Thursday, February 22, 2024

Flowers and Fabric, oh my!

      Two things I just love, fabric and flowers, have made an appearance around here lately. Two friends sent me fabric to help with making comfort quilts. Julie sent me some large pieces to help with backing and a whole load of 2 1/2" strips- some colors and a lot of low volume (yum) ones. I am trying to determine what quilts to make with them, paging through my collection of printed out ideas. Of course, then I had to rearrange two massive folders of printed out/purchased patterns. I arranged the strips by color and style for the photo. I usually put strips in a drawer by color.

     Also, I had a box of gorgeous fabrics from Gwen, who has supplied me over the years with big backing pieces in addition. I arranged the piles by type of fabrics (batik, florals, novel, kids) to figure out how to store these away. Lots of wonderful batik pieces to help augment the batik collections.

     One of my orchids is blooming. Every year for 5 years, it has sent out a shoot of blooms. They last so long and I am so happy to have some color around on these gray days.

     And, some of the Christmas cactus have shot out some wonderful blooms!

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Completed Mission

      Since I came back from teaching the watercolor workshop, I went full tilt making the Valentine cards that I make every year. I make about 75 and I try to have each one a litttle different because I am not a factory and every recipient is a different individual. As of this morning, all are in the mail. I consider this a win as my Valentine bouquet is still holding up so I am not too late.

     The cards started with widths of heavy weight interfacting cut a 3 1//2" and soaked in the sink.
     Then I drew a bizzillion hearts with soft pastels which melt into the interfacing and kind of fix themselves in the interfacing. All those strips had to dry, so I put them near the gas fireplace but even so, they took longer to dry than I thought.

      When dry, I cut them about 4" long and added felt and foil hearts that I found at the Dollar Store with some sale trim from Joann's. I used quick dry tacky glue. I had a little angelina fluff I was able to tuck into some hearts.
     When I completed all that, I sewed the trims on in parallel lines with Superior gold Metallic thread on my beloved Singer 301. Lots of dust I still have to clean up from that but the sewing was easy and flawless.
     I was able to find some red and pink cardstock, but not enough, so most cards just had the decorated interfacing glued right to the cardstock. I buy the prefolded cards with envelopes when they are on sale at Joann's or Michaels, the 50 packs. All the fronts were glued on the cards. Then the insides were stamped with Happy Valetines, handwritten greeting, put in envelopes with address stickers and then postage stamps. One had to get a New Zealand stamp from the post office (Maureen). Finally, all were mailed out this morning and it is up to the USPS now! Valentine Day 2024 is a wrap!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Valentines- They're late but coming...

     This past weekend, I taught a watercolor workshop in Old Forge, NY. I had nine very interested students who worked real hard and made loads of progress. Because of this, my annual Valentine card creation and mailing did not happen. I do not multi-task well. I had to plan, prep and pack for the trip and have everything the beginning students needed. I wrote a handout and made kits for each one.
     I could not even think about making cards. I started Tuesday and will have them done by tomorrow morning. I make about 75. So if you normally receive one from me, you will get one. February is heart month and Feb. 7th is the 6th anniversary of surviving a heart attack that stopped it. So, I look at it like this- I get grace by getting the cards out in February celebrating heart month and six bonus years.

Gathering stuff

Packing van

Entering Park

Kurt's gallery as painting studio for the weekend

     All possible because Kurt, with his first painting, opened his gallery to the workshop and handled all the promotion and logistics. Please check out his excellent work.  He ships his work packed very well. I have lots of his photos in my home and most were shipped. What makes his work unique, is that the photos are printed on aluminum sheets which makes them vivid with no frame needed, hook built into aluminum.

My easel with demo

     Iconic view of The Pond in Old Forge- the yellow boathouse. Unfortunately the warm weather is killing the Old Forge economy as it is the snowmobile capitol of NYS and no one can do it with no snow and melted lakes.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Confetti Time

     This a wonderful pattern from Wilmington Prints, although I can't find it online at the moment, called Confetti. It used one 40 strip jelly roll and one 40 strip blues jelly roll (I cut different blues to make mine). It took time to arrange the strip sets in colors that would value grade and move the eye.

I tried a bunch of strip set layouts, did not like a couple of the strips, especially the two toothy looking ones.
Looked through my batiks to see what I could substitute

Settled on this layout and strips

Sewing pairs, then pairs to pairs careful to alternate starting to stitch from top, then from bottom to avoid those nasty bowing strips

Cutting the subsets of strips

Now, I am going to put a blue strip border all around because I  don't want all those seams in the binding. And take off the numbers.