Friday, December 18, 2009

Merry Christmas

"the stockings were hung by the chimney with care"

Indigo dyed, bamboo/cotton socks I made to tuck in Christmas packages. First I mordanted them, tied string loosely around the socks and dipped them in the dye and hung them by the fire to dry.

Last night was my bee Christmas party (I belong to 2 bees and one quilt guild). We went to my friend Kay's home. Since we had already exchanged gifts during our quilt retreat Kay and I made up little snowman embroidery kits for everyone to work on while we ate and visited. You had your choice of thread colors and boarder fabrics.
This is the snowman I worked on with navy blue thread. Everyone enjoyed working on their projects.

Kay's tree was beautiful reflecting in the window and rising to the next story. My picture is not so beautiful.

Lillian did make us all these cute note pad books for our purses. Kay had tucked the boarder fabrics in these cute candle holders.

Inside of the notebook.

My husband and I are heading to Florida to spend the holidays with the kids. We have the sleigh, oh I mean camper filled with gifts, homemade cookies, candy and fun baking projects to do with the grandchildren including gingerbread train kits and cut out sugar cookies.
In between the holidays we're going to my parents in southern Florida to canoe the waterways through the mangrove trees along the gulf. The tropical birds are beautiful through there. Then back to our daughters to help bring in the New Year.
I have a new lap top I'm taking with me so I'm hoping to post a picture of two while we're vacationing.
I hope you have a wonderful creative holiday season (I have my quilting packed, first thing I always pack).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

First Snowfall

Friday we had our first snow of winter, it was a beautiful fluffy snow.

My husband and I took a ride in the country, the spruce trees were beautiful.

Our area is well known for blueberries, the bushes looked like they were full of cotton.
Today, a few days later we now have blizzard warnings with a 8 to 12 inches of snow predicted. All the schools are closed and evening activities canceled.

Last night was a Christmas party with one of my quilt bees, these cute bags were a gift Cathy made each of us. Their called Origami bags and made with Japanese paper folding techniques. (except there is a little sewing in the end). Really clever. The party was at Laura's house, she puts up a tree in every room each with a different theme. The dinning room tree had bears on it.

Laura's been busy making doll clothes for her granddaughter for Christmas, and on the bed a quilt.

And she's working on 2 flannel snowmen quilts for the twins grandchildren.

The really amazing thing is not only does she have decorated trees in every room, cute snowflake curtains she made for the kitchen, snowmen on shelves decorating the house, the outside beautifully done with lights, wreaths and deer, doll clothes made, making quilts, hosting Christmas parties...She works 10 hour days! I don't know where she gets all the energy.

Her snowman tree in the laundry room!

Mitten and sock tree in the entry way.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Handmade gifts

While at our quilt retreat my girlfriends and I exchanged Christmas presents. Its wonderful to receive hand-made gifts and quilters are soooo good at it.

Martha bought us all a packet of 5" charm squares in new funky Christmas colors and patterns. A little bit of a oriental look to the fabric. I added a yard of matching fabric for the liner and handle and made mine into this tote bag. It's bright and cheery and fun for the holiday season.

Judy made everyone a felt pin cushion.

Mary made quilted candle mats that also could be used for hot food mats.

Lillian made wallets and a check book covers.

This is the inside of the wallet with zipper and vinyl pockets.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

My husband and I were out for a ride Saturday and came upon this large flock of turkeys, calmly eating with no worries of the upcoming holiday. There was around 28 of them.

This one looked up and checked us out then went back to eating. When we were teenagers the guys would go turkey hunting and never see a single one. Now their everywhere, it's so nice to see.My friend Kay Wilton designed and made quilt top. It is called "Star of Stars". She also designed it to be a full size quilt. It's beautiful, who doesn't love a star quilt!
(she will be teaching this in 2010 at our local quilt shop, Quilted Memories.

My friend Judy is knitting this cute scarf (commercial pattern, I didn't get the name). It's so cute between each stripe there is a knitted ruffle.

I hope you all have a Blessed Thanksgiving. See you next week!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Birthday quilt

This month was my daughters 30th birthday (I feel like it should be my 30th birthday!) I wanted to make her something special. I decided to make a quilted wall hanging with her boys doing the art work for the blocks. Before we went to visit them last spring for Easter I cut out several 8 1/2" white squares of fabric and ironed them on to freezer paper to stabilize them for coloring. When she went to work I had the boys color their favorite pictures, 2 each plus big brother did the center "Happy Birthday" block.

I heat set the blocks then pieced the top at home, the little back triangles on the corners of the pictures are 3- dimensional and are suppose to look like scrap book corners. The outside boarder fabrics reminds me of doodling. I wanted this top from the kids but not have the boarders "kidish" looking.
This is a little closer look at the drawings.

When my husband and I went back in Oct. I brought a large piece of white fabric and fabric paints. I poured a different color on a paper plate for each boy, they put their hands in it and printed them all over the fabric. When I lifted the fabric up the paint had gone through the fabric and onto the wooden picnic table leaving permanent hand prints. The fabric became the back of the quilt. I machine quilted the wall hanging at home and shipped it to Melissa in time for her birthday. She was very surprised and loved it. When I told her about the picnic table she said she had seen the hand prints and was wondering what she had done with the kids to leave those prints.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quilt Retreat

The weekend before our quilt retreat Kay, Carla and I got together and natural dyed wool as gifts for the girls on the retreat. We thought they could use the fabric for our next years quilt challenge.It rained all weekend but stopped long enough for us to do the indigo dying outside. This is a picture of our blues and greens (Osage orange bark over dyed with indigo).

