July 01, 2012

Vacation....at home!

I gook a week off in June to stay here at home and recharge!  Lately has been a time of building stress and angst and I needed to separate myself from the demands of my job and remember how to remain peaceful when all around me is not :-)

The first day or 2 I finished the book I was re-reading....John Grisham's The Testament.  It is a favorite of mine and was really good to read in these times of economic bewilderment!  I am grateful for my instincts for a simple life and God's grace to always provide all that we need.

I spent a couple of days at my son's home enjoying the grandchildren and seeing their band The Lucky Valentines perform at the Summer Celebration!  What a wonderful gathering of family and friends and children and babies!

Then home sweet home for a few days of sleeping in and catching up!  I got some long waiting mending done and focused on finishing the cushions for the porch swing!  

The covers were way past worn but the cushions still in pretty good shape....and really comfortable!  Replacing them proved incredibly costly and I couldn't find exactly what I wanted.  So, I took on the project knowing it would be somewhat cumbersome, but would turn our just how I wanted!
Finito at last!
I chose solid fabric and appliqued some birds all over the backs to honor the house finches that have nested on the porch for several summers!   

I am pleased with how they turned out and am ready to nap on the porch soon! 

 *worth noting*  I selected Duck canvas for the body of the cushions and cotton quilting fabric for the accents.  The first cushion was finished last summer and faded considerably in the sun!  You can see a bit of it in the left side of the photo.  I imagine they will all match by the end of the summer, but would recommend using outdoor canvas if you want to avoid the fading.

March 26, 2012

It's an amazing season!  Gorgeous sun and no wind one day, big fat snow all day the next!  There is a lot of new life around me .....  more than I can ever remember at one time.  The children next door brought a box of new puppies over to show us last week!  The tulips are coming up in the yard....and new babies are everywhere!  So, I've been making booties!  I found a really cute pattern on ravelry.com for these:

Crocodile Stitch Booties


Pretty fun, right?  I haven't crocheted in a very long time, and had to refresh my skills with some online tutorials :-)  I whipped some up in a few days and took them to my little Maggie yesterday.  Here's what mine look like:
They fit beautifully!  I used velcro for the closure and added the buttons for decoration.  Although crocheting is much faster  than knitting for this instant gratification kind of gal, I almost always like the look of knitting more.  These are pretty cute though, and with all of the new babies arriving this spring, i can make a bunch and customize the tops for whomever I'm making them for!  My son mentioned that these were a "little frilly" for his man friends' newborn sons!  I'll trust his instincts and make sure that theirs are suitably masculine!


December 18, 2011

Sister Shirts for the granddaughters!

dye pot
In late September my son and his wife were blessed with the birth of a baby girl!  Maggie joined her mom and dad and "big" sister Emmy on the twenty third....about 3 hours before her second cousin Adie came out in WA!  What a special connection for these 2 young families!

I wanted to make sister shirts for the girls and have been experimenting with dying cottons with gray for a project that has been brewing in my mind.  I also found this AWESOME fabric while I was in Missoula with the O's at the end of August.  The fabric ended up back with Robyn and Cana, but I did use a little of it to make these:

Of course, the girls grow so fast that they only fit them for about 5 minutes, but they were cute for a visit with Gma and were lots of fun to make!  I did put a tiny satin bow on the little trunk on each shirt.
Big Sister!
Little Sister!

Family quilts for fall

I haven't been here in a while!  Much has happened....a new granddaughter, a new great niece!  We all made 2 quilts this fall, one for the new great niece and one for the first great niece, her older sister!  The tradition didn't start until 2010 and Emma was born a few years before that!  We had a little catching up to do!  The women all came together  and did a beautiful job on both quilts and Grandma Mel was able to present them together to the sisters!

Here are the blocks for baby Adie's quilt that Great Grandma Rosalie and I gathered and assembled for the quilt top.  GG Rosalie did the quilting and finishing and sent it off to Grandma Melanie in WA.

 The blocks for Emma's quilt were gathered, assembled, and quilted by Gma Mel....Here are the blocks I did and Emma with her finished warm hug from all of us!  It has been a big year for these girls and their folks so the timing was just right, I think!

August 27, 2011

August winding down....

I have been having a relatively busy summer....the time seems to fly by!  In May we went to Bellingham, WA for the wedding of one of 3 nephew-brothers that married amazing women this year!  It was a wonderful family gathering and the only wedding we were able to attend.  A bunch of us stayed in the "big house in Bellingham" that served as a perfect gathering place for our large clan!  We visited and LAUGHED and walked along the waterfall trails and enjoyed one another!  We celebrated new members of the family and future members of the family and those of us that have been around for decades! :-)  It was a memory making time of loving one another!

