Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March OPAM Finishes

It's been a lovely evening. DD's 26th birthday is tomorrow and she's got plans so we had a lovely dinner and celebration this evening. She requested grilled garlic and red pepper shrimp and warm bacon/egg/frisee salad. To that I added steaks, steamed artichokes and the hubs made his special baked potatoes. Add to that a couple pitchers of margaritas and an ice cream cake and it was the perfect birthday celebration (of course, a card full of cash to take to the casino tomorrow (where she's celebrating with her friends), was the real icing on the cake, as far as she was concerned).

Photo above is my studio orchid. Almost in full bloom. It seems to really like the creative vibe in here. I can't remember if was the blooming orchid in here last year or not. There's another in bloom downstairs. I should bring it up to keep this one company.

The reason I'm here is to post two OPAM finishes for March. I almost had another (the challenge quilt), but I still haven't gotten the binding. If you know me, you know when I say it's going to be done that you need to add a week or two to that date. (And if you want me there at 4:00, be sure to tell me you need me at 3:30).

Here's First Cloth Convergence:

This one is Opposites Attract. If I haven't mentioned it before, each black on white fabric is the exact print as each white on black fabric used. Needle turn applique (my first foray) and machine quilted. Swarovski crystal embellishments (also a first).


Well, tomorrow is another day. Working, of course. Jealous of the hubs who is taking the day off to golf. I should be able to get some sewing done tomorrow evening. I've got to get a head start on April finishes. There's a couple of Bernina mastery course notebooks, an embroidery module, cutwork software and EQ6 all demanding my attention. I need to start parcelling out time to spend on each, in addition to tackling some of the projects waiting in the wings.

Spring brings us a fresh start. I hope to make the best of it, and also find time to tend to the garden. Where's my DayTimer?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Even More Lancaster Photos

Sorry I missed yesterday. Didn't even get a chance to sew. Nor tonight. Tonight I decided to actually be on top of something and made airline reservations for Vegas at the end of August and booked 2 of 6 hotel nights. Hoping to hotel hop on comps, so I jumped on a free Friday and Satruday night at Mirage while it was still available. Need to book Weds/Thurs and Sun/Mon. Just waiting for offers to come in.

It's Vegas instead of Houston this year (unless I win the lottery between now and the first week of November). But the airfare was better if we spent extra days, and since the hotels are free, it's a 7 day trip this year--lots of time to shop hop the local quilt shops this trip. Even better if I can win some money in the casinos to spend (maniacal laughter).

Here's some more Lancaster photos with close ups of the fabulous stitching to give you some inspiration.

This one was just amazing:

And I loved the embellishments on this one.

How do you know how to fill in with the stitches? These artists always seem to pick the right stitching to fill in areas to best convey the texture. I wonder if there's a class for this?


Okay, enough for tonight. Enjoy the photos. Tomorrow's plan is to bind the challenge quilt (which I am pretty sure is going to be the only non-art quilt entered in this challenge....I need a class for that too). I need to iron my bindings and get them stitched on so I can get the hand sewing out of the way tomorrow night.

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite! 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

More Lancaster AQS Photos

Today we'll feature some of the non-winning entries. Let's focus on wild animals.

Pretty cool. The border on this zebra is a print, it's not pieced together stripes.

So today, I earned bonus points for controlling the urge to run out to the Fat Quarter Frenzy at Capital Quilts. Sure, FQs were $1.25 each, no limit. And yes, they increase to $2.75 apiece tomorrow. And while we all know that you can never have enough fabric, I exercised superhero control and refrained from leaving the studio.

An hour before the sale began, I took critical inventory of the FQ stock in my cutting table, and I'm pretty sure that I have more FQs than I could possibly use up in the next five years. That was my 'aha' moment. I need to use up what I have. Be it on charity quilts, donations, strip needs to move out before new ones can move in. Such a noble mindset for a rainy Sunday afternoon. It helps to adopt the mantra that what you let pass by today will be replaced by something even more eye-catching tomorrow.

I did pick these up at the show on Friday. They've all got a bit of metallic/glitter in them. And with packaging like this, how could you possibly resist.

Neatly folded under a wide satin ribbon with a classy label.

Anyway, I've got to get back to the machine quilting on the challenge quilt. Been working on it all day and I'm almost done. Last night I bound the other 2 show quilts, and sewed on the sleeves. All that's left to complete are the labels, so we are on the fast track for finishes in March. Woo hoo!

