Wednesday, November 30, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Spent some time this weekend on beautiful Belle Isle (historic island in the middle of the Detroit River).

Took this picture of the newsboy statue with the Detroit skyline in the background.

"Partners" is a statue of a newsboy and his dog. The original statue was dedicated on this spot in 1897 in the presence of over 5,000 Michigan newsboys.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sewline Pencils & Applique Tips

Good evening, friends and neighbors!

Hope all of you had a fabulous Thanksgiving.  I came down with a cold, but that just motivated me to relax for four days - woot!

I did get a chance to practice more applique - all practice but no completed blocks yet.  I've been trying various techniques: freezer paper on top, glue stick applique, regular needle turn, and freezer paper/starch.  I normally buttonhole but am determined to give this a try.

I'm finding that regular needle turn on large pieces and freezer paper/starch on the smaller ones seem to be my thing.  My friend Caroll has a great tutorial on freezer paper/starch applique (makes a darn cute Halloween witch with baggy leggings!).

So far, I've been given some great applique advice by different friends (sorry, I'm getting older - can't remember who said what!):

  • For the most part, you need to know more than one technique because the same technique won't work in every instance.  I like the flatness of freezer paper/starch on the small pieces, and it's less stressful not having to worry about shredding.  However, regular needle turn on large pieces adds a little poofiness.
  • Nobody is going to sit next to you comparing your project to the picture in the book.  Only you will know if you deviated, and, if so, who cares!
  • Make yourself an "applique kit" so, when you decide to add applique to your work, you're not scrounging around and trying to remember which needles, marking pencils and pins worked best.
  • (This one is from my own previous blog posts) When you do find a technique you like, write it out on a big index card so you can replicate it in the future.  Nothing is worse than having to "reinvent the wheel" each time. 
  • Buy a package of round toothpicks from Cracker Barrel.  They are a little thicker so they hold up well if, like me, you store it in your mouth in between stitches (I know - very bad). Wet toothpicks are fab for tucking seams into the right place.
  • My friend Lisa sent me one of these Sewline pencils from Maine for Christmas last year.  LOVE them!  They come in many colors, mark crisply, disappear pretty easily, and are very comfortable in your hand.  It wasn't, however, until I took this picture that I realized they are color-coded up near the clicker (the one on the far right is white).
This half-circle was my first attempt at "needle turn" applique.

Well, all for now, tomorrow is a work day, and it starts pretty early.  Do you have any more tips to add?

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just sleeping off the turkey!

I am thankful for my fabulous family, my loving Oscar & Ginger, for my ability to support myself in this terrible economy, and for all my quilting friends who inspire me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Oh, This Appliqué Thing is Dangerous!

I haven't even officially finished a block, yet (I have 3 practice blocks under my belt). However, I'm looking at quilts a whole new way! Was browsing and stumbled across a Dear Jane quilt - thought to myself, "hmmm.... I can do that now!"

What do they put in that Thread Heaven that makes this so addictive!?!  And, yet, as I appliqué, I still mumble to myself, "They call this ¥%#+! realaxing!"

This cracked me up this week:
Happy Stitching!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Internet Back Up

Hopefully I have something fabulously interesting or insiteful to share tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Internet Down

Just dropping a quick line to let you know my modem died this week and my provider is shipping another.  Until then, I'm busy stitching my Some Kind of Wonderful.  If you get a chance, Anni Downs has a free Christmas pattern on her site as part of the Henry Glass blog hop.

Will catch up when I have full Internet again.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Spent last Saturday at the Belle Isle Aquarium. It was the longest continually-run freshwater aquarium until it was closed 6 years ago. Now, it's only open several times a year including the "moving of the koi". Twice a year, 50+ year old koi are moved from the aquarium's basement to the outdoor pond and then back.

Saturday my sister and I joined dozens of others in this fabulous event. As another volunteer said, the only way to save Detroit is one volunteer at a time.


Monday, November 7, 2011

New "Scrap" Project

Started a new scrap project tonight and I'm [gasp] cutting into the pre-cuts!

Ever heard of Bonnie Hunter's "leaders and enders"? I'm doing that with jelly rolls and Thangles. I have a roll of Kate Spain's Terrain, a roll of Moda's Bella White and lots & lots of Thangles (from a cancelled quilt shop class).

I'm going to make a giant Trip Around the World scrap quilt over the next year. You know my feelings about 15-minutes-a-day!

Because... you know.... I have so much free time on my hands!

Happy Stitchin'

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Birdie Stitches BOM - August

Finished another one!  Still need to complete July and now November.

Happy Stitchin!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - Waymarking Edition

Marshall M. Fredericks, sculptor and philanthropist, is a native of nearby Birmingham, MI.  
"One of the most prolific sculptors of the twentieth century, Marshall M. Fredericks is known in America and abroad for his monumental figurative sculpture, public memorials and fountains, portraits, and animal figures.  His sculptures can be found in more than 150 public and corporate locations in Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, DC, Wisconsin, Denmark, England, Freeport Grand Bahama Island, Finland, Japan, Norway and Sweden.  Fredericks' works are located in parks and gardens, government embassies and royal palaces, museums and zoos, universities, hospitals, and libraries.
 Imagine my surprise in tripping over 3 of his Leaping Gazelle statues on my home turf during my recent adventures:

Detroit Zoological Gardens - Royal Oak, MI

Whitcomb Conservatory - Belle Isle, MI

Graves of Marshall and Rosalind Fredericks
Down the street from the Fredericks' former studio
Greenwood Cemetery - Birmingham, MI
Pretty cool, eh?


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Mystery About to Begin!

Bonnie Hunter is at it again! She has announced her annual Mystery Quilt on her blog today.

Starting Nov 18th and running for approximately 8 weeks, she will post a new step every Sunday. Today’s post included fabric selection.

Now, if you haven’t seen her stuff, she does AMAZING scrap quilts – great way to use up those little pieces. Her theory is (to paraphrase) “if you think your fabric is too ugly, you haven’t cut it small enough!” She is also the brain behind “leaders and enders” (thanks to her, now I have about 3 scrap quilts “in the works” at all times!)

Even if you don’t have time to participate now, make sure you stop by each week and save the steps. She’s taking it down in May to appear in her next book. I was lucky enough to save all her previous ones including the gorgeous Roll Roll Cotton Boll (which will appear in her newest book released 2012).

Also, stop by her free tips and tutorials tabs – she gives away a ton of free pattern for some fabulous scrappy quilts. I follow her blog and her Facebook adventures – she’s a hoot!

Happy Stitchin’