Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bad King Chad....Gets Crowned

Washougal is a small town. The high school is full of great kids who aren't pretentious, clique-y, or too concerned about high status. Really it is quite refreshing (compared to my old high school.)
But I have to say I am fonder of the kids at Chad's school since they crowned him Homecoming King this week-end. This really came out of the blue...was unsought, unexpected, and just a total blast for Chad.
He's friendly to everyone and a lot of fun....and his peers showed they appreciate that.
Way to go Chaddie! What a great memory from your senior year....

This was taken right before the dance.....
OK, back to sewing!!!!

The "H" Quilt, Resumed

Sometimes long term projects need to hibernate awhile. "H" has had a nice long sleep, since April, but now my decks are cleared and I have pulled it out to complete it, which should take me another 6 weeks or so.
It is strange to jump into something this involved after being away from it for so long. This project has been rife with technical problems from the get-go...its construction was very challenging for me, as there were so many 90 degree angles and straight lines to get right!
My original vision was to do a contemporary version of a very traditional crazy quilt, and I am still intrigued by that. So onward I does seem like a lot of work ahead of me, though!

I do have a nice place to work, that's for sure.

You can see I have lots of seams left to cover.
The last time I posted an overall shot of this quilt was here. Of course, the H has gone on since then....hope I get into the groove soon with this!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Linda's Dahlias

Lucky me! At the bottom of my driveway and up the road just 1/10th of a mile is a most beautiful garden: Linda's Dahlias is a small-scale commercial dahlia UPick place...she also sells tubers.
I headed over there yesterday as I wanted to see it in its fall glory before the first frost and the big rains come along.
Come along!....
Right below this sign, and just above the Washougal River, is the main garden..

This is the view from the road. While I was there a couple different cars going by stopped in the middle of the road so the drivers could look...there were squealing brakes and horns going off from the traffic behind them!

This is the overflow garden down below the main one. Linda and her husband just keep adding varieties, now numbering about 350.

Next to the overflow garden is the test garden. Linda lets the bees pollinate her dahlias and then saves some of the seed. She'll then start those seeds to see what kind of hybrids she'll get.
Yes, she is passionate about dahlias!

The main garden again, facing north.

I'm zooming you all in here. This is but a small section of one of the many rows of flowers.

And here are some random close-ups...

These are LARGE flowers, much bigger than my hand.

Ah, the face of perfection....

And here is the lovely Linda herself.

Of course I had to bring some home, shown here with the latest pears from our prolific trees--these are Asians and Boscs. knew this was inevitable!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Summer Mandala's Back, Days 3 & 4...and Finished

My Summer Mandala must have been leading a double life all this time. Who knew of the tarty, saucy, hedonistic backside of her nature?
It's all turned into a fun prank for me...but now it is done. In all seriousness, I was just trying to add a little pizazz for the upcoming show. Judges have additionally focused their attention on the backs of quilts in recent years, especially with the amazing quilting detail that longarm quilting can add to quilt backs. So I had to give them a little something extra from a crazy quilter's perspective.
It's all done, and ready for the 30 seconds (maximum) the judges will have time to give it as they fill out their score cards...but then the quilt will get to relax and hang with all its new wall-hanging friends and enjoy the crowds of quilt lovers at the show.

But who knows what these quilts get up to at night????!!!!!

This detail shows all the elements in place...ribbon leaves, embroidered flowers, and a few beads here and there.

The label was a bit of a pain to put on, as all the knots had to be hidden from the front....

All ready to go....If any of you are going to the Pacific International Quilt Festival, you won't be able to see this quilt back....but you'll know the real story as you look at the mild-mannered front......!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Summer Mandala's Back, Day 2

Well, after a few of your comments I just think of this as the Sexy Back!
The basic flowers are done, half of the ribbon leaves, and the beginnings of the label....

Next the label wreath will get cut out, fused, and blanket stitched on there......

