Saturday, January 31, 2015

Thomas Merton Centenary

This post is dedicated in memory of Thomas Merton
 January 31, 1915 -- December 10, 1968

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time."

“We do not want to be beginners. But let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything else but beginners, all our life!” 
--Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer

To learn more about Thomas Merton please visit the Thomas Merton Center website.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Friday Five

Another busy edition...five photos of what I've been up to 'round here this past week. I'm not usually a busy kinda gal. I'm used to having lots of time at home, and I love, love being at home, but lately it seems like there's always something happening, all good things so I'm not complaining! Last night I wrangled with prepping a very sweet quilt to get in the mail today, which I'll be doing just as soon as this post is written and I'm out the door so this is gonna be quick!

First, I finished the Maryland paper piecing block of Carol Doak's  50 Fabulous Paper Pieced Stars .All stitched up!

On Saturday I started a little quilt for the Project Linus "Make A Blanket Day" that will take place on February 21st. I've been contributing to this charity through my sweet quilty friend Julie to the chapter she belongs to. Last week after the guild meeting my new partner in quilty crime, Rosemary, sent me an email from the gal who leads my local chapter and I knew exactly what quilt I would make!. 

Last year, Julie created a special pattern for the Project Linus National Conference and taught a class for it, called The Happy Camper and can be purchased in her Etsy shop where she will donate 50% of proceeds to Project Linus. I decided to make this adorable quilt to be my donation and Julie will be working her quilty magic on it for me with her new partner in crime, Agnes the Longarm. She does awesome work and if you're in need of someone to quilt your project contact her through her Etsy shop. Here's a peek at what I came up with, I'm planning on writing in more detail about it in a later post...

On Tuesday, I was invited by Rosemary to join the Ladybugs for their bee meeting. I had a great time gabbing with the gals and because Dad P. had to be away on business, my girls got to tag a long again for more quilty chatter. They didn't complain though as those ladies know how to party, sweet treats and yummy food! Me and Rosemary had some fun with selfies too...she really is the cutest Ladybug eva!! Later at her house she showed me how to make a quilter's knot...yes, it only took me almost five years to learn but the fishing knots my dad taught me when I was a kid have held up pretty well over the years if I do say so myself :)

At the Ladybug meeting we talked about making star blocks for each other to create a star sampler quilt. I had thought about this sampler quilt that I saw in a book called "America's Glorious Quilts" edited by Dennis Duke and Deborah Harding that I picked up from the library a few weeks back. I really like the bright saturated colors.

I knew I wanted to contribute a paper pieced block but I wanted to find a simpler block than the ones I've been making since I'll be making nine of the same. Went to the library to look for something and found this on page 53. I think it'll work great and am excited to get started!

The post office awaits! Have a colorful day!

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Friday Five

It's been a busy week here, so for this week's edition of "The Friday Five" I thought I'd post five photos of some of the things I've been up to since my last post. 

This first photo is of an abstract drawing with colored pencils I did as an exercise in playing with line, color and texture from the book Painting Abstracts, by Rolina van Vliet, the book looks like this and her website can be found here. I didn't like the colors I originally used and thought I'd play around with it in photo editing in Picasa. It's a great artistic outlet at times when you're wanting to explore different colors and shapes or create something new from what you already have, I especially like to do this with nature photos. After the drawing was finished I took a picture of it and cropped the most interesting segment. I then inverted the colors, gave them a saturated boost and then sharpened it up a bit and played with contrast. I really enjoyed this and look forward to doing more of the exercises in the book, eventually getting to the point of using paint. :)

I finished trimming the rest of the mitered string blocks from my wip list and have been playing with different arrangements. I had forgotten that I had the mermaid block in the middle. I had purchased two of them from Kathy's Impressions on Etsy a few years ago and used one to make a pillow for a friend and then stowed this one away for a future project and forgot about it. When I was sorting out scraps and such a while back I came across it again and put it up on my wall so I could see it and remember I still have it! It's amazing how the mind starts to go after forty...tee-hee. Anyway, after I had played around with several arrangements and was just sitting and staring at the wall, it jumped out at me. I stuck it there in the middle and have left it up there so I can think on it some more. 

On Wednesday I went to my very first ever quilt guild meeting with St. Andrew Bay Quilters' Guild . A very sweet lady named Rosemary from my parish, who is so loving and kind and I wish I could just bring her to my house to live forever, invited me to go with her when she found out about my quilty habit. It was a lovely day and my daughters, who had to go with me because dad had to go out of town, didn't mind so much once they saw all the sweet refreshments! Show a kid some candy and, well you know they'll do just about anything you ask them, they didn't even argue! After the guild announcements and such, an extremely talented woman, I think named Bobbie if my memory is right, shared her quilting journey and showed us, 85 in attendance, a wide assortment of her quilts. My daughter Sofia who hasn't been very interested in quilting was thoroughly impressed when Bobbie shared the story of her first quilt (photo below)--a cathedral window quilt!!! She said she had seen a cathedral window quilt at a show in the mall, I believe she said back in 1976, and knew she had to make one like it. Three years and over 1800 pieces later it was finished! I still haven't made a quilt for Sofie and well, she wants one like this of course! Sweet Rosemary said she would put together a sample kit so she could learn since I'm not a hand stitching type, so we'll see what happens :)

