2013: An Opportunity for Challenges

As if I didn't have enough to do!  I went and joined the Art Quilts Around the World group where we meet an art quilt challenge presented to us every two months.  Today was the reveal day for all thirty in the group to unveil the first challenge:  Self-Portrait. 

Here was my inspiration picture: 

Happiness depends upon ourselves ~ Aristotle

and my rendition of me:  hedgehog morning hair and all!

Self Portrait: Art Quilts Around the World Challenge

And a closer view: 

Yes, I think Aristotle had it right:  Happiness depends upon ourselves. 

Stuck In The Middle With you...lyrics to live by!

Stealers Wheel 'stuck in the middle with you'
Lyrics to Live By:  Stuck In The Middle With You
Stealers Wheel
When the picture fits the name of the song and the band that sings it, then use it to get past that stuck feeling ~
I wasn't feeling very creative this morning:  Stuck in the middle of wanting to make a modern quilt, an art quilt, continue working on a traditional quilt or painting.  Guess I'll just go pull out the vacuum cleaner or even better, the toilet bowl brush!  Either chore should help me make a quick decision on what fun stuff to work on!   


Making 'Streaks of Lightning' Quilt

Was it just yesterday that I opened my NELA Quilt Guild newsletter and saw a picture of a 'Streaks of Lightning' Quilt.....said to self, somewhere I have one of these quilts started.  Well, then the search was on to find my work-in-progress, begun so long ago that I had forgotten it!

Streak of Lightning Quilt Pattern

The idea came to me last year as I was sorting through books to rid myself of.   I was intrigued by the 'Streaks of Lightning'  quilt pattern featured in The Better Homes and Gardens America's Heritage Quilts, ppgs 114-116.  My fabric scraps were gathered, my half-square triangles were sewn and trimmed and then the holidays were upon me so I put this WIP away.....until this morning!

half-square triangles for Streak of Lightning quilt

Streak of Lightning quilt block

Thank you NELA Quilt Guild for the nudge.

The Big Picture.....by Ordinary Days Cast

I’ll have a mocha caramel latte-chino
Made with skim milk, no whipped cream
Please put that in a grande cup
But use the same amount of coffee that you’d put into a tall
That way there’s about an inch of extra room on top
To stir in my own nutmeg without spilling any coffee at all
What do you want?

I’ll have a tea.

What kind?

Just. Tea?

He’ll have your green Darjeeling tea,
Which I’m sure you know cannot be steeped for more than ninety-five seconds.
Shall we?
So, what’s your deal?

My what?

Your deal. What are you about?

Well, I’m about five foot five, I guess.
You really don’t find me funny at all.

Funny, yes. Amusing, no.
But seriously, Warren, I want to know.
Describe to me your big picture

Well, there’s this Picasso

Don’t start.
Everyone’s got a big picture.
Something they shoot for that sets them apart.
We’ve all got an awful lot to do before we’re dead.
So, where do you see yourself in, say, five years?

I haven’t thought that far ahead.

Are you gonna be serious?

Do I have to.
Well. I work for an artist.

Tell me what you do.

I don’t know, I watch his cat.
And this morning I fixed his curtain rod.

Sure, okay, that pays the rent
But that is not exactly what I meant
When I asked to hear your big picture
Something beyond your daily routine
Talk about your big picture
The fairy tale ending that you’ve always seen
I am sure there’s something more to you than doing chores
Everyone’s got a big picture in mind

So, what’s yours?

Well, since you asked.
In five years I’ll have an amazing apartment
With bookshelves built into the walls
A window that looks out on someplace big
And a personal assistant who screens my calls
The book I write will be required reading
To get into the seminars that I’ll be leading
That’s the plan, as far as I can see it.
And yet it isn’t quite apparent what I’m supposed to do to get it.
Some big picture.
How’s your tea?

My what?

Your tea?

Oh, it’s sort of… gotten cold.

Skill Builder BOM - having a good time!

I'm committed in 2013 to learn new quilting techniques....or in some cases refresh my skills while doing already learned techniques.   It's Alyssa Lichner's Skill Builder BOM that has me committed.  Alyssa has a Pile O' Fabrics and she just posted the PDF download for the first two blocks.  Here's my take:

Skill Builder BOM fabric choices
Fabric Choices

Skill Builder BOM 1 - Sound Wave

Skill Builder BOM 2:  Magnum

Skill Builder BOM

Blocks 1 and 2 are stacked on my design wall.....and I'm stoked about these new learned techniques....improvisational  piecing.

