Thursday, September 29, 2011

Catching up on crafting.

After my kitchen remodel, the beginning of school, having Princess move in, and making my "voice" quilt, barfy kids.... I'm so behind on so many projects... Including Mimi's birthday party prep which is this Saturday. (oh did the wheels fall off the wagon there... Some invites never even made it out. Sigh)
Anyhow, I'm trying to catch up and today's chance involved making yarn Rapunzel braids (in every hair color!) while watching tball practice at the park.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Project Modern "Find Your Voice" challenge COMPLETED!

Wow. I finished. Here is my entry for the "find your voice" Project Modern Challenge. It took a little over a week and came so naturally to me, the whole thing felt right. Granted, there were months of sketches (they looked nothing like this) and nights and days spent with teachers and friends teaching me new techniques. (Hello, no straight lines, no rulers, quilting based on the composition...)
But when it came down to making this, no sewing has ever been more of a good fit. There were spontaneous decisions to be made the entire time (LOVE THAT).. and though it is a competition I am submitting it for, the winning is nit the point. I've been quilting for almost 3 years now. The entire time, I've been looking to find my personal "voice.". When I learned the purpose of this challenge, I knew I had to join the ranks and embrace the deadline as an impetus to search harder to find my style and especially to bridge the gap (finally) between my sewing and my artwork.
I'm so happy. If you look at the collage I used for inspiration, you can see, I've been able to combine my own artwork along with the passion I have for the quilts of Gee's Bend... And found a new groove.

Monday, September 26, 2011

WIP - project modern challenge. Almost done!

So between juggling 4 kids, a new school schedule, 3 birthday parties a weekend and one of our own to plan this coming weekend... I'm dealing with lots of foster stuff (each new placement requires extra, weekly social worker visits and inspections, and dr appts...). That should explain a little why I haven't written much of interest this past week.
But I LOVE deadlines. And my self-imposed deadline of having an entry to submit on Sept 30 for the Project Modern Challenge "FIND YOUR VOICE" contest has been so good for me.
To be honest, this quilt has only taken me about a week of sewing at night plus one full 5-hour LAMQG "weekend sew" day. Jay has been watching it come together, saying "this has come so naturally for you. It's hardly taken any time at all". He's right. And it's also been fun.
My art professor last semester told me that you know you've got your groove when you can look at a finished project and envision making another 100 in it's wake. And I'm suddenly bursting with composition ideas... Something I've NEVER had before.
It wasn't winning that motivated me to enter this competition... But the push it would be to do something I've been trying to do all along. And i truly believe i accomplished my goal. Which thrills me to no end.
So now all that is left is the binding. Three days of hand sewing edges and I'll get to show you the final product.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bear clothes

Princess informed me that her bear, Lisa, was cold. So all work had to stop while we made Lisa a sweater dress and scarf today. I'm amazed that a bear would be cold in 80degree weather, but maybe her fur is only decorative.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

More scrap hairbows

My niece, Lanie, modeling her scrap hairbows that she and her mom made for her soccer team friends.

Monday, September 19, 2011

WIP - quilt top done!!!

Here it is! It may end up with another few inches down the side to make it a proper twin size quilt, but for the most part... It's done.
Lots to do in 10 days though. (especially with 4 kids and a number of nighttime events to deal with, which cut into my only hours to sew) Deadline is sept 30... Eeeeek!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

WIP - project modern

Oh wow, after this past month, I wondered if I'd ever get this far on Project Modern. But now that I've gotten this far, I know I will finish! Today was the weekend sew for LAMQG and I arrived at 12:15 and stayed until the end 5 hours later. I arrived with 4 blocks made and left with almost an entire quilt top completed. It was so relaxing and wonderful to be with friends, doing what I love most. J was a champ at home for 5 hours with 4 kids (and a neighbor, too!)...
As I was speaking to other women there, i was relating to them how composition can really be an issue for me. I love making small blocks, but what do I do with them? How can I put them together in a fresh way?
Instead of trying to make them fit together today, I just tried to make one block bigger and bigger until it swallowed the others - and suddenly, it was a cohesive piece...
My LAMQG pals were chock full of color and quilting ideas. I love working in a group. In a way it sometimes seems like there would be a weird stage fright that might hinder creative process, but I find after 15 years of studio art classes, the opposite occurs... I relax, get talking and just let go in a way I never can do when I'm alone.
Today was great. Can't wait to show you more.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gifted vintage quilt for Nicole

My first hand-quilted quilt. I gave it to my dear friend and neighbor, Nicole, today. A few months ago she'd given me a big bundle of scraps and vintage pieces she had bought in Montana, but had never found a use for. I wanted to find the use for her and made this quilt top in one night. Then I spent the next 4 months quilting it for her by hand.