Check back tomorrow for a few more show photos. I'll leave you with a closeup of yesterday's begonia. Amazing how the stitching brings the flower to life.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Back from a Friday in Lancaster

The first AQS show in Lancaster was very satisfying. Lots of vendors (though quite a few of the big ones usually in attendance were missing), nice quilts (I really expected there to be a lot more on display--maybe there were, but because they were interspersed among the vendor stalls it just seemed like there were more vendors than quilts), and a lot of ground to cover, as it was spread over 2 locations, and 3 floors in the Convention Center (which is really just a large hotel with big ballrooms).We weren't able to speak with anyone who had taken classes, it seems that everyone we ran into on the shuttle bus or at lunch was there for the day, as we were, but it was defnitely the go-to show for March and next year I'll look into taking classes.

As in Houston, the lovely Eleanor Burns was in her booth demoing her technique and signing books, bags and patterns. The show was super crowded, and this was on Friday, I can imagine that today you will barely be able to move on your own accord, instead, being herded with the rest of the cattle past the vendor booths and the exhibits.

The noncompetitive exhibits were fabulous. In the secondary Liberty Hall building, where you parked, which seemed no more than an afterthought, or overflow of vendors they overbooked for the initial space at the convention center, there hung an exhibit of wallhangings including some made by famous quilters (who do not have any long stitches or little burps in their machine quilting).  Also, the Coastal Quilters in New England had panel landscape quilts where they would take a photo, chop it into panels and a person would make one of the panels and then they would hang them all together. These were amazing. Below is Fenway Park, just one of about a half dozen or so on display.

Over at the Convention Center the main area was where the majority of vendors were located along with the competitive quilts. I'll pepper my next few posts with quilt shots, but mostly I was taking close-up shots of machine quilting done on everything. (I was in student mode yesterday--in addition to shop mode).

If you can zoom on the alphabet sampler, you'll see embroidered in the border are the names of the quilt blocks. And I hope you can see the detail in the begonia as well.

What did I buy? Did I say I wasn't going to buy any fabric? I lied. This is the first show I've been to with an abundance of Australian textile, so you know that came home with me, as did a Kaffe Fassett jelly roll (which I am dying to throw caution to the wind, discard every other project I am in the middle of and start working with), and 8 one yard cuts of the most fabulous traditional prints by Batiks by Design (that the hubs immediately latched onto saying 'we could put some of those in MY quilt', yeah, sure hon....HANDS OFF!!!).

Batiks by Design haul

Right now I'm off to grab a last cuppa Joe and work on some of my need to be finished projects (blowing off car shopping today---shopped out after yesterday). I think I also need to run out to the beer and wine for something that will soothe the apparent chemical burn suffered to the roof of my mouth from what must have been thousand-year old sauerkraut or possibly Russian dressing thickened with lye on the Reuben I had for dinner at some fifth-rate diner we stopped at for dinner on the way home last night (on the recommendation of one of my travel companions.). It's as if I had drank a cup of boiling Draino tea.  If you're ever headed back from Lancaster on Rt. 30, STAY OUT OF DINERS!! Stick to McDonalds and Wendys.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Not Bad For A Tuesday

.The hubs brought home flowers and the new red velvet cake yogurt. Of course, I had gone out merchandising and left him with a full dishwasher to empty, and he had to take care of that before he could start making dinner (beef stroganoff). He's a keeper. (And tomorrow he's fixing chicken Kiev.)

Not sure you can see the little sawgrass/palmetto like quilting on the back of this, but it was an interesting foray into the 'dark side' (stepping outside of the walking foot/meandering box).

 And staying comfortably inside the lines, all the green and the tan/orange inside boxes/lines/little squares were painstakingly meandered. That meant starting and stopping in each area. Let's count.....that would be 72 starts and stops and some of those little areas are 1/2"x1/2". (Pats self on back)

All that's left for this one is the hanging sleeve and the binding. I need to look up hanging sleeve since I'll be making 3 of them.

We are going to the Lacaster AQS show on Friday. I've taken the day off work and we just need to work out some logistics about leaving early enough to get there when the show opens, and we're good to go. It's possible we'd have time to make a few other stops if we're early and organized, so I've done my part by printing out the vendor list for both the show venue and the Quilt Blossom Festival up the street. 

Since it's 4 hours passenger time, I've prepared a little travel kit to pass the time in a productive way. (There's only so much license plate bingo one cay play, particularly since we'll likely see more buggies than cars).

All the little felted goobers have been cut out and glued on to the egg panels with a dab of glue so they're easier to hand applique. Hopefully I'll get them all stitched on and I'll actually have these assembled, stuffed and whip-stitched by Easter.

