Monday, May 31, 2010

Project update - mini Irish chain challenge

"Flowers in the Garden." 
The "finished" wall-hanging measures 19"x19" and has been a whoooole lot of fun to put together, except for stabbing myself in the finger and thumb a number of times :) The front is what I would consider a traditional layout and is all hand quilted. The back has a somewhat more "retro" look to it and is machine appliqued. Picture 2 is a "sneak peek" of part of it. I have to finish embroidering the flowers.
Most of my small quilts are double sided and I can usually come up with a way of either adding a label or signing it somewhere. This one I'm stumped so any suggestions would be appreciated.
I have a new quilt design in the works that I am really excited about. It's been twirling around in my brain for a while now and this morning it gelled so I sketched it up quickly and now just have to "formalize" the design. I'm not going to be able to use my fat quarter collection for some of it which means ............ fabric buying....... or begging ...... or swapping !!!!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Tennessee - the volunteer state - thanks :) To everyone that has helped in any way since the flood you are much appreciated.

Hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day week-end and take time to honor those who are serving or have served to maintain our freedom and bring peace to others.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Taking a short break for a few days.

I'm taking a break from posting for a few days. School finishes for the summer in a couple of days so new schedules need to be created. Projects need finished and mailed out. My brain is slightly fried and needs time to "kick back" :)

A gift from my garden to each of you.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Spring 2010

Greetings to those of you visiting from Amy's Creative Side, home to the semi annual Blogger's Quilt Festival. This is the 3rd event and my 3rd time participating :)
This small wall hanging incorporates my two loves - cross stitch and hand quilting. The only machine sewing was for the internal seams. It was a joy to create right from the start and I use it for the header at my other stitching blog.
The project was originally just going to be a basic "learn how to use linen floss for Valentines Day" cross stitch but it morphed into a small quilt when I found some fabric in my drawer that "begged" to be used with it. I never did use the linen floss and the cotton floss that matched the fabric so perfectly was left over from another project :)

Some other details. Finished size approx 131/2"x133/4". Center approx. 63/4"x63/8". Hand turned  binding from back to front on 3 sides with prairie points along the bottom. Hand quilting done with DMC Ecru. Cross-stitch done on 14 ct. Aida with DMC color 3712 - 2 over 1. Cross stitch pattern called Letters Heart/Couer de Lettres by DMC.

Thank you for taking the time to visit. I hope you are enjoying the festival. I know I am. Lots of wonderful quilts to see and fabulous stories to read.

Project update - mini Irish chain challenge

I like making small quilts and wall hangings but decided a few months ago that I needed to join a group that specializes in that. I found Small Quilt Talk at yahoo and I am learning a goodly amount. The group is moderated by Kathy Tracy author of "American Doll Quilts", "Prairie Children and Their Quilts" and "Remembering Adelia".
Learning challenge #9 is mini-Irish chain and is my first project with the group. I like using bright colors but decided to go with a more muted palette of browns and cream for this one. The basic top is done and I am now doing things to it :) The finished quilt will be two sided.

Project update - crochet

I have overcome my irrational attitude toward crochet:) I made a doily. My very first. I am thrilled and have bought more yarn.

Michaels is open again so I went in yesterday and found a really nice book "I Can't Believe I'm Crocheting! updated edition" (which about sums up how I am feeling) that shows how to do both right and left hand crocheting.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Local Life - Chihuly

The Chihuly "takeover" of Nashville is unfolding. The exhibit and talks at the Frist are already set up, Bluebeard at TPAC is this weekend and Cheekwood opens their part later this month.
I am sooo excited  that this multi location event has finally arrived. I'm holding off on the Frist so I can take the kids. Hubbie and I are going to see Bluebeard :)
Head on over to to see some of the stunning works of art.
(photograph taken from the Frist site.)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's an Interior Thing - definitely an attitude of mind

I think I am unnecessarily intimidated about learning to crochet and so with some of my "fun money" I bought these
Then I watched a few You-Tube videos because I still don't understand some of my written patterns.
I like the series "Art of Crochet by Teresa" and her demonstration of a half granny square seems very simple.
I also like her - Crochet V-stitch Granny Square

Here's some of my "aspiring too" pieces from my antique crochet collection. All were made by my great-aunts and grandmothers. Some still have to be put together.

I have used all of the above at some point. My favorite is the green doily.

During the lifetime of my grandmothers and great-aunts it was fairly common to see crocheted items used round the homes as dresser sets, under vases, to edge napkins, as plate covers, teapot warmers, table runners etc. Surprisingly I have no granny square items in my collection but I do know my grandmother made at least one blanket in her lifetime.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Scots Corner - Scottish Country Dancing

Have you ever danced to accordion and fiddle music? Have you ever collapsed on the floor after a really good reel and wondered why you had not gone into training before hand?
Would you believe SCD was taught as part of P.E. when I was in high school. We had dances at the end of each school year and our teachers nagged us into perfection. They took groups of reluctant "we don't want to hold hands with each other" students and honed them into respectable, fun loving dancers. Eye contact was still a blushing issue but at least the rest of the bodies looked good attired in kilts or dresses.

(photo - Inspiration Holidays)

I did have a problem with the whole process in that I was one of the taller, lankier, girls which meant ........ I learned the men's part because we were usually short of boys. So I had to learn everything backwards first and right ways second ...... no wonder I get confused :) (Gay Gordons being the worst.)
My favorite tune to dance to was The Lewis Bridal Song. Ironically I have a cousin Mairi and she played this at her wedding.
Here's a rather elderly but fun version of the dance played by the legendary Jimmy Shand Band.

