Thursday, April 30, 2015

Purple & Orange and Black & White

A certain purple and orange quilt arrived from Chris yesterday. I see some binding in my future.

I've entered the Black & White Crayons into the AQS Chattanooga show. I decided to enter it in the Wall Quilts - Modern category because it is "improvisationally pieced" and contains a minimal number of colors.  We'll see.

I've got a lot of the posts up in the new "Pages" and I've got them properly sorted. Over the next few days I'll add links to each of my quilts and the Red Letter Alphabet. I also have to add photos and connect the dots.  In the meantime, it's nice to be able to find something I'm looking for...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


I had to make one. Then I had to make another.

I like these, but I am thinking of how I can push them around even more...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


 I sent the Blue Deco quilt to Chris for quilting. That means the dining room table is naked.

I liked Julie's No Ugly Flowers so much....
that I decided I had to do a version in spring-y and summer-y colors for my table.

 I picked some greens.
I picked some yellows.

Now I need some pinks and maybe some blues and some oranges. And some WOWs (oh gee darn, that's easy).

This is from Sujata Shah's book, Cultural Fusion Quilts.

One final note. On the sidebar is a new link "Special Posts." It's not finished, but when I'm done I'll have links to the Red Letter  Alphabet Series, start and end dates for all my quilts, links to some of my favorite posts (like "If He Can Do It" and the Slashed Squares tutorial) and the ones where I say what I think about color and design, composition, and whatnot. It's a work in progress. If there's something you really want to see, let me know.  And yes, "The Value of Meh" will be there too.

I had a grand weekend. On Sunday I chatted with Chris for over two hours, and last night I talked to Julie for almost three. Nothing like a bit of high quality gal-pal time to improve just about anything!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Asterisks are Fun!

It's always interesting to teach a class in free piecing techniques. The students want to know exactly how big to cut something. If I say, cut a square of background fabric about 4-1/2", that's what I get . EXACTLY 4-1/2" squares. If I say, sew a 2-1/2" wide strip to one side, they ask how big? (4-1/2"). If I say, now cut it crosswise into 1" wide strips, they say, "I have an extra piece left over," and hold up that last 1/2" piece. Then they frown when I tell them they can throw it out

Huh? They say, that's wasteful. How much fabric is it? I ask. Isn't it better to have extra than to have to do it over again?

Um, yeah, actually...

The first hour is generally just getting them to get used to "cut a piece and sew it to something else." It's getting them to press "to minimize bulk" instead of consistently pressing to the dark fabric. It's getting them used to something that isn't quite perfect, and adapting on the fly.

After that first hour, they "get it" and start to have fun.

They figure it out, see the possibilities, and understand how they can use it for other things.

It was a fun day.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Birds, Butterflies & Asterisks, Oh My!

I'll be at Quilted Threads today, teaching a class on the birds, asterisk flowers, hearts and my free-pieced butterflies. 

We're going to have fun.  I've got something going in the slow-cooker for dinner tonight, so dinner will be ready when I get home. Whee!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Happy Birthday Dear Son!

Happy Birthday to my dear son!

He made this name panel all by himself. I tell my students if he can do it, they can do it too.

When my friend Helen from Oz saw this photo she said he was a "spunk," which is an Aussie term for a cute guy.

 One weekend we took three partially busted laptops and built one functional laptop that ran Linux. We had a ball, and this photo always makes me smile every time I look at it.

He is a Third Black Belt in Karate (hence his blog name, Mr Karate).

He loved Gizzy (the cat who came before Millie), and Gizzy loved him.

 This photo was taken at a birthday party several years ago where we had brownies and ice cream instead of cake. If you're a 3rd degree Black Belt and bicycle 40 miles a day, you can eat four homemade brownies and a big scoops of ice cream any time you want.

Even when he was really little he always had a sense of humor. Here he was hiding from me.

Happy birthday my darling. I love you lots. I love your new wife too!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Supermarket Roses

I'm preparing for a class at Quilted Threads, so there's not much sewing going on around here this week.  I was at the local Fresh Market and saw roses for sale, 10 for 10 dollars. I don't usually buy flowers at the grocery store, but these looked really good, so I bought some. I was glad I had a large vase.

 They've really held up well.

They are enormous. It's been lovely to have them in the house.

Monday, April 20, 2015

In The Pink

I hung up the pink letters and added a dried flower wreath to the front door. I am happy with the way it looks.

For Pat, who was worried about what the neighborhood association might say, this is what it looks like from outside. You can hardly tell.  As you can all see I have some work to do on the front steps.  A job for another sunny weekend.

By the way, a week ago I traded in my car. I continue to be amazed how long it takes to do that.  I was hungry afterward, so I took myself to my favorite restaurant where I indulged in dessert.

My first reaction was embarrassment, but I got over it.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Garden Weekend

I got home last night to find three boxes of plants. There are four Foxglove, some Heucheras and some ornamental grasses. I also have a small bush for the front yard.

I've painted the second coat of pink on the doors and am hoping to (finally) hang the pink letters on the porch. Depending on how things go, I'll be quilting the little welcome banner.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Little House

Woo Hoo!  I like this. I love the color crayon walkway and the colored squares make me think of a flower garden.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Welcome House

 A couple of days ago, my pal Valerie suggested I add a mini "L" and "T" to my little house. As soon as I read her comment I knew I'd have to change my house. I wasn't comfortable with the amount of empty space or the size of the door in the original house.

