Just Focus ~

A quilter bud of mine says she likes to have a place for her eyes to focus when looking at a quilt! 

For Renea.....just focus on this quilt - if you can! 

charm pack/layer cake sew and slice....mod quilt - marty mason



 I had a Malka Dubrawsky layer cake "from outside in" and also one of her charm pack fabric designs  "poems from pebbles" (Moda) and I had a technique I'd been itching to try that I saw at QuiltCon 2015.  Kansas Troubles owner, Lynne Hagmeier, had a most delightful demo and a great story.  It was on a quilt cruise (if memory serves me) and she wanted her class to be a simple one.  All the group had to do was center a charm pack square on top of a layer cake square and sew the charm block down.  She said it took the quilters hours and hours to get that done......thus, she designed a ruler.  And her demo at QuiltCon 2015 was all about that ruler.    I didn't make that purchase.  But, I did come home and place my charm block somewhere in the layer cake block.  Just as long as it was on a cutting line, then that was all that was required. 


charm pack/layer cake sew and slice....mod quilt - marty mason
 
 I then stitched around the charm block with a 1/4" seam so that it has a wonderful raw edge.  Next step is to cut the layer cake block dead center, both horizonal and vertical to make four new 5" blocks.  Mix 'em up and sew together.   Notice the quilt in the background picture with Lynne and Jenny - that's the traditional block using this technique.    Isn't it a great one? 

Name of this one is "Just Focus....If You Can." 


Mod quilt:  marty mason











 

In "The Skinny"

I found a new-to-me font this morning......"The Skinny"  and decided to play for a bit.  And then I remembered a hilarious conversation with friends this week.  There's something unique about Southern lingo.  We redefine words and use that re-definition  so much that it becomes gospel around here. 

The gospel on Southern:



I'm fixin' to tell you what I mean.   For many folks, fix means to repair.  For us southern folk, fixin' means we are getting ready to or about  to do a thing or two.  I tell the HuMan most every day that it's time to start fixin' supper or even better, "I'm fixin' to start on a new quilt."  When he asks where I'm going or what I'm about to do, I just tell him that I'm fixin' to go here and I'm fixin' to do this and that and he now knows exactly what's going on.  I told a close friend just the other day that I was fixin' to get ready to do a little sewing.  She's still laughing at me wondering how long that was going to take! 

And then there is this thing about going to the grocery, or just about anywhere where 'things' need to be contained before one can get out of the store.  Down here, we put our groceries into sacks.   When I go to Walmart for new underwear, my new undies are packaged for takeout in a sack.  You may have your takeout items put into a bag, but my takeout always goes into a SACK!  

We continued quilting and laughing about our common denominator, our re-defined words.  One southern quilting bud told a story about a northern friend of hers who always pressed a button when she wanted to start her sewing machine.    I, however, PUSH all my buttons to get things started.  I also push the doorbell as well as the shopping cart and vacuum cleaner but always  PRESS my wrinkled skirt before I dress. 

The list could go on, but back to my new-to-me "Skinny" font - newly incorporated in a photoshop collage...one with color, one without. 
 
Rejoice.  It's Sunday. 

The gospel on Southern:
 
 


 
 
 

A Lyric To Live By ~

I've been making clothesline rope baskets, smiling all the way......which prompted a lyric to live by by one of my favorite groups from the past - Supertramp - Give A Little Bit of Your Love. 





A painted rope....basket





 

Jewelry Travel Cuffs

These nifty little jewelry travel cuffs weren't on my today's to-do list; however, they are done.  A thrift store shopping friend found a video on how to use every part of a thrift store shirt and that includes the cuffs!  What a carefree way to store each piece of jewelry while at home or on the road. 

I even made one or two for the youngest boys to store their magnetic rocks....the ones they'll be getting at Christmas time.  Yes, Becky reminded me this morning that we only have 20 Fridays left until Christmas....and for that I am thankful, while wishing for 51.   

Jewelry Travel Cuffs
 
 
 
 
Jewelry Travel Cuffs







Jewelry Travel Cuffs
 





Dressed in improv style

I've learned something new....that I can take a picture, any picture, and erase and draw and have fun.  Here's a little cutie pie dressed in one of my improv style quilts. 

All is well today: 


 
 
 
This quilt is quilted and bound, washed and dried 'til it feels good and is now ready to be donated.  It just takes a few scraps to make me happy.   Oh, yes....all is well.  
 
 
 
 

It's An Attitude ~

I love that my quilts have an attitude!  Yay! Summer Solstice quilt top is completed.

Ginger stopped by last week and we got ourselves registered for a Houston International Quilt Festival workshop (fingers crossed and hoping) with Karen Eikmeier.  While here, Ginger helped me with the fabric border layout - a great one....for my Summer Solstice.  But after she went about her business, I discovered that I didn't have enough of each of the four fabrics needed to complete the border.  Not to be totally outdone and much against Ginger's better judgment, I added more fabrics so that my outer border developed an Attitude (with a capital A).   The pattern calls for four fabrics to sew together alternately around to make the outer border.....I think have 20 in this border...yikes.  Yet, I love everything about my quilt.....especially that it is finished.

Summer Solstice quilt top with a border with Attitude

















 

Program Management ~



I opened my email Spam folder this morning to discover that I had mail.  Subject line read:  "Hello, Are you Still Alive?''   I know I don't make big waves in my small little world so I didn't answer, figuring if we were real friends, then the writer would know if I'm alive. 

But the question did prompt a topic for a blog post.  You just never know from where a topic of conversation can come. 

