Monday, October 14, 2013

Gone, but back again!

So I have been "away" but I am back now (well, to a point). Many things happening, but in a nutshell...I am moving to Idaho next year and finishing my counseling degree. I have started a new blog for city slickers who want to be homesteaders/new counselors starting in the field.

My dream room will face the lake, have plenty of windows and all the room I need to quilt as well as run quilt therapy groups. I will keep you all posted, and hope to get some of these WIPs done before I leave!

Take care,

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Leslie Doyle's photostream

Teaching Tomatoes in Terrible Dirt and Desert Heat03-12-12, Daffodil Jersey Roundabout03-12-12 Daffodil Tahiti03-12-12 greenhouse both sides03-12-12 east side of greenhouse03-12-12 west side of greenhouse
Tomato SeedlingsSaffron Crocus Clump 11-11-11Hachiya Persimmons 10-12-11, Gardening in the DesertFrozen and Dried Persimmon Chips, 10-12-11Florescent Green String and BeansSweet Peppers
Noisy Parsnips RecipeSweet Corn - the 4th planting is inCorn pollen waiting to be moved by the breezesSweet Corn, Mirai 131Y, 8-27-11Sweet Corn 2, 4 and 6 weeks old.Popcorn on the cob & Mirai Sweet Corn Growing, July 30, 2011
Popcorn, June 18, 2011Inchellium Red Garlic  "Super-Colossal"  Over 13 oz eachPopcorn, June 12th - 2-months from seed to little ears starting to formColossal size Inchellium Red garlic bulbsHarvesting Garlic in the DesertCuring Garlic - Gardening in the Desert

I will be starting a vegetable/herb garden (and maybe some fruit). I have contacted Leslie here in LV to get some help on getting started. SO EXCITING!! I will keep you all posted on my progress.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hello Again...

It has been quite some time since I posted but I have been crazy busy! Doing what? Well, trying to get hours for my counseling program, teaching, attending classes, and working (my normal job). So, in between (here and there) I have tried to find time to quilt for my sanity's sake. For those of you who are keeping track, I have been working on the "wedding" quilt and the yo quilt. I say "wedding" because it was supposed to go to my husband's brother and his wife; unfortunately that union has already met it's end, so we have decided to keep it and give it a good home. It is pieced together, pinned and ready to be quilted, which will be done by hand when I have the time.
This was a pattern from one of my numerous quilt magazines. While it is more of a traditional pattern, it just called out to me when I saw it and I hadn't messed with triangles, I figured....why not?
Another quilt that I almost have ready to be layered and quilted, is the the yo quilt. At this point I have all the 406 yos pinned on and now I just have to sew them all on by hand. (Heh.)
This again was a pattern from a quilt magazine that I feel in love with. The colors are not usually what I would gravitate towards, but it reminded me of the sea and all the beautiful colored coral, sea creatures and fish way done in the darkness. It is bright, out there, and hopefully will bring smiles when used by the family. The teal batik I found was just perfect, that I have decided to buy the same for the back. What better feeling then to be wrapped in the sea, being kissed by multicolored starfish?

And now, to introduce the newest member of the family....
I realize it is just an ironing board and not a living thing, but "she" spoke to me and I HAD to have her! My husband and I went to an antique shop to find some bottles for his upcoming art show, and I went wondering upstairs where I saw her hidden behind a wooden sled and an odd painting. She is said to be from 1922, and all the metal, chain, and wood is in fabulous condition! Now, let me back up and explain my love/hate relationship with ironing boards. I was forced to iron as a child and I couldn't stand it! I swore when I grew up and moved out, that I would never iron again! Shortly after I moved out, I bought a Conair steamer that has been with me ever since. Once I started quilting, well, I had to buy an iron and a board. I have gone through about 3 boards (one new from Target, one new from Bed, Bath and Beyond, and one that I made). Nothing was what I wanted to work on and the new ones were made so cheap and rickety. I had given up on finding my ironing board match, and bought a tiny portable table-top board at Salvation Army. Now, I have her! She is the right height, solid wood and construction, beautiful design, and was just waiting to be picked up and have a purpose once again. My plan is to lightly sand, add some danish oil and wax, and cover the top with some lovely batting and a favorite fabric. I can't wait! I plan to have her up and running by this weekend and I will post her post-op picture when I am done!