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Summer Mandala's Back

Backside, that is....
My Summer Mandala quilt is off to the Pacific International Quilt Festival in the Wall-Hanging category in a couple of weeks, so I thought not only had I better get a sleeve sewn on there for hanging, but I should gussy up the back a little bit, in honor of the show. A label will go on as well.
I've given myself a week of mornings to play with we'll see what kind of damage I can do in that amount of time!

I was in downtown Portland Sunday so stopped at The Playful Needle for some new threads in honor of this endeavor. This shop caters to needlepointers and cross-stitchers...but a crazy quilter is equally in heaven there. That was sure fun!
The sleeve has been sewn on here, and you can just make out the quilting in the ditch I did. But we know this is NOT about quilting.

So here we are at the beginning of Day 2. I'm going around 3 sides of the perimeter with a little floral border. Whimsical and happy, not detailed. Yet.

Just having fun here....ribbon and bead work will come later in the week, after this base gets laid down.
This is definitely my good-bye-to-summer-colors week of stitching.....

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Autumn Planting, Take 2

Of COURSE the deer like chard! How could I not know that? The very first night they left nothing but beautiful ruby stalks sticking mournfully up into the air.
So I went back to the nursery and talked them into giving me the rest of their stunted little chard plants to try again. But this time, I was ready for those pesky deer.

Some fencing leftover from the spring was spread over the bed like a blankie right before dusk.

And it worked like a charm.
It sure is fun to have a new garden to attend to as the weather turns to fall!

But there is a bit of stitching going on here, just to keep this textile related.

I love cutting out letters and sewing them down!

And you know me...if there aren't flowers involved, no project is complete! Aren't those red California poppies just the coolest?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Autumn Planting

I took time out from sewing to give the little bed by the front door a make-over today! Out came all the leggy, gone-to-seed, and mildewed plants of summer--the ones the deer hadn't munched--and in went some fine cool weather plants to tide us over with some color until the holidays.
Ornamental kale has always been a favorite of mine....and at the nursery the poor little ornamental chard plants were headed for the dumpheap...they had been in their little 2" pots since April 6th. I figured they deserved a shot at the good life in well composted soil before the year is over. (I wonder how well they will do?) Their stems are just so cool. Mums of course had to be included. An instant garden!
A few plants are left from the summer.

It is hard enough to get people to eat kale and chard. Surely the deer won't like them either?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Quilt of Valor #2 In Progress

I've been loving these colors whirring under my sewing machine needle...especially knowing that this quilt is destined to bring comfort to a returning wounded soldier, and to show my support and appreciation.
But creating this quilt is not the only way for me to do that. A friend reminded me yesterday that our soldiers really appreciate hearing from us while they are far away from home, too. Her son in Iraq requested a care package of baby wipes to deal with the primitive desert conditions where there are no sanitary facilities. So I'll be sending one of those off too....

These panels will form the main body of the quilt, lapsized at 60" X 72". I cut enough strips to make another one...I have among my children, nieces, and nephews a total of SIX graduations coming up this June....

Monday, September 17, 2007

Flowers for JoWynn

I just returned from a 26 hour flying visit to San Diego to help young niece Qwen celebrate her sixth birthday. These jet-setting jaunts take a little more recovery time than they used to...especially because I stayed up half the night solving the world's problems with my highly informed and passionate brother Matt. Truly, it didn't matter that we are on opposite sides of the political spectrum.

I came home to find a really nice email from JoWynn, whose blog, Parkview 616 is a must read for me because of its deep thoughtfulness, spiritual emphasis, beautiful needlework, and truly accomplished writing. In a private email I had sent her one of my recent floral mandalas, in response to her blog entry on the subject. She asked if I would post the picture so others could see JoWynn, for you.....

...with love.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Orphan Block Jewelry Pouch

Last March in Mexico I made a block that was inspired by the local beautiful Talavera pottery...It was going to be used as the center of my "H" Fan Quilt, but when I got home I found it didn't work there.
So the block languished in my UFO pile until this week.
Then I thought, why not make it into a jewelry pouch? A certain someone is having a big birthday bash in November, and this would make a nice gift.
I'll be writing up the how-to instructions for CQMagOnline's next issue, but meanwhile, here are some pictures.

