s random number generator pulled up my name and I received these scent-filled mini ornaments in their stamped vintage ticking fabric bag. 

      I've enjoyed visiting Apol’s blog and her Etsy shop, exploring Apol’s and Abby’s very early postings, interviews and sites they enjoy, while being enticed to learn and create more and more. We who love to work with our hands and hearts are fortunate to enjoy endless Internet offerings. (In such appreciation, I just downloaded more podcasts from and

      Hmmmn. Maybe I should do a giveaway...ask people to comment by a certain date.That could be fun. Thank you, Apol and Abby!

Foliage CleanUp Time: a minimalist Journal posting

Leaves/Leaving (Click to enlarge)
   Our wonderful guests have now headed to New Hampshire and Vermont to see the leaves through the rainfall. They left me a clean house and I am feeling orderly after all that Joe and I did to prepare for their visit. I felt these two fabrics caught the feeling of the leaves and the order. I should quilt or bead the journal piece, but I like it as it is for the moment.  (Yes, some bead drops to stand in for leaves, scattered and sewn to "quilt.")
  Note: Weeks later, I added beads for the remaining leaves and a pile of them raked to a stack.