DisconnectED is an Adjective:

CONNECT:  adj:  united, joined or linked.....coherently!

DISCONNECTED:  disjointed, seemingly irrational!

I've gotten back into my exercise program (again) and this morning in spin class, the instructor, I swear, looked right at me and shouted stay connected!  Am I so obviously incoherent?

color wheel

fabric art card

'my kind of town'

My Kinda* Town:  Regardless of my state of mind, I think you'll agree that this is a  most delightful quilt pattern.

Wonky Star Quilt Block + a note card

First I made a wonky star block:

wonky star quilt block

but this little donkey was standing there with such a forlorn look about him that I decided this was just right for a note card (or two)...

note card:  Let's Keep In Touch

note card:  Why don't you write me anymore?

what's everyone doing?

A muse for the day

I took the time to remind myself that I am myself and that I don't have to do what everyone else is doing!  Now, I can get on with my morning.

my hearing is as old as I am...

I went to the doctor this morning for my usual checkup.  Just before exiting the room, doc asked if I had any more things that were troubling me.  AND that's when I remembered that my ear has been aching a little lately.  Not a continuous ache, just an occasional pain.  He also asked if  I had any problems with my hearing.  I told him no, I could hear just fine, but that the HuMan had begun whispering.

Doc just grinned a bit as he turned his head and prescribed a drop to be administered four drops at a time, four times a day.  The first four drops just went in so I haven't had enough time to know if this will work on eliminating the pain; however, I do know that the medication hasn't improved my hearing....or is HuMan still whispering.

Here's the way the last conversation with the HuMan of the house went:

HuMan:  This winter storm is named ??len.

Hard of hearing wife, hereinafter known as HOHW:    They've named a winter storm Ellen?

HuMan:  No, it's named ??len.

HOHW:  Okay, Ellen.

HuMan:  No, No, No.  Helen...read my lips H E L E N

HOHW:  Okay, Helen.  You don't have to scream!

It isn't my eyes that are having a problem, but thankfully the box reads loud and clear so I won't confuse this medication with my eye drops.  Hope everyone is braving  the effects of the winter storm, HELEN!

Material Things!

hot fabric
Cottonwood by Colin-Canderson for Newcastle  Fabrics

When all else fails, fill your day with fabric.  Now, doesn't that feel good?

Is there a BOM resurgence?

I'm re-thinking the quilting block-of-the-month!  When I started quilting so many years ago, making a BOM was a great way to learn new techniques.  Then, I branched out on my own and rarely joined in any BOM groups.  Is it just me, or does there seem to be a resurgence in the BOM movement?

Here's a few I found that really caught my eye:

Sisters' Ten Modern BOM with Gen X Quilters.  January 2013 block is Grandmother's Frame.

and then there is the Craftsy BOM -  it's free too!  Sew along with quilting legend Laura Nownes as she teaches us how to make 10 blocks of various sizes.  She'll be teaching y-seams, partial seams,  45 degree and 60 degree triangles and more.

Next, I found Victoriana Quilt Designs BOM.  January's block is Rising Sun - and on to completion of several blocks, the Santa's Rising Sun quilt.  I'm thinking that each BOM will also include a how-to to complete a quilt using the block.

And, where else but Pile O' Fabrics for another fresh take on modern:  Alyssa Lichner's Skill Builder BOM will be filled with lessons to learn or a refresher course on already learned skills.

I'm sure there's more, many more free blocks-of-the-month out there.  So, I would love to know where you've gotten your BOM 2013 inspiration.  Send me the link and I'll update today's post.

First things first!

Do you find the pattern first?   That was the first thing I did.....love this picture from the cover of Ellen Pahl's "PINWHEEL Party." 

Next, I made my fabric selection from my stash.  Not exactly as Ellen's picture, but quite the color blend to suit me. 

stacked pinwheels

Then, I made pinwheels/windmills:  18 pinwheels to make my windmill rows for  this 40" x 46" quilt top.    All stitched up and ready for the quilter. 

Windmill Row

When the Postman Knocks -

I answer it as fast as I can.....I was expecting a surprise in the mail and it has arrived.  Blogging has many rewards and is so fun.  It's the friendships that are cultivated that make each blogging year even more memorable than the last.  Yes, a tiny package came in the mail today.....filled with big fabrics from Kris, AKA Lavender Quilts.  She pulled these five big beauties from her shop,  The Quilting Garden.   I'm lovin' her garden filled with fabric choices, delectable enough to eat.