I like this a lot better. It's not fussy-perfect, and it isn't intended to be.

The inner outline of the blue tape represents my size restriction for the finished welcome panel.

I'm not quite sure what to do to fill up the empty spaces yet, but I have lots of ideas, so I'm not worried. I have a plan for a colorful walkway, and I want a little tree or two.

What's really funny is that I've been watching "Tiny House Nation" while I've been making this panel. Coincidence?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pink, Pink, Pink!

Oh what a wonderful weekend! I traded in my car for a nicer, spiffier model, and the weather was so nice I was able to spend some time cleaning up in the garden.

It's a big deal because I didn't have enough time to clean up the yard before winter came. I have some plans for the front, but not much because I want to see what's there first.

What really got me pumped was finally being able to paint the doors pink.

 This is the back door. As you can see it was brick red, so it will probably need at least three coats of paint.
I think it's going to look so good when it's PINK!

The front door was also brick red, and will need three coats as well.

I'll be painting the final coats of paint on this door with a paint roller. You can see the pink letters over on the right.

The side door is textured metal. This is where the little welcome quilt will hang.

I am really happy with the side door. I think it's going to look terrific when it is finished.  See the blue mat? When I bought it, I thought I was going to paint the door blue. Oh well. Most people will never notice, and it will look good anyway.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Little House Welcome

I finished the WELCOME for the door panel, and got started on the house. I was thinking of a bright pink house, but something stopped me. My house is tan, and the door will be bright pink. If I was welcoming friends into my house, shouldn't the house on the panel resemble, at least a little bit, my own house?  So this house is light brown and the door is pink. And of course you can see Millie and I in the windows.

It's a start.

Charlotte, Your comment yesterday deserves a reply, but I don't have time right now to do it. I promise I shall address the issue in an upcoming post. Short answer: I blog to share what I am doing.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


This is the WELCOME for the little quilt I am planning for my side door. Letters do tend to grow, but I have more "wiggle room in the height of the panel than I do in the width. I am not quite sure about these colors and fabrics, but hey, I have to start somewhere.

As for the comments in yesterday's post, you guys sure are funny.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Little Welcome - with an Update

Like the Artist Alphonse Mucha, I don't like empty space.

When I come home each day, I'm confronted with this homely space on my side door. When the weather warms up, I'll paint the door pink, like the letters in Monday's post, but the space will still be empty.

  I measured it, and thought about something quilted to put there. It would have to describe me and what I do. A little Welcome panel with a house and a tree would be just the ticket. There would be a cat in the window, of course, and maybe a lady at a sewing machine.  With one square at one inch, the letters would have to be petite, but I think it would be a lovely addition.


Megan, The door faces North, so it never gets any direct sun. The entryway is covered with an awning, so it never gets wet from rain or snow, and in New England we have an addtional "storm door" in the winter. In the summer, the window gets replaced with a screen, so the fresh air can come in, but the bugs stay out. The little quilt will be well protected and last a long time (until I get bored and decide to replace it.)

Kathy, by all means, steal away. As Picasso said, "Good artists copy, great artists steal."

Charlotte, the door is textured metal. Painting it would require special paints and more time and effort than I am willing to expend. Besides, I like having the option to change my mind.

Sharon, am I going to piece the letters? Is the sky blue? Is the Pope Catholic? They sure aren't going to be applique'd! LOL! Thanks for the laugh.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Pink Letter Surgery

I didn't do any sewing over the weekend; it was all devoted to home improvements. 

 I replaced the faucet in the bathroom sink, and installed a massaging shower head in the shower. 

I bought a new floor lamp for the sewing studio (because I stole one for the living room.)
While at the hardware store I also bought some small tubes of Super Glue and some stick-on hooks. I glued the pieces of the broken serif on the letter T together.

Hanging the letter T will be easy, but the letter L will be a little bit tricky, but this is more or less where they are going to go. They aren't hung up permanently quite yet.

If you want to know the full story of these pink letters, follow these links.
1. Letters in 3-D
2. Of Pink Letters...
3. Pink Letters
4. Change Partners & Dance, Redux

Friday, April 3, 2015

Blue Deco Iris

Here is the backing for the Blue Deco Quilt.
It's from the Free Spirit collection from Westminster Fabrics. Each iris is about six to eight inches across.

 I wanted something summery.

When I spoke to the Amoskeag Quilter's Guild in February, one of the members was looking at the back of one of my quilts.

 "You like busy backs," she said.

"No," I replied, "I think the backs are so big they need a fabric with a big scale to carry it off. I think a tiny all over print looks plain and boring." We all know how much I like plain and boring (NOT!)

All the backings of my quilts are chosen with the front in mind. They all coordinate.  Like Chris said, when she saw the backing I had prepared for my sampler quilt, Letters From Home, "I like that you didn't drop the ball on the back."

So I work hard not to "drop the ball" on the backing. I never, ever, pick something just because it's in my stash and I have a lot of it.

PS, Marei, the chairs may look red, but they are actually cherry wood, varnished but unpainted.