Sunday, December 26, 2010

White Christmas in Greensboro

The snow started Christmas morning, but it was several hours later before it began to stick.  The photo above was taken right before dusk.

This is the same vantage at about 7:40AM on Boxing Day.  We are cozy inside with plenty of food and can appreciate just how beautiful it is out there.

More Christmas presents

With all of the purple fabric scraps I had left from the wedding, I've made two different kinds of ornaments.  You will remember that I made pennants for porch and prayer flags for wedding decorations.

First I cross stitched Anna and Matty's names and the date of their wedding on canvas.

 Next, I did some crazy piecing around the canvas to create the front of the ornament.

Here they are  all ready to stuff.  One is for Matty's mom and dad, one for Anna and Matty, and one for us.  As doorknob art, ours will hang on the door of Anna's room.

This is a gift for Anna.  The lavender  was in her bouquet.  I dried it and made a little bag with the netting that we used to make bows on some of the guest chairs at the wedding.  The binding is made from the purple scraps and the bow is from the ribbon on her bouquet. The little tag at the top says all of that.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

"C is for Cat and Caylan"

Since this is a Christmas present, I'm putting this post together to go up on Christmas Day.  My niece, Caylan, is an artist and adores cats.  She works in a cat hospital in between making art.  I've had this fabric for years and wanted to try to find a way to use it in a quilt for her.

Back in 1999 when Jim and I were in London for the summer, I went to a British quilt show and bought a charm package that was all cat fabrics.  I wanted to use those in the quilt, too.  I finally settled on the snowball block.  Above is Sharon Hultgren's Easy Angle ruler™ that I use to cut the half square triangles.

Here's the first block laid out.

Four together.

Nine together.

All the blocks are assembled and the borders are on.

The backing fabric is flannel.  Everything is all basted and ready for quilting.

The continuous bias binding is a combination of two animal prints.

This is the tag that will go on when the bias is sewn on.

The large meandering or stippling stencil is a great compliment to linear blocks.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Really, I'm still here but you know what it's like during the holidays...

OK, I know it's been ten days, but in my own defense, I'm making Christmas presents that I can't post pictures of until later.  There are already two pre-scheduled posts that are all finished. We wrapped and mailed off everything to family out of state last Monday and Tuesday.  I've been wrapping things here and I made some of the tags.  (Click on the photo above to make it bigger and you can see them.)  Dan arrived last night from LA and Anna is in flight as I write this.  It is such a blessing to be together for the holidays. Matty will arrive in the middle of the week.  

Quilted Librarian is out to finish Christmas cards and make more cookies!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Making cookies with Munchie

My dear niece came over today and helped me make a ton of Christmas cookies for Jim's faculty and staff.

Here's her first batch cooling.  They are called Peanut Butter Blossoms and are a family favorite.

Gingerbread snowflakes came next.  Thanks for the great help today, Munchie!

Saturday, December 04, 2010


Look at this!  Our first snowfall in North Carolina.  It wasn't supposed to stick, but it's still coming down and it's definitely sticking.  Christmas cookies are on the schedule this weekend and the snow will put me even more in the holiday mood.

Update at 4:00 PM

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Guest bathroom reveal

There's just a little more painting to do around the new tile in the tub, but the vanity area is all finished.

Here's the left side of the vanity.  I still have sanding to do in our bathroom before I paint in there.  Pictures will go up when that's completed.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

"Small Saturday": Love the concept

Victoria Vargas who blogs over at Smaller Living has proposes that rather than participating in the hysteria of Black Friday, we think about supporting local businesses and independent artists when buying Christmas presents--something she's calling "Small Saturday."  I love this concept and we certainly have tried our version of it over the years.  I would also encourage you to make as many presents as you can.  I think people really appreciate handcrafted gifts more and more.

Last month, I attended the annual pottery show at our local Farmer's Curb Market in Greensboro.  I found some amazing work by Leanne Pizio at Three Dogs Pottery in Oak Ridge, North Carolina.  Now I have several unique and beautiful gifts for family members AND I've helped support a local artist.

When Dan and Anna were growing up in Indiana, Black Friday became a traditional day for us to take the kids shopping in downtown Crawfordsville so they could buy our gifts.  I took one child, Jim took the other, and after shopping, we met for lunch at Arthur's Café.  After lunch, we switched children and found the other gifts.  The children enjoyed it so much, that we kept doing this even through their college years.  We all got to spend a calm, quiet family day AND support local businesses.

Last year, I made lots of fold-up cloth shopping bags for Christmas gifts.  These were very simple to make, but were truly appreciated by the recipients.  This year's gifts will have to remain secret for now, but I will reveal lots of them in a Christmas Day post.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and please, leave me a comment about your thoughts and ideas on "Small Saturday."  Thanks to Victoria for inspiring this post today.  The photo above was taken by Jim and is of Anna and Dan in front of our house in Crawfordsville probably around 1983.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nerd Alert

I'm in the movie theatre waiting for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 to start. Color me excited!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bathroom painting and HP 7

This will be a short post.  I am painting in the guest bathroom and still working to take that awful wall paper paste off both bathrooms.  Once the painting is done, I will reward myself by seeing "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1."

 Here's hoping you all have a wonderful weekend.  I'm certainly looking forward to Thanksgiving and some serious vacation time.  Quilted Librarian is back to the paint ladder.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gorgeous gingko

Jim and I took our lovely niece out for lunch today to celebrate her 21st birthday, then we went to a matinee at UNC-G.  Right outside Jim's office is a beautiful little courtyard made spectacular in the fall by this incredible gingko tree.