Finally, I also was able to rearrange my fabrics into something a little easier to see in one glance. Instead of arranging them into red, orange, yellow, etc.; I decided to arrange them with other fabrics that went along with them in color or pattern. This way, I can keep collecting and adding to the different piles until I have enough to make a quilt with. However, this adventure was not done alone....Griffyn was more than happy to oblige with the organization process.
Doesn't she look right at home in my scraps? I just concluded that she was helping them from flying away from the air conditioner vent. (Heh). So we worked all afternoon and got it all done in time for lunch. While putting it all away, a few fabrics came together unexpectantly that will be the next quilt (TBA). So I have been able to squeeze quite a bit in between everything else, although I got a little behind in my work and school assignments, it was worth having my creative outlet. So, that is up to date on where I have been and now it's time to....
Take a nap.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Habitat Challenge

Last month our quilt guild did the Jay McCarroll Habitat Challenge, and I have to say that this was the first time I actually "created" my own design so I was very nervous. Up to this point, I had only done quilt kits or patterns from books, so I started with a sketch of what I wanted and went from there.

Overall, it wasn't too bad, and there were some "oops" moments along the way, but I learned quite a bit and discovered how creative I can be. First, let me say, that I truly appreciated Jay's designs on Project Runway (which I am addicted to by the way), and I am glad that he won. However, these fabrics were the epitome of the word "challenge". I sat on these fabrics for awhile until it no longer pained me to stare at them and got to work. Don't get me wrong, they are certainly very interesting designs, and in the right context would be seriously awesome, but between the flashbacks from the 80's and the odd colors that went together (but not really); I was stumped for a bit.

Luckily, the month prior Quiltique had a carnival night where I was introduced to English Paper piecing in the form of manageable hexagons! I thought, okay, small pieces of this fabric against a bright background may do it the justice it deserves. I had been wanting to do a sewing machine cover anyway so I took my fat quarters and started waiving them over some solids to see what clicked. It ended up being this beautiful vibrant royal purple and I was finally on my way. My first step was taping the fabric pieces to my back sliding door to use a sort of light table to place my hexagon templates and fussy cut out my pieces.
Two things I learned during this part of the process: (1) painters tape works very well to put fabric up with as it does not stick to it or leave any sticky residue, and (2) during the day, my sliding glass door makes a fabulous backlit space for tracing templates (it's like a second design wall!). From there I moved to the paper piecing which were precut hexagons I purchased during the carnival and what is even better; they are reusable. I simply cut a 1/4" border around the pinned templates and then basted down the tucked edges.
 I have to say I really feel in love with this technique! Anything that involves my sitting and doing hand stitching is always a plus and this was so easy to pick up. Once I stitched down all my hexagons, I laid them out in the order I wanted and started stitching one side of each hexagon to the other, removed the paper templates, and then cut out my purple background. There are many tutorials on-line about how to measure your machine for a cover and there are a few types of covers as well. I decided just to make a simple slip over that covered the entire machine (since the desert out here is fairly dusty) I wanted it to cover the sides as well. The hexagon strip was appliqued on top of a strip of purple fabric and then I left a gap on each side to add the yellow borders.
Once I sewed the yellow strips in, I basted the layers together and quilted a diagonal-abstract design, including the side pieces as well.
Okay so not as haphazard as I anticipated since both sides kind of match, but overall I was pleased with the result. Finally, the last step was sewing down the hexagons along the edges of each one, sew the sides onto the main piece, and bind the bottom with the matching yellow fabric. The final result was...
I did try to do some piping as well, but another learning experience was involved in this process. Instead of a 1/4" seam allowance, I should have left at least a 1/2" allowance to leave room for all the layers to be sewn since some of the edges did not catch. With some resewing, fabric glue and hand stitching it came out, but it will be a little while before I attempt piping again.

Our quilt group came up with some really great projects; some making full size quilts and others making small projects like a purse and coasters. It was a great mix of ideas and in the end, I finally designed something on my own which actually prepared me for this month's pillow exchange which involved more creative design.


Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm only dancing...

Hello fellow quilters and friends. So, an unrelated quilting blog for today...
I am belly dancing at my husband's group art showing this First Friday (today) downtown at the 1221 Gallery on Main Street near Charleston. There will be other dancers, artists, a BBQ (hosted by my cousins who are a biker gang), a fiddle player, and if that wasn't enough...a goat! It will be one hell of a party. Don't miss it! Come one, come all and drink for tomorrow we will be quilting.

A teaser of my head piece.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Can we talk?

Normally I try to reserve my blog for mainly quilting, crafts and family hyjinx, but this blog is about discrimination, judgement, and the dwindling life line of humanity. I would never attempt to turn this venue into a place to vent about social justice or the way people should be treated, but I feel that this just needs to be said.