July, 2015 Calendar



And the same is true in getting programs for quilt guilds.  I am currently program chair for one quilt guild and have been past program getter for another guild to which I belong.   I am constantly seeking performers and sometimes I'm ready to ask the question "Is there anyone alive out there?  If so, will you come and do a program for us."   Of course, just kidding.

I have found in the five years I have actively sought performers, that there is no lack of talent in our community.   And talented people do love to share.   We love to talk about what we do and how we do it and where we found the inspiration,  pattern and materials and how we changed it to make it our own.   If I like what I'm hearing, then certainly the others in my guild will enjoy this too.  I usually ask right then and there while the fire is hot, while there is still excitement in her voice, if she will share the project with the group.  I always know when we have an open date.  Usually, give her two open dates.  You know, we all love options.   I'm seldom disappointed.  There is usually an eager "Yes, I would love to come for a visit and share my project."  
































In keeping with the spirit, I  propose that the officer in charge of programs not be called Vice President, but rather Program Manager.   How fun.

 Kinda like in the films....what are they called?  Casters....you know the ones who find the actor for each part in the movie.  Except I'm casting an actor a month to come blow their horn.    How easy is that?  Program Manager! Now, that's a good thing.  













 

July



A few thoughts along the way today ~

the first day of July.  July, the warmest month in the Northern Hemisphere and coldest in the Southern Hemisphere.  Its birthstone, the fiery red ruby, represents love, passion and courage.

If you are in the Northern Hemisphere with me, you darn well know that it's hot and as I stroll about the garden with outside kitty, we hear the hum of air-conditioners.  Which brings about another thought:  Why aren't they called air-coolers?   

And I had to look it up.  I've forgotten so much about punctuation rules and wasn't sure whether its' birthstone or its birthstone was correct.  Just in case you need to know.....personal pronouns hers, ours, yours, theirs, its, whose, and oneself never take an apostrophe.

And, I am filled with courage to blog about much to do about nothing!

Interject picture # 1 to alleviate the dialog boredom: 

Improvisational blocks put together in quilt as you go fashion


I've been working on a multitude of projects this week.....some may call that multi-tasking, I call it  insanity.

 
 
I took a few of my favorite fabric scraps and made a quilt to donate.  I am so thankful and enjoy giving back as often as I can.   I can't stop the ill of the town, but I can give to a child who may be hurting. 
 
Improvisational blocks put together in quilt as you go fashion
 

Adding picture # 2 for the same reason as stated above:   to alleviate dialog boredom. 



Adding picture # 3 because I ran out of thoughts along the way ~
 
a photoshop leaf manipulation.....marty mason






 

Summer Solstice: A Life Of Its Own



Oh, Yes!  I've been auditioning inner border fabrics and it's beginning to take on a life of its own.

I did so enjoy this modern fabric but decided it would be making too much of a statement so I rejected it......then pulled it back out again with a new attitude.

Summer Solstice:  A Life Of Its Own
 
 
And, in that same spirit, I auditioned it with the little peachy border.  Works very peachily for me. 
Summer Solstice:  A Life Of Its Own
 
I'm now wrapping the lone star with some of my favorite fabrics and loving that it is beginning to take on a life of its own.


Summer Solstice:  A Life Of Its Own
 
 
 Okay.....at this point, I again reversed the center points to the outer points and like how the bolder star tips are sparking on each corner fabric.  I'm also really liking that modern look in the top fabric.  Seems to be a perfect separation for each corner fabric.  I need to re-think the peach border (or maybe not). 


Summer Solstice:  A Life Of Its Own
 
 
Oh, yes.....A Life Of Its Own
 
 
 
 
 

Summer Solstice:  A Life Of Its Own

All eight of the small New York beauty blocks (aqua and yellow) are completed, now to tackle the large gray and orange ones.  When all that is done, perhaps I can tell more about how those borders will fit.  Thankfully, this quilt's life isn't set in stone and can take on a new one with just the change of a fabric. 
 My day is cut out for me. 
 
 
 

Why not embrace the Summer Solstice ~



That's just exactly what the twenty of us did......embraced the pleasure we had in a Summer Solstice workshop taught by Jan Mathews.  Jan is a Judy Niemeyer certified teacher coming out of Texas, and how perfect was she for our group.  The room was hot but Jan stayed cool.   Amid all the mumbling and second guessing and ripping, then silence and sewing, mumbling and ripping, Jan got us through every step of how to construct the Summer Solstice design. 

























My construction was not without an OOPS or two!  I knew the minute Susan walked away from my lonestar with a giggle in her throat, that she had spotted an oops, but since it was late afternoon on the second day and we had to shut it down, I didn't have time to find the error of my ways.

First thing this morning I spread my star out and there it was - my purple circle around the star didn't align with the other purples,  nor did the peachy circle feel right.  Oh, gees, I had reversed the two. 







Now it's ripped and re-sewn and looking much better. 
















What isn't looking better is one of the border options I had chosen before the workshop.  Thankfully I didn't make a final border decision so no fabric has been cut.   I've been knee-deep in fabric this morning looking for just the right border choices.  Not satisfied yet, but I'll get there. 




What seems to be complicating things is that I switched the layout so the dark fabrics make the inner star and that puts the green and blue alternating on the outer star points.  I'm thinking I may have to do more ripping to replace the four green tips with the blue.  We'll see.  I really wanted to use a print frabric on the outer borders rather than a solid, just to jazz it up a bit, but I'm not finding just the right print in my fabric stash.  Now, what's a quilter to do? 

































In the meantime, I have six more New York beauty blocks to finish and that's going to take a while.

 

There will be more Summer Solstice news and views as I progress.