Friday, June 18, 2021

By Request: Home #4


 Home #4. Hand dyed and commercial cottons, fused, machine quilted, hand embroidered, mounted on painted wood panel. Made by request for Rosalind. 
I couldn't find the sleeve to my memory chip for my camera, so I resorted to using my tablet to photograph this work. I like the result so much I may just put my camera down for a time and take the documentation photos with that tablet, which is large enough not to misplace.

In an effort to make this as accurate an image as possible, I have included this shot on the easel.




Update on hanging the artwork in my living room:
 It was a group effort that came to naught. My sister saw that I was planning on hanging my quilt on my own and volunteered to come over and help. I was so happy to have her here. But soon we realized that we needed reinforcements so she called her husband (working at home) and he brought a second ladder and the much needed 30lb test fish line. We placed the Command hooks, and hung the quilt and it looked great, Unfortunately I didn't take a picture. They left and I began reorganizing Dave's room, moving furniture and vacuuming the tumbleweeds of doggie hair. Soon I heard a sound that could only mean the quilt had come down. Luckily it fell onto the couch, leaving one Command hook in the quilt sleeve and one remaining 85" up from the chair rail on the wall. I left it there for two days, finally getting it down yesterday. 
It was meant to be, because after our failure to hang, my pal Patsy and her hubby Charly, took me shopping in their truck. 
O boy! We went to Home Goods and since Patsy had been there the previous day, she found a statement piece for my living room re-do that she had to show me. 

Swoon! I fell right in love and had to agree this was meant for me. We both opened a credit card so we could get 10% off our purchases and were such happy girls. This is abalone shell inlay, four doors with shelves inside. I am so happy. And also happy that the quilt didn't get hung because now I have another quilt in mind to hang that will be better when the rest of the new furniture arrives and I have assembled it all. 
Alls well that ends well. 


 

Monday, June 14, 2021

Gathering the artwork

Now that the rain is over, the garden is established and the 90+ degree days have arrived, I am finding time to do the necessary things to get this house decorated. It's only been 10 months since we moved in, but with the advent of new furniture and a complete decorating reboot, I know what needs to be hung on these huge blank walls. 

This is Bosna #2, 69x78"Hand dyed and commercial cottons, machine pieced and machine quilted, and has never been hung because the rod pocket has yet to be sewn down. This will be my task for today. I have an electical conduit pipe all ready to cut to size and hopefully with Dave's help I'll be able to hoist it up high enough to look appropriate. I am using Command hooks, as I have a big distaste for nail holes in my walls. I don't think I have ever tried to hang a quilt this large in that manner, so we'll just have to have faith that it can be done.


Lots of much smaller work has been unpacked and I have grouped them by color. Good news for me, I just found out my BFF Patsy had a decorating company in the 90's, and she'll be supervising me, I need help.




Saturday, June 12, 2021

New Views


Here's the new living room rug, which is still relaxing from being rolled up for shipping. I had a cream and black buffalo check rug here but it wasn't helping the look so it went on the front porch, since it is a indoor-outdoor fiber. I wanted/needed a red and white rug and ordered one online that turned out to be beige and maroon in real life. I had to return it and pay the return shipping ($60!!! argh) and then accidentally found this one online from Kohl's. If I opened a Kohl's charge I could get 35% off my first purchase. Well, needless to say I did. It is really really red.
Now here's the thing...you know I love my pugs, but because of them I can't have anything nice, and the view here lasted only minutes. I have to have that gingham cover on the couch or I would be washing the cushion covers weekly, which is a real hassle. Plus the skirt on the couch is an invitation to my little criminal Prince Tony to lift his leg. Mostly his aim is off, so the floor gets the puddle, but it is the skirt he thinks needs to be marked. Arrghh again.
Prince Tony

I have come to the conclusion to start over again with doggie proof furniture. The couch will go in Dave's room which is plenty big enough to accomodate it and since he loves to nap on it, I am sure it will be quite welcome. The two rust colored IKEA leather chairs will return to my sister's house and the other two metal chairs really belong in the screen porch. 
So here's what I decided to order. Outdoor furniture with rain impervious cushions. They have zippers, which is great for those times when I feel the need to machine wash them, but they wipe clean. What I really love is that the frame is acacia, and not all that outdoorsy looking. 

Here's the couch with ottoman scooted up to look like a chaise. The coffee table is included, also acacia. I know from experience that outdoor cushions are not 'cushy' since they must drain the rain, but for the time being they will do. When they flatten out for good, I can easily get foam and fill them to satisfy my cushy loving desires. I hope this works better and is going to be a bad doggie deterrent. 
The same day the rug arrived, so did my landscape guys. Ten shrubs and an Autumn Blaze maple tree got planted and major mulch makes it all look so grand. 




Of course we still have those circles of weeds left from the previous owner's flower beds. But I am promised that those will be taken care of soon. We have had an entire week of rain, thank God, and the plants are going nuts, but wait, a week of high temps will be coming and then look out!