Speaking of which, I suppose it's about time to pull out a few Easter decorations...or maybe not. I'll have to see how this weekend goes. The plan is to take the dreaded trip to the car dealer on Saturday. I've let the month slip by with no progress on the car quest. (Of course, there's been no progress on the income tax front either, but you don't see me rushing to tick that off the old to do list (sigh).)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Yesterday Was National Quilt Day and I Took It Seriously

Got the quilting and embellishing done on the Opposites Attract needleturn applique. All it needs now is a hanging sleeve and we can tic one off for March.


First Convergence has had it's walking footwork done and a start at freemotion on two of the borders. Not sure what I'm going to do on the face of it yet. The other two borders are a different print, so obviously loosely following the fabric pattern isn't going to work. Need to put on thinking cap and rethread with green.

House is clean, laundry is done, it's been a fabulous Spring weekend, even if I spent it inside (I did have the windows open though).

All that's left is to make a back for the challenge quilt and put that together and I'll have all three pieces ready for the show drop off on April 17th. Woo hoo!

I've pulled out a wool felt Easter egg kit I bought last year and never got to, though I am seriously thinking about putting it back in the closet for next year rather than stress myself out not finishing that for Easter :)

Now if only I can shake the allergy/cold symptoms left over from last week's strep, before Friday's trip to Lancaster, life will be just peachy.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

If you've read my blog in the past few days, you might want to go get a throat culture

Amazingly, I've got Strep. What's up with that? Thought it was a bout of seasonal allergies, but when I woke up this morning, did not want to get out of bed ('s a work day, right?...nothing strange about that, sorry), could barely swallow or speak,  I thought I should maybe run up and let the doc have a look.  Doctor's orders are I can't go to work until Thursday (of course I can telecommute-just no human contact),  toss out the toothbrush and get a new one after tomorrow, remember to take a pill for the next 4 days and I'll be good as new in time to go to the Lancaster AQS show next weekend.

Not quite in a quilty mood, maybe sometime tomorrow. I've added more fabric to the stable. I justified this as a necessity for seasonal table quilting purposes, and Hancocks of Paducah was having a not-to-be passed by sale. The package arrived today.

Kaufman patriotic batiks.

I was actually pretty proud of myself. I had a cart full of Kaffe fabs and a mess of blue and green batiks, but I came to my senses and reminded myself of all the projects I've already got laid out that aren't started and wisely pared the order down to just these three cuts. (Good girl! Though the hubs isn't seeing 'only 3 cuts instead of four times that', he's still seeing 'more fabric'.)

I've got figure out what day to go to Lancaster next week. Do I go with my sister and her friend for a day trip, or do I deposit the dogs at the daughter's and drag the hubs for an overnight and hope there's a golf course nearby, because the last thing I want to do is be leashed to the hubs in the vendor mall of a big quilt show. I have to make up my mind tomorrow morning before my peeved  (because I didn't call her back tonight) sister phones.

Well, the eyes are getting itchy and tired, the lashes need their nightly application of Latisse, I'm not feeling the blogertainment vibe tonight and I think a nice warm cup of cocoa would do wonders for my throat. Hopefully I'll feel up to getting in a little stitching I can show off tomorrow night.

Take care, and don't forget the hand sanitizer--as I apparently did.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Turning off the oven now

Are they done yet?

We are done with cupcakes. The chocolate joins my collection, though I do love a Red Velvet cupcake.

I may get something else started tonight, but not sure. I'm being distracted by Celebrity Apprentice...GO TENACITY!

Cupcake Explosion

First thing out the gate this morning and while stopping to do at least one thing creative before plugging in the vacuum, I was adding a little stuffing to the chocolate cupcake pincushion and it exploded. Can't blame this one on the quiltergeists--that'll teach me to use only 2 strands of embroidery floss!. So I had to sit down and regather (doubled the floss strand this time)/

Much better. No more creasing, and it will be much puffier once it's seated and glued into the ramekin. Need to add a little more stuffing to the red velvet and vanilla cupcakes and do a little hand embroidery and add beads and cherries and I'm done. Then we're off to do a little quilting, or maybe maybe make some donut pincushions. Depends on the mood.

Right now, it's back to vacuuming and dusting. Must get the drudgery out of the way before we can play. Another rainy day, perfect for hanging in the studio.

Wherever you live, whatever your weather, I hope you get to spend a little of your day on creative endeavors and have some fun.