A peek inside my sketchbook...I've got an idea in my head for a canvas project of Our Lady Of Guadelupe so I made a little sharpie sketch as I contemplated the project design. More to come on that later :)

Yesterday I finished all the units to the Maryland paper piecing block and will stitch it all together today and then happily mark off another wip from the list! Only five more of these blocks to go! They do come together pretty quickly once you've got all the pieces cut, papers folded and sewing groove going! 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Introducing, The Friday Five

Taking pictures is a great way to capture ideas and beautiful moments not only as a way of preserving memories but also for creative inspiration. I take a lot of pictures and have folders and folders of different pictures that I look back at from time to time when I'm needing a creative pick me up. Sometimes just playing around with editing software can be a great creative outlet in itself.

I'd like to share some of the photos that inspire me as I put together this online journal, so each Friday I'll post five of my favorite photos here. Some will be taken with my phone and some with my digital camera. All the ones this week are phone photos. Happy Friday!

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. -John Lubbock

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What To Do Next?

Scrappy improv piecing started in January last year -- grows in spurts when the mood strikes.

Giant Star baby quilt with leftovers from similar one made last year in February-- debating on adding a border and then needs quilting and binding.

BOM from Carol Doak's 50 Fabulous Paper Pieced Stars book--started in March last year with Sharyn, only six more to go and have fabrics pulled for Maryland.

Idaho, Kentucky, Alabama
Missouri, Florida, Colorado

Tula Pink's City Sampler started in June last year--grows in spurts.

Leftover trims from string quilt, inspired by Susan, and completed last August--playing with different ideas right now and have about 25 more blocks to trim plus more scraps.

Pile of  deconstructed denim -- still formulating design idea.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Crab Trap

My first finish for 2015 is this little quilt I'm gonna call, "Crab Trap". A friend had called it "Bluetiful" and it stuck, love that name for a quilt, until after it was quilted. The back of the quilt tells why :) I'm sure at some point I'll make another, larger quilt similar in design as this one and it will get the name "Bluetiful"-- I love the color blue and this type of quilt, and already have the backing fabric for when it's added to my WIPs!! 

The blue batik fabrics were kindly donated to me to play with from my friend Julie, leftovers from a beautiful braid quilt she made. The quilt will be returned to her as a donation quilt for Project Linus. Thanks so much Julie, I had fun with this, it won't be easy to give it back so I added like a thousand more photos of it to my digital hoard! Also, thanks go out to my sweet and patient daughter who hardly complained at all, and I'm being serious here, for letting me take the thousand pics of her holding it up...her arms are sure to be sore in the morning ;)

The collage below shows some of the process pics. The pieces were cutoffs from a jellyroll. I made pairs of differing values and chain pieced them together and trimmed them to make a square block. Afterwards I stitched together the trims to make four patches and then made a block of four trimming down main blocks to eight inches squared. Arranged in a pleasing placement and sewn together in rows for a total of six rows by six rows. Quilt finished at 45 inches square.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Look Back on 2014--Quilty Finishes

Whew, time is flying! Ten days into the new year already! Here's a quick look back at my 2014 quilty finishes-- five baby quilts for charity, five quilts gifted to special peeps, two mini quilt/wall hangings (a quilty Valentine for my husband and a quilty skull for me to remind myself to "sieze the day"), two pillow covers and a beach bag. The beach bag isn't quilted but it did start out as a quilt project that I decided to turn into a bag instead, and I really, really like it--A LOT! :)

The two quilts below were made by my daughters, all I did was help guide them and show them a few stitchy things on the machine and how to hand sew the binding. The quilting was done by two dear friends of mine, Sharyn and Julie --Thank you sew much for your stitches of Love and prayers!

In the above photo wearing the black veil is my daughter Postulant Phoenix, who entered Bethlehem Monastery on February 7, 2014. Below her is the quilt she finished on January 12, 2014. Wearing the white veil is her twin sister Aspirant Cheyenne, who entered the same monastery (read more here) just over a week ago on January 2, 2015. Below her is the quilt she finished on December 26, 2014. Both quilts were made using jelly rolls from the fabric designers of French General by Moda, Phoenix's quilt was made with the Josephine collection and Cheyenne's was made with the Rue Indienne collection. 

Looking back I found it a little ironic that the year began and ended with quilts for the cloister. While the year started out with the knowledge that Phoenix would enter the community of Poor Clares to continue her discernment, it wasn't known until October that Cheyenne would make the decision to further her own discernment of a vocation to religious life with the same Poor Clares. With much prayer and spiritual guidance from several mentors she has confidently taken that next step. Many heartfelt thanks to friends and family who have so generously offered their prayers and encouraging support to me and my family on this journey. May you all have a beautiful and blessed 2015!