7 am in the veggie garden. The potatoes and corn are going full on, and I am hoping to train the cucumbers, butternut squash and watermelon to climb up the tomato cages. I can't believe how well those kiddie pools work for these vegs.
But I do have deer, rabbits, and chipmunks that insist on sharing the feast. My first tomato had a big chunk bitten out of it, and lots of ants finding it tasty. I could have a fence around it all, and maybe I will but even so, I am enjoying the garden just the way it is. 

The green beans have had all their top leaves eaten off, but the buds for the beans remain. We'll see if the poor plants can produce beans after that haircut.
I did rescue an almost ripe tomato, and four, yes four baby zucchini.
One of three planters of basil. Lettuce Leaf and Mammoth varieties, with purple basil to boot. Can pesto be far behind?

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Home #3


Home #3 
Hand dyed cottons, silk charmeuse, commercial cottons, fused, hand embroidered and machine quilted, mounted on painted wood panel, 11x14". SOLD

Yesterday my pal Patsy came over to watch how I make a fused quilt, where and how I begin and what comes next etc.
It was good for me to have a 'student' again and explain all the steps. We had a lot of fun and I especially like the resulting composition. I had more courage after making the last few works and got out my special charmeuse silk which is the part with the hand quilted circles. I am using a new photo editor which means there is a learning curve on getting the image to look like I want it to look. The focus seems a little soft to me, but I hope you get the idea.

Here's a closeup of the stitching. I am all about pots of flowers these days so just for fun I included a polka dot flower pot with French knot flowers. 

As for any questions you may have about the process, I will refer you to my free online lessons on my Focus on Fusing site. 
Please go to the beginning lesson, which can be found in the sidebar, starting with July.

This work is available for $100 plus shipping. Email me at fibermania at g mail dot com.

I have discovered that the post office is now operating more like UPS or FedEx and the cost for mailing this is between $8.85 and $13.65, depending on the final US destination. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

By Request

    
Leaf Light #2.    Hand dyed cottons, fused, machine quilted, 24.5 x 33". 
Once I got back to quilting, I got an email from a long time reader who has been following since way back when I was still knitting socks! and she cautiously wondered if I would consider a commission. 
Hmmm. Would I? 
Well, she made an offer I couldn't refuse.
And after reading further, and finding her interested in something with leaves or trees, I sent her pics of a few previous works to see what she might like. Then she replied with some more ideas. Of everything we exchanged, I had made repeat editions of most of the works, with the big exception of this one:
Leaf Light, 53x56, hand dyed fused cottons, machine quilted.

This was the only suggestion that was unexpected and lit my fire, so to speak. So to make a smaller version was so exciting and I got started by looking for fabrics that would be as vibrant and rich as the original. In order to help myself, I pulled the quilt out of my storage closet and that gave me all the information and direction I needed. I actually like the newest version better, because the quilting adds more to the surface, as the first one was just stitched in the ditch. 
The work in progress, aided by the bright morning sun.



  

To say I am thrilled with the results would be an understatement. I keep looking at it and taking pictures and just feeling like....I still got it!

Monday, June 7, 2021

Garden Update

Who would have thought I could really grow a garden in baby pools? In this first picture we have lettuce, onions, watermelons, brussel sprouts, Doggie Tony, potatoes, green beans, corn,  zucchini and tomatoes. Not making this pic are sugar peas, which I will never be able to cook as I eat them as soon as I see them forming. So great, and tasty. In another bed are butternut squash and cucumbers, plus a second planting of French haricot vert beans. The potatoes are in large grow bags and for weeks it looked like nothing was happening and then whamo! So I have a bunch more bags in the wings should I decide to get more dirt and have more of a real crop. I will have plenty for this trial/experiment as it is. So if you will recall, the initial investment in this no dig, raised bed garden was around $100, which is by far the least expensive one I have ever attempted. So I am pretty thrilled with how it is coming along. I have four pools and one bed I made from landscape bricks, plus four grow bags in use. Not counting the planters full of basil on the back porch railing. I will take pics of those soon.

 Here's the corn field. I knoooooow they are too close together, and will be thinned out but it was such a surprise how fast they germinated (2 days) and appeared in neat rows. I have divided the bed into two parts as tho this will help me know which variety I planted. One is bi-color, and the other is small 7" ears of super sweet, both will be mature in 60 days or so. I have never even tried to grow corn before, in all my years of gardening. But my pal Patsy encouraged me and what the hey? We'll see what happens. I fertilized this bed first, knowing corn is a heavy feeder and will mulch when the plants are thinned a bit. 

 In another bed, I have more brussel sprouts, bibb lettuce and my four pepper plants. Poblano already forming! All they needed was warmer nights and lotsa rain. Thank God for rain.

 Lotsa tomatoes, five on this one plant, Better Bush a determinate variety. Two more indeterminate plants in containers. Alongside them are radishes, the few the rabbits didn't eat. Nothing to write home about but so quick to mature. My beets and rutabage all got eaten too. I could replant for a later harvest when the first round of green beans are over. Luckily we have a really long season here.