My husband and I celebrated our 3rd year anniversary this weekend by going to Springdale, UT just outside of Zion National Park. One of our top two favorite places to visit. While we were there, the locals of Springdale were so genuine, and helpful, that we started some conversation with them about moving there in a bout a year or so after I have finished school. They welcomed us with open arms and gave us numerous towns and cities to explore for places to work/commute. Now, some of you may already know that I am being trained to become a mental health counselor (therapist) and have taken quite an interest in art therapy and especially therapy through quilting. While there has not been much research on the subject, I feel that there would be a great call for it and it would fill a gap in art therapy that exists. My husband and I were given several counseling centers to visit and since we were there on a Tuesday, I knew we could catch them in the office and get some much needed information. We were given both Cedar City and St. George and meccas for counseling centers.

We first went to Cedar City, but wasn't really what were looking for and proceeded to drive all the way south again toward St. George. After heading into the picturesque neighborhoods, with their adorable cottage houses and tree lined streets we were enthusiastic about my working there and commuting from Springdale. We pulled over to get our barrings and I whipped out the iPhone t locate any quilting shops in the area. I was curious to get an idea about what guilds were around and let them know who I was and we were thinking of moving. The first (and only) shop that we went into was Lazy Daisy Cottage and it was packed with glorious fabrics, and other treasures. My husband and I ventured further back into the shop where a woman was sewing and there were a few others milling around the back "employees only" area. I started speaking with the lady sewing (she didn't offer her name) and was explaining to her my interests in moving and that I was a quilter. She said I should speak with the owner and summoned her out.

I offered my name, "Hello, my name is Mary and my husband and I were thinking of moving to Utah and I was just curious about the quilting community here. I am hoping to bring my therapy business to St. George and possibly start quilting therapy workshops." At this point the last not so much as offered her name, looked both my husband and I up and down to make her final assessment that we were not worth her time and common courtesy. She was rude, very curt with her answers and made the comment on several occasions that quilting is really quite conservative. I can imagine that my tattoos were partially to blame, but to treat another quilter like that was really quite hurtful. She kept briefly answering my questions, and also questioned everything I said, "what do you mean you want to do therapy?" and "I don't really know what to tell you but you can check the phone book for other shops." RUDE> So, we left the shop, after her husband questioned whether I had even quilted before and I was almost in tears. I have been discriminated against before, and it is quite possible that she was also feeling I would be a bit of competition, even though I explained that I was not opening up a quilt shop.

I don't believe in generalizations, I know that not all people in St. George or that quilting guild would be the same, but I have to say, I really don't want to go back and I feel that is exactly what she wanted to accomplish. It reminded me of that scene in Pretty Woman when she goes in with money to shop buy no one will help her and they tell her that she doesn't belong there. Maybe once I have my quilt therapy set up and I have made a great contribution to the St. George area, I can go back in and say "big mistake, big, huge mistake."

God bless her and what demons she might have to work through, but I am still licking my wounds on that one. Please send her some good energy to help her through her obstacles.

Take care quilters and take care of each other.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Oh Finally...

I have been so very busy the last month or so. Work, teaching, taking classes, etc. Recently I just gave a presentation to my freshmen class about time management and "how to eat an elephant -- one bite at a time." Well, I feel like I am eating my elephant on a buffet line with chopsticks (and I am pretty good with chopsticks). For every twenty bites, I was actually only getting 5 bites of food in my mouth and feeling like there was a line of people waiting to get at what I was trying to eat. So, I have decided to step off the buffet line this weekend and take some time from "eating". Since I have a numerous amount of W.I.P. projects to chose from, I decided to take my winter version single girl off the staircase railing and attack it with some river rock motif. Now, I have to say, that while I have been practicing on some quilting sandwiches, I was so nervous to get this started.
Here is my first attempt at free motion river rocks. For me, it is not an option for someone else to quilt my work, as I want to be able to look back or give it as a gift knowing that I have created the whole thing. Granted I am not designing my own patterns (yet!), but at least I know that every stitch was done by me. However, there is a higher level of frustration by quilting your own projects..which is why I am blogging after a shot of tequila instead of still working on my river rocks.

Here is another view.

I am really hoping to get some more quilting done in between my other responsibilities. There are two baby quilts waiting for me too...ugh. It will be so nice when all I have is "work" and my quilting. I say "work" because I know once I am doing full-time therapy it won't be work for me, but where I belong. Back to my single girl.