My husband and I spent a few days on Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands following the big family weekend!  It was a much needed rest and relax in a great location.  We watched the sun set and listened to all of the evening sounds that are foreign to us Montana city dwellers.  We watched the many, many bald Eagles fly back and forth across the bay to fish and feed.  It was amazing!  I saw a really big, fat Otter running across the beach and teasing us from the water!  We didn't do any kayaking, so were limited in out sea creature viewing.  I did see one brilliant orange star fish left by the receding tide, but alas, I didn't have my camera with me!   It was the week after Memorial Day so not much was happening around the island, but it was just what I needed; Sitting and watching the water, beach combing, wading in the surf and not following a schedule of any kind!  I recorded a couple of sound bytes on my phone of the shells tinkling in the surf, and the night sounds to listen to when I need to remember :-)

San Juan Islands from the ferry
Sunset at MacKaye Harbor 
Beach Bones
The rest of the summer has flown by, but been satisfying.  We attended the Red Ants Pants Music Festival in White Sulphur Spings, MT at the end of July.  We saw a sweet little group called Bearfoot and my old pal and drinking buddy, Jerry Jeff Walker! It was only the second time he's been to Montana and it was important to me to see him as a sober person!  We've never actually met in person, but I've spent many, many hours listening to his music in my younger days.  He seems to have grown up too, and I like what he's doing in more recent years.  A story teller extraordinaire!

My current projects are recovering the cushions on the porch swing (one is finished, 2 to go), quilt blocks for the 3 heirloom quilts we are making for the Fall, and learning how to use my EXCELLENT NEW CAMERA!! that my husband gifted me with for my birthday!  A grown up camera of my own! 

I spent last weekend in Missoula with my sister and her family playing on the trampoline, reading, LAUGHING, and combing the local fabric shops and working on the quilt projects.  Plus, eating fabulous Thai food and visiting Bernice's Bakery!  The kids were wonderfully patient and helpful in the quilt shop and get kudos for that! They were really good at the bakery too, but that's a given :-)

Time to get on with Saturday and see what will happen next!

May 15, 2011

At Last Spring!

A couple of weeks ago, our local quilt guild hosted our biannual quilt show.  I've been a member of the guild for about 5 years.  For the show this time, we had an interesting creative challenge!  There were three preselected batik fabrics that we were required to use to make a small art quilt.  The quilts would be sold at a silent auction fundraiser for the Guild.  We could use whatever techniques we wanted but we had to use these three fabrics in some way on the front of the quilt.  It also had to have binding and meet specific maximum size requirements, but could be any shape we wanted. 

 I had the fabrics for several months, but was busy with other projects.  The winter was verrry looong and left me uninspired creatively.
About three weeks before the deadline, I had a chat with my friend Kari and she gave me a little pep talk!  I decided to just jump in and start and let the creative process take over.  As I sat in my sewing room and looked around, I spotted a pile of strips and scraps left over from my winter projects.   From paisley's to batiks  to bright giraffes and fuzzy chenille, I liked them all and decided to use them.  I thought they would be a great starting point for the base of my design.  I really like to use texture in my art, so I left the edges raw and used the ecru chenille strip like a layer of snow covering the "ground".

  A single flower bloom was the design I decided on after looking though some sketch book pages.  I wasn't crazy about a couple of the required fabrics, so I decided to bury them using a technique to make chenille with layers of fabric.  The one I did like was a beautiful deep purple.  I layered the tan and violet fabric and added some nice green to represent the spring I was longing for!  This became the flower petals. The gold batik background with the purple branch silhouettes represented the bare winter trees and also the warmth that I craved.

I wanted to use some wording on this project and try out some some Crayola fabric markers I had picked up on clearance after Christmas. I used a fun stencil I had unearthed after being put away (lost) for a few years and as a base, a strip of the tan batik.  I played with the words on paper a bit and came up with: 

 Out of the Remnants of Winter   At Last....Spring!  I also used the violet batik fabric as a background for the button in the center of the bloom.
Like I said, the process leads the way!   This ended up being a very fun experience and it was interesting to see what everyone else came up with!  Many beautiful and varied little  art quilts!


May 01, 2011

Winter 2010 projects

 I am one of 6 adult children in my family.  We all have families of our own and more than half of our children are grown now.  For Christmas, the 6 of us siblings draw names (or 1 or 2 of us draw for everyone) amongst ourselves and gift the person or family who's name we draw.  It keeps us stay in touch and keeps things reasonable at the holidays with our growing number of descendants. 
This year, I picked my sister Melanie and her husband.  Their children are all grown so it was just the two of them to gift for.  I like to make homemade gifts for my sisters and sisters in law.  I felt a little under pressure creatively this year and was having trouble coming up with my own original idea.  I kept seeing the cover of the October 2010 issue of Quilter's World magazine and really being drawn to it.  Here in eastern Montana we grew up surrounded by wheat fields, and this just seemed to be the project for the occasion.  Melanie lives in Washington where it precipitates a lot and is a lot greener, so I thought she might appreciate the reminder of home.
I used a couple of batik fabrics from my stash, and got some help from the owner of the local quilt store for the colors I was having trouble choosing.  It turned out quite large so I put hanging sleeves on the back both horizontally and vertically so she can hang it on the wall if she wants to.  

I also have my new granddaughter this year, so I wanted to make something unique and special for her.  I saw this doll project in the Holiday 2010 - 2011 issue of Quilting Arts Gifts magazine.  I really like the idea
of personalizing the doll for the receiver.  I used scraps from the heirloom quilts that were made for her and her cousin and a few other cute fabrics and ribbons that I had around. Non-toxic fabric markers and inks for the face and stripes for the legs and she was ready to go! She was fun and easy to make and EJ likes her just fine! 
back of hair
front  of dress