My poor little orphan block....

Hmm...folded almost in half for its future as a pouch almost works. The front flap has a nice enough composition but it needs a little something...

An initial in the corner, that will do it!

Fast it is completed. Those bees flew in, too. After they were on there, Robert reminded me that the pouch's recipient is allergic to bees. Ah well!

And the back....

So if you've got some orphan blocks, this is one way to find them a home....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Family Textile Portraits

I've been missing playing with my beads, threads, and fabrics lately! So I decided to do the third in what is becoming a series of family/floral portraits. It has been so nice to look down at my work this week and see my sister's beautiful face smiling up at me!

But first I'll just show the first two portraits, in case new readers haven't seen them. I combine photographs of the portraitee on silk with floral arrangement "frames" that have also been photographed and printed on silk.

Here's my mother's, in progress...

Here is the completed portrait of my sister-in-law's parents. Aren't they sweet? This was a gift for their 60th wedding anniversary.

And this week it was Mary's turn to go under the needle!

The floral print came out a little muddy, so I drew a few highlights on the flowers with my water soluable wax pastels, which when ironed become permanent. I also added that white around the inside of the floral frame.

Fast forward here...I've just added a few embellishments to this piece, not wanting to go overboard. What you see here is the ribbon border, *edit* done in a herringbone stitch, between the flower fabric and its silk jaquard frame, which is sari fabric I found on eBay.

And here she is, my incomparable sister! This has been stretched over foam core, like Marne's cottage portrait was.
I am going to give this to Mary's daughter Qwen, who turns 6 today, for her birthday.
Every girl should always have their mother smiling at them, don't you think?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

H's 9/11 Painting

My late Uncle Hal, that tough old Marine, could only paint through his tears watching the television on September 11, 2001.
God bless H and all the souls who died that day. case we've forgotten....

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Two Quick "Sane" Quilts for Bad King Chad

Since I am in Sane Quilt Mode, sewing strips for hours on the sewing machine, (as opposed to Crazy Quilt Mode, which actually feels much more normal to me)...I thought I would share a couple of my fairly recent bed quilts...
Both of them were made for my son Chad, who didn't like either of them. (I still love him.) I think redheads are particularly Sensitive to Everything. The first quilt had a velvet backing and was "too heavy". The second quilt had a flannel backing and was quilted too closely. "Too hot." He likes his quilts puffy... I'd made him three different tied sane quilts in the past which he loved (especially the PokeyMon one...hee hee). But tied quilts do not stand up to the wear and tear of being wrapped around a boy like a cape and dragged around for months and years. He would get this Dearth Vadar thing going....Those tied quilts lived good, if hard, lives, and each died a somewhat smelly death in shreds on the burn pile.
So I had thought the quilted quilts would hold up better....but alas, no sale....I ended up going to Linens 'N'Things and bought a polyester blue comforter for twenty bucks for Chad which has held up remarkably for five years now.....go figure!

Sorry about the lighting. Here is the first one....OK, so it is velvet on the back and has upholstery fabric in the border. Maybe a little heavy. But those fabrics were so much more interesting than plain ol' cotton!

Ah, don't those Jinny Beyer borders bring back memories?

Again, sorry for the poor lighting. This second try is the one of the last times I ever pieced "blocks" for a sane quilt. Big pieces, too, eh? ;-) It was red and orange to match Chad's hair.

Dang, that upholstery fabric snuck in there again!

One day this quilt will mean much more to him, I am sure. He's a sweetie down deep....

Not to mention highly entertaining and a serious ally on the road of life!

Friday, September 7, 2007

September Flowers

Before getting down to working with these...

...for my Quilt of Valor project, I just had to spend the morning playing with these....

So many of the flowers in the garden are going to seed now, and have lost their luminous vigor....but the sunflowers and their warm colored friends are still putting on quite a show!