I love the shape of the leaves and the way they are clustered on the branch.

We have enjoyed another warm and beautiful weekend here in the Piedmont Triad.  I hope yours was wonderful in your part of the world as well.

Monday, November 08, 2010

New Woobie revealed: Happy birthday, Jim

Happy sixtieth birthday to my dear husband.  Here he is modeling his new woobie of which he highly approves. The weather is just chilly enough here to make him happy to have it around him in the evenings. You can check out the posts about the construction by clicking on woobie quilt over on the right under Labels.  This is the second quilt I've made using the "Single Girl" pattern.  You can also click on that to see posts about the first quilt.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Guest posting on a library blog and other librarian news

I hope you will click over to Melissa's Librarian By Day blog where I have the guest post today.  She put a call out for posts on historical fiction for young adults and I wrote one about a Margaret Peterson Haddix novel I really liked.

In other library news, Stephen Abram published the results of his librarians' hobbies survey on his blog,
Stephen's Lighthouse.  Not surprisingly, recreational reading topped the list.  Knitting was tenth, but quilting was really an "also-ran," way down on the list.   I suspect there are more of us out there, just from the people I've heard from and met at conferences and quilt shows.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Why I always vote

I always exercise my right to vote because so many of my sister ancestors, the American suffragists, devoted their lives, ruined their health, and suffered countless disappointments to secure it for me. Pulitzer prize winner,  Connie Schultz of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote a column in 2004 after see the HBO presentation of "Iron Jawed Angels" that more than went viral on the Internet. She wrote an update in 2008 that I recommend you read if you are hesitating about making the trip to vote.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mining a source of inspiration to create a new quilt: Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2010

Welcome to the Blogger's Quilt Festival, Fall 2010.  Because I had such good response to my spring post for the Blogger's Quilt Festival, I've decided to follow a similar plan of updating my original post as I construct a new piece during the fall festival. My inspiration again comes from Wonderland's Alice.  This time, rather than the images of John Tenniel, it comes from the words of Lewis Carroll.

The quote appears in the first chapter of Through the Looking Glass and comes from the Red King.  I love the concept of the pencil being uncontrollable, having a will of its own.  I have some vague mental images rolling around in my head involving mark-making on fabric with different size pens combined with lots of black, white, and grey fabrics with graphic designs. Like many quilters, I fight against the urge to "go literal" with an image. I don't want to make a quilt that features the image of a giant pencil ! ( Elizabeth Barton has a great post about this, by the way.  You can check it out here.)  My imaginings center much more on the writings of this pencil Lewis Carroll talks about.  What do "all manner of things that I don't intend"  actually look like? Here's some of the fabric with graphic images.

The fabrics with pencil and pen designs will probably show up on the back or in the binding, but who knows?

Here's a look at the first constructions using some new millennium fabric.

This piece will be improvisationally pieced on an intuitive basis and we will see where it leads over the days of the festival.  Thanks for reading and I hope you will check back as I update this post.

Update: Friday, 29 October 9:40PM
I made a trip to Hobby Lobby today for more marking tools and stencils.

This is the beginning of a white on black letter.

Here it is on the background fabric.  As the components start to appear, I am getting a clearer idea of what the whole might look like.

Update: Saturday, 30 October 12:45PM

This is not a composition, but rather just some of the elements grouped together for a picture.  I'm really pleased with the look of things so far.  Back to Safety Pin Studio!

Update: Saturday, 30 October 4:00PM

I've decided to do all the letters in the alphabet but in different fonts and cases.  Here's my "i" unit that I printed with typewriter font rubber stamps. The back of the fabric is stabilized with freezer paper that I iron on and then pull off once it's stamped.

Here are the units so far.  There's going to be another repeated letter unit for the "e."

Update: Sunday, 31 October 7:45AM

Good Halloween morning to all of you festival visitors.  Here are my next two "repeater" elements.  The wonderful black fabric that the "e's" are on was designed and made by Laura Wasilowski.  I've been hoarding it for years and now I'm thrilled to use it in this quilt.

Now that the composition is coming together, the shapes of the various elements is being dictated by where I need to fill in an open space.  I like this kind of creative problem-solving.  Today shouldn't be as interrupted as Saturday was, and I'm hoping to get close to finishing the front.  More later.  Now, it's back to the studio.

Update: Sunday, 31 October 9:00AM
I'm constantly moving the elements around and now that I see this photo, I can see another move I want to make.  Back I go to Safety Pin Studio.

Update: Sunday, 31 October 1:40PM

Nothing is sewn together yet, but I think this composition will work. There's more Laura Wasilowski fabric in the "y" repeater element.  I'm thinking a grey first border and then some of the white on black fabric with cursive writing all over it for the second border.    I used the black on cream fabric with print letters to fill in the spaces between elements. 

I'm taking a little lunch break and then back to work.

Update: Sunday 31 October 8:30PM

Here's the top sewn together with a grey border.  One border is going to be enough, I think.  

The border fabric is by Debra Lunn and Michael Mrowka for Robert Kaufman. It's an oldie from my stash.  I will use the white on black cursive writing fabric for bias binding.  Quilted Librarian is out for tonight.

Update: Tuesday, 2 November 8:30PM

This is the beginning of the title block.  I'm using my typewriter font rubber stamps on fabric that's been stabilized with freezer paper on the back.

There's nearly enough pencil fabric for the back.  The black on white cursive writing fabric may work around the edges.