I had hoped to give it to her in time for summer picnics with her family, but we live in SoCal... Fall is a good picnic time too, right?

Memory Lane

Today Princess asked about being a bride so I pulled out our wedding album and giggled with her about how fancy I looked and how happy "Lala" and "Uncle Jay" are in these pics. We were so happy. We still are. Nearly eleven years have given us many chances to laugh, cry, debate, struggle, move and fall more in love.
I couldn't help but to share these. We look so young and knew so little of what lay ahead, but I still feel all these photos deeply... Deeper, actually than I did then.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Scrap hairbows

I've been making these scrap bows for years now, using the tiniest (strippy) bits left from various projects. They've adorned probably 100+ gifts that have left my house in the past few years. They've even been gifts themselves, sometimes I'll fill up an organza bag of 10-20 and wrap that as a gift for a friend.
I've seen a number of folks turn them into hairbows, but I've never posted about it here, that I remember... This week, my sister in law asked for some yellow scraps to make 9 scrap bow hairbands for my niece's new soccer team. That reminded me to take a pic of Mimi in hers before school one day.
She was actually writing a card to a school friend that was including a scrap hairbow that she had made. Her comment about the bows in her pigtails: "mom, the funny thing about these is that I know exactly which quilt they're from"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Finding my voice

The Project Modern Challenge this quarter is "find your voice". Since this is something I've been wanting to do for a long time, I thought I'd give the competition a go. I'm now 2 weeks from the deadline and though I have a ton of sketched ideas for it, I hadn't actually started sewing. My friend, Latifah, came over a few weeks ago and helped me to wrap my head around how I could try to get some of my favorite curved shapes worked out in pieced fabric. She shared with me her copy of Dale Fleming's book "Pieced Curves So Simple" (liked it so much I bought my own copy).
I finally had my kitchen (kind of) unpacked enough last night that I felt able to pull out fabric and attempt a little piecing of curves.
And here's what I got! I'm pretty excited, because I held it up to one of my oversized collages and it was totally "me", it looks like all my doodles and collages... I think I'm on my way....

Almost done

When I finish the final 1 foot of binding on this puppy, I'll take a photo in color and share this project with you. I've been working on it for about 4 months. It's taken so long because I decided to hand quilt it! It was totally unnecessary for the design of this particular quilt, but I'd just heard a presentation on hand quilting and wanted to give it a try. So now it's almost done and ready to give to a special pal of mine.
The problem is that the kitchen remodel and an unexpected second foster child's arrival this week has set me back so far. I'm actually late in my quilting bee for the first time in 18 months and haven't gotten my machine out in weeks. (sigh, I feel like I'm missing an arm).
Anyhow, maybe today it will get done. Last night, I brought it to the LAMQG meeting to try and multi-task, but I had to bring the little Princess (our new 4yo foster placement) with me, because she was afraid of being left with the babysitter. Halfway through the meeting, she got really sad and started missing her mommy. Then she started crying in the middle of the talk and we had to sneak out the back... What I heard of the talk was great, it was Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle via skype! Very inspiring. And I can't believe they are in Oak Park, Illinois, my favorite hometown. I had no inclination to quilt while I lived there 2001-2005, but had I, I would have been able to connect with them. Oh snap.
Now I'm gonna see if Baby will nap and Princess will play just long enough for me to make a few complete stitches. Then I'll snap a color pic. :)
This one was taken at the park the other day while the kids played in the splash pad as I watched, sewing on the sidelines.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Little artist

Turns out I have a precious little artist staying with me. These pictures are so vibrant and raw they make me happy and sad at the same time.
We are doing our best to love her well while she is here for a couple days.

Surprise visitor

Well, if you read this blog, you'll know what it means to have this quilt out with a little girl's hand on it. Last night, a desperate Social worker called needing a place for a little girl to stay for a few days.
We scrambled, got ready, and now Mimi has a roommate for the weekend.
I had always felt this quilt was for a little girl who would stay with us for a while, but had all but given up on the idea. The quilt was up in a closet, put away.
And then at 10pm, a little sad person with nothing but her playclothes on came to us. So I've told her this is just for her, and found a cuddly bear for her to love as well. We are currently sitting on the couch drawing.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mimi and her necklace

In a week, she will be a second grader. Here she is today, tan, end of summer tired.



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