 When I see 4 packs of lettuce I think, why are they so expensive? and then I buy them anyway. This head of Bibb is gigantic and could feed the neighborhood. I will be making a big salad and some pasta and we will dig in. Next to it are the watermelon vines. I love their leaves and would grow the plants just for them. 
 A little baby zucchini is forming, and so far no vine borers, which are always a menace. I did find one cucumber beetle, and crushed it immediately. I must be vigilant. We have been blessed (finally) with days of rain, and this morning I walked outside and it was like a steam bath. Hot and wet, so great for the garden.

 Out in front in the peony bed, which has been overtaken by all the plants I could squeeze in there, we have had nasturtiums start to bloom. Love these dependable darlings! Also planted here are lots of Wave Petunias, calibrachoa. coneflowers and blue bedder salvia. The lilies I planted will not be blooming this year, except for one, but will store energy and be great next season. 

This is the driveway side, and because the nasturtiums here are shorter, the other plants are more visible. A big garden sage is up in front, because it is beautiful as well as a great herb, and then lots more petunias, lobelias, bacopa which recovered from the frost earlier, and in the center, hard to see, are a lot of zinnias, which will fill in shortly.

 I have four kinds of hardy geraniums, (aka Cranesbill) and one is spreading out and filling in and engulfing a peony. It has small purple flowers with a black throat and is so lovely. They are perennials and will be great to see returning next spring. I'll be saving their seeds and see if I can get them started in other spots. The more the merrier.

 The shady end of that bed has a neat bunch of impatiens blooming under the crepe myrtle. Not in the pic is an ostrich fern bought in a bag from Walmart. It is growing great and I hope to have it spread and fill in the shady spots. 
I made a solemn vow to not have so much gardening to do in this house. Yeah, right. But here's the thing. So much of it was already here and I just added to it, sorta. And while I prefer raised beds, growing right in the ground does help with watering, a bit. And now that my retractable hose is hooked up, if and when I do have to water, it is easier than it ever was.


Thursday, June 3, 2021

Home #2


I was merely going to clear off my table, when a few pieces started coming together and soon I was making another house, or two, one in front of the other. 
Home #2
Hand dyed and commercial cottons, fused, hand and machine quilted. 11x14", mounted on hand painted wood panel. Available for $100 plus shipping. Email me at fibermania at g mail dot com. SOLD
This is so much fun to do. And #2 was even easier than the first one, since the fabric was out and ready for me. And isn't it strange that during Covid, we were all stuck at home, and now I am making home quilts. Hmm... Home, but in a good way.
Thank you for all the encouraging words you sent. I really 'got it' that you were glad along with me. 

French knots with fused dots. What could be better? The dots might be leaves and the knots might be rain drops which is my kind of happy. It rained here all night which is glorious to hear and to know what miracles it will produce in my garden. I recently planted corn and a second set of French haricot verte beans and both are springing up out of the earth with such enthusiasm. Not to mention the flowers and vines. Woowoo! Garden pictures to come, when the rain clears.






Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Home Again

 Home #1. Hand dyed and commercial cottons and a teeny bit of silk, fused, machine and hand quilted, mounted on painted wood panel. 12" square, one inch deep.



I am so, so, so happy to be back at work in the new studio, making house quilts again. It has been YEARS since the last one was made and I kept seeing them on Pinterest, and felt a bit nostalgic whenever one popped up. Obviously I wasn't done with the concept.


It's all coming around full circle. And I will be continuing this series til I run out of ideas. I love the French knots and the fringe on the light turquoise fabric. 
For those who weren't here in the very beginning of these quilts (2007!!!) they are mounted on the board with self adhesive hook and loop squares (velcro) in each corner. The panels have a recessed back making them easy to hang. O, and I painted the board too. 

To get started, I made a trial quilt on Sunday and used mostly scraps that I found collected in a bin. I was not happy with it and determined to get out some of the 'good stuff' and try again on Monday. O my! I had forgotten what gorgeous fabrics I had and choosing was so difficult. My tower of fused fabric is deceptive, because inside each roll of color are layers and layers of related colors, textures and large leftovers from previous quilts. 
 I decided to cut a large swatch from each of the rolls, but soon realized that I had already done that and the swatches were on the top shelf, wrapped up in paper to prevent spilling. Phew! That saved me hours of cutting and rolling. But then from those initial cuts, I made more cuts, this time into skinny strips for the construction of striped strips. 

I made a bunch of strips sets for use as borders in this and future work. Even the teeniest slivers are usable. Gotta love fusing!

Standing all day had been a problem before I had my knee surgery, and thinking ahead, I bought myself an anti-fatigue mat which helps quite a bit. I also found myself sitting at a stool to rest while continuing to work. I found the daylight just right for my eyes and never turned on the overhead light fixture, altho I did buy new LED bulbs in case I would have a cloudy day or want to work before sunrise. They are supposed to last 22 years. Geesh! I'll be 95 by then. Whoa.

I woke up today all excited to get back to work, and I haven't felt like that in ages. Such a wonderful feeling.
Yay! 

Home #1 is available for $100 plus shipping. Email me at fibermania at g mail dot com. SOLD