I always machine wash my fabric after dying it (if the color doesn't make it in the wash I don't want to use it for making quilts). After washing all the fabric I didn't know where to hang the large amount so I put up lines in my studio. As I looked at it when I finished, it looked like the prayer flags the Buddhist monks hang in Tibet. This shows some of the wonderful colors we got.

This gave everyone a nice color selection for their quilt.

This was a few pieces we dyed at the end when we mixed dye pots and over dyed. I love how all natural dyed pieces go together. Only "nature" can accomplish that!

This was my piece for this years bee challenge (I'm in the up in a balcony photographing it). You were suppose to make a block for every month. The block was to tell a story of your month. I had started making a quilt like that before and just continued on. My blocks were different dye plants and other plants that I use in that month. I designed and hand appliqued and embroiderd each block using my dyed wools. Some of the block stories are of the plants I picked with my grandchildren in Michigan and Florida, another one is from when I went to the dye workshop on the Navajo reservation (wild carrot). The ceder I embroidered when we we're in Seattle on a Native reservation. Ceder is so important in their lives, from the canoes they carve to the hand woven hats they wear.
When I look at this quilt I am reminded of so many wonderful times spent outdoors with my family and friends, hiking to pick the dye plants, simmering them in the studio early mornings, learning ancient family dying techniques with a wonderful Navajo woman and her family in Arizona, and embroidering the blocks while we traveled around America. My wool quilts are so much more to me than making something to keep warm with (although their very warm and cozy), their my way of telling my family stories.

The day was so beautiful I took my quilt out for a "photo shoot"! Lake Michigan in the background. (I still have to quilt this top)

This is Judy's piece, she button-hole stitched all the felt pieces by hand.

Mary made a "base" of crazy quilted blocks (her sewing machine did all the stitches, they almost look hand embroidered). She then sewed on Velcro to hold the small quilts she made to change for every month. This is a few of her months, she tried different techniques on the pieces.

May, she did hand applique and yoyos.

January, hand embroidery.

And November, a pieced "taco salad". Every year Mary makes a taco salad for us to eat while at the cabin.

Lillian made four pieces to represent the special things of each season.

Kay, "recycled" a piece she made in 1984. It was a group piece from a different bee. Everyone made 12 of the same blocks, each representing a different month. Then they got together and exchanged them and each put their on tops together.

We were at the cabin for almost a week so a lot of projects were made. Quite a few were snowmen quits. How can you not love a snowman quilt! This is a few of them, Kay made the red and black one and the little wall hanging (they still need to be quilted). I machine quilted a piece I started a few years ago. Lillian had given us all a large panel of snowwomen having a quilt show. I cut mine apart and pieced it with flannel sashing and added flannel boarders. It made a nice lap size quilt to curl up with this winter.

Close up of the blocks.

I did have a few pictures of the sunsets we had while there but somehow I deleated them, oh well, my camera never looks as good as in real life.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween! I love this holiday, just a fun day for kids (and big kids) with no gifts to buy. I only wish my grand kids were here to help celebrate the holiday.I had to show you this pumpkin I bought. It looks like it's a cross between a pumpkin and a cantaloupe. I think it looks like its covered with lace everyone else thinks warts.

Again this year a group of the top floral artist from all over the Midwest gathered and created floral art at one of the designers home. The theme this year was "Floral Art - Museum Inspirations", with over 30 exhibits through the candle lit trail in the woods. This is open to the public with the entrance fees going to charity. This gazebo is the entrance of the walk. I love it and want to build one in my back yard.
This is a beautiful hand made cement bird bath set on a old tree stump. The following pictures are a few of the exhibits inspired by the great masters in the art world.

Along the creek was this exhibit inspired by the artist Andy Goldsworthy (1956-). A British artist that collaborates with nature to make his creations. Works with twigs, leaves, stones, reeds etc.

Guiseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593) An Italian painter best known for creating portrait heads of fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, books.

Ford Smith (current). Introduced to painting at age 12 by elderly Japanese painter. He paints primarily landscapes.

The floral artist who lives here designs and creates twig sculptures through out the woods.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). Spanish born but lived in France. He formed a style known as "cubism". His works reflect crisis and conflicts in symbolic terms.

Alphonse Maria Mucha (1860-1939). of Moravia. Czech art Nouveau painter and decorative artist known for his images of women.

I believe everything is natural (no fabric etc. only some wire).

Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944). A Russian artist is considered the original abstract painter (painting has no recognizable subject).

Peter Max (1937-) Born in Berlin. A multi-dimensional artist who works with oils, acrylics, water colors, dyes, charcoal.

Tiffany (1848-1933) Developed the Tiffany glass and with colored glass made vases, cigarette boxes, lampshades, and tile for walls and floor. This "lamp shade" had bit of colored glass worked in. It was beautiful hanging in the tree tops.

Edgar Degas (1834-1917) French impressionist paintings of ballet dancers and other performers. He sold his paintings for a respectable sum.
There were many, many more wonderful exhibits along with homemade cookies, coffee, cider and other treats. If you'd like to know more, this is their web site
Next week I'm leaving with my girlfriends for a week of quilting at our yearly retreat on beautiful Lake Michigan. I'll see you Nov. 10 with lots of "show and tell".

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo