Monday, May 30, 2016

Signs of Spring

One of the first signs of Spring is the activity of the Canada Geese in the area.  There were some at Sprague Lake and they put on a fascinating show for us.

Canada Geese
Another is the appearance of the Fairy Slipper or Calypso Orchids.  They are scarce and hard to find, but so delicate and dainty.

Sew a Happy Seam this week.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Winter's Last Blast II

The view from Sprague Lake was stunning on the day we took our hike.

Sprague Lake.  Rocky Mountain NP
Sew a happy seam this week.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Winter's Last Blast I

I know much of the country is basking in sunny days, warm weather and flowers.  In the mountains our heaviest snow is always in the Spring so we hold onto the cold a bit longer.  That didn't stop us taking a hike to this lovely mountain lake to enjoy the crystal ice and skeletal tree reflections.

Sprague Lake in Ice.  Rocky Mountain NP

Thank you all for your kind comments on my Phoenix Arising quilt.  The problems in making it have all dissolved and now I will just enjoy it.

Sew a happy seam this week.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

My Inheritance

As I write, I note that it is Mother's Day.  My mother left us 13 years ago, but I honor her for her love, her art, her laughter and her appreciation of what makes each individual unique.  Another quality, which has impacted my life is her bulldog stubbornness in some circumstances.  This comes in very handy in quilting as I seem to have inherited this quality to some extent.

I have been making stars to kill time.  I finished one, which I had re-designed and discovered that I didn't plan for the correct meeting of two points.  I still like the design, but I had to throw out what I had done because there was no way I could figure out how to redeem it.  My bulldog gene has not left me though.  I will do the design correctly and re-make the star.  Wasted fabric is not an issue - I'm trying to get rid of what is left from the Phoenix and there is plenty more for the star project.

If you have followed this blog you know about the troubles I had with my Phoenix quilt.  It was created from a drawing by my teenage granddaughter.  I ran into one problem after another, but that bulldog gene enhanced my determination to get it done and to do it right.  In the end, after 1 1/2 years of stitches and ripping, I finally finished.  It has been to its first show, HMQS (Home Machine Quilting Show) in Salt Lake City.  It is was granted a Judge's Choice award.

Finally I can unveil my mythological bird and show you the finished product.

Phoenix Arising
I will be taking a three week blog-cation due to family commitments.  If I have time I will stack up a couple of posts with some favorite photos.  Photos often inspire my quilting so I consider them apropos in moderation for this venue.

Sew many happy seams in the next three weeks.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Great Time Escape

After four days of cold temperatures, gray skies and snow flurries, the sun found us and it is a gorgeous day.  The mountains are pure white.  So, why can't I get anything done?  Do you ever have days like that?  Actually I have gotten plenty done, just not what I had planned.

1.  Walked the dog for 45 minutes
2.  Practiced the piano 30 or 40 minutes
3.  Made super-fiber, sourdough bread.
4.  Called my daughter to ask a couple of questions and chatted almost one hour.
5.  Ate lunch.

Wow!  That's pretty amazing ... and to think that I felt like I had not accomplished a thing the whole morning. Smell the bread? In 30 minutes we get our first bite slathered with butter melting all over our fingers.

TIP:  When you have these feelings of dis-accomplishment, sit down a minute and think about what you actually did.  Even sitting down to read a book is productive.  So is sitting on the deck watching the beauty around you.  We all need variety, relaxation and beauty in our lives to help us tap into our creativity.  A little flexibility helps too.

I didn't get a lot of old, family photos keyworded in Adobe Lightroom as planned, but that job will still be there later this afternoon.  Right now I am heading to the sewing room.

1:30 pm
I just finished another star and am without another sewing project ready at hand.  Now I need to computerize the next star design so I can print out the paper for paper piecing.  Then I will have something to sew tomorrow.  Here is the one I finished today:

I think this is my favorite so far
I spent a lot of time over the weekend doing the computer planning for my next big quilt and I am now ready to shop.  Oh goodie!!  Once I have fabric I will cover each color block with a swatch of the actual fabric.  This helps me keep things straight when I am paper piecing a complex spiral.  Below is my shopping plan, which I will put in a plastic sleeve along with a picture of the quilt:

Shopping Plan

TIP:  Add your name, address and phone number to your planning sheet when you go to the store so the store can call to let you know where you left it.  Ask me how I know!! One time my husband dropped by the quilt store to pick it up for me, and when he walked in, the class and customers all became absolutely silent.  He is big, dark and bearded, so he does not look like he belongs in a quilt store even though he is quite harmless. He picked up my papers and quickly escaped.

TIP:  It saves time and money when you are shopping if you know exactly what you need.  I always add a bit to the fabric amounts to be safe, but it is structured to avoid waste.  Yes, it takes some time before the shopping trip to plan it out, but for me it is very worthwhile.  I also live far away from quilt stores.

Here is a sneak preview of the computer drawing of one spiral for my next major project:

Definitely my favorite colors

This is going to be a challenge.  The longest piece (dark blue) is 18 inches long so it will take three pieces of paper taped together to accommodate the whole triangle.  Actually I digitally divided it into three pieces, which fit nicely all on one piece of paper to minimize waste.  I just have to cut the pieces apart and tape them together to get the long spiral.  I am going to try using surgical paper tape to reassemble the spiral.  I am hoping it will hold together until I am done.  I will do one as a tester before printing out all the sheets of paper, and will give you an update on the success or failure of this jerry-rigged endeavor.  

Sew a happy seam this week.