(photo - Highland Wedding Musicians)

The adult version of the school dance is a Ceilidh. In other words, same dances but you can get boozy too :) I'm a purist - I can trip over my tootsies in style without the addition of alcohol. I have witnessed gentleman manage to dance their way through without spilling a drop from their beer mugs. Now that's definitely a talent !!!

(photo - Thornhill Country Dancers )

So here's a fun site that goes through the basic steps and then shows you a number of the different reels.
For whatever reason The Dashing White Sergeant and The Military Two-step are the ones most typically danced and merrily botched up at parties and weddings :) Tons of fun and great ice-breakers. Lots of "twirling and whirling." If you really want to tax your brain learn the Eightsome Reel in short order.

(photo - Dance Scottish Week 2008, London edition.)

In preparation for Dance Scottish Week 2010 - 17th-25th September - RSCDS is running a photography competition. All you have to do is photograph country dancers jigging away in front of a recognizable landmark, monument or country symbol and submit your entires by June 30th.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Blog of the Week - Sew Many Ways

A goodly number of people are familiar with Karen at Sew Many Ways. If you are not here's one of the reasons why - her regular Tooltime Tuesday feature. It's great. She takes objects you might not necessarily think about for solutions to household/quilting problems. Most of them are so simple that I for one usually say "Duh, why did I not think of that?"

What is that dangly bit?
What's coming next?
Darn, I should have held onto my buttons :) Speaking of which, Karen is currently doing a button giveaway. I want them you cann't have them !!!!

She did what with this!!!!

Go for a stroll through her blog and find out more. Karen has a very entertaining way of drawing you into her projects and you always come away feeling as if you have learned something.
Check out the photographs she took at the MQX, Machine Quilters Expo. Amazing. (Sunday April 25, 2010). Will my own machine quilting ever get that good? Highly unlikely because I prefer to hand quilt - BUT - they are good ......... very...... very ......... good :)
So thanks Karen for thinking outside of the box and giving us such entertaining ideas for very simple daily items. and as she says "The happiest of people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Project update - re-visiting some dogs and a new project

I was working on a series of Scottie dog wall hangings last year and came to a grinding halt with one of them - 4 seasons. I put all four together in one grouping but did not like it and could not quite work out why. I unpicked everything and decided to go back to my original idea of making 4 small "quilties". I'm currently working on winter and trying out beading for the bottom edge. (And yes your eyes are not deceiving you, the borders are cut at a slight angle.)

Because I moved a number of containers from the basement to my sewing room I was unable to access my sewing machine until yesterday.
To keep me "occupied" I have been designing and hand stitching a pillow. The back of it will be a quilt design probably in white, navy and lime green to go with the colors I've picked for the front. I am working on the upper left hand corner at the moment.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Local Life - Bellevue Family Picnic

The annual Bellevue Family Picnic is still scheduled for Saturday 15th at the BELLEVUE CENTER MALL parking lot A. (between Dillard's and Macy's) 10.00a.m.-10.00p.m. (don't go to the normal location). Thanks to Sam's Club for sponsoring the event. So take a break from the flood clean-up at some point during the day and go eat good food, visit vendors, enjoy games. New this year -  children's bicycle safety inspection and race. I wonder if I'll still be able to see the fireworks display from my house?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's an Interior Thing - the simple life

Aaaaah the fresh smell of sea air as gentle waves roll onto the beach. The giddiness of children (and adults) building castles in the sand, eating grainy sandwiches while reveling in the heat of summer, and chasing sticks with their dogs. Skin turning red from forgotten sun screen. Ice-cream never tasted so good. The aroma of hot chips (french fries) in bags as people stroll along the promenade. Folding beach chairs and sunshades creating an oasis of shade.
Have you ever dreamed about living by the ocean or transforming a non-conformist building? For me it's been windmills, tiny little chapels or houseboats, none of which have been realized but give my mind plenty of opportunity to visualize :)
Someone who has taken on the challenge, and blogs about her beach house renovation is Sarah at  Her cottage is in Australia but she is currently back home in England visiting some old haunts.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Scots Corner - the River Forth

Scotland is surrounded on 3 sides by ocean and has many streams, rivers, lochs and lakes. They are the country's lifes blood so to speak. Used for farming, fishing, industry, and tourism just to name 4.
The River Forth rises near Loch Ard in the Trossachs. It is joined by the River Teith and the River Allan  and then meanders through Stirling (where I grew up). From that point it becomes tidal and goes on to form the Firth of Forth estuary. It then flows out to the North Sea. It is the main river that drains (and floods) the central belt of Scotland.
(Photograph courtesy of Finlay McWalter)

(Photograph courtesy of Alan Campbell.) See the green bit in the middle of the loop - at least once when I was growing up it was totally submerged.

(photograph courtesy of Stirling Council)
Up until about 1936 Stirling was the easternmost bridge/road crossing point over the river. There has been a bridge in existence in the town since about the 13th century.

This area is what I consider to be "the chin to the face" of Scotland.
There's lots of interesting towns, villages and scenery along the river. You can even do a river tour which takes you right from the starting point out to the sea. Much as I am not fond of the works at Grangemouth when you see it all lit up at night from the motorway/highway it's inspiring.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Blog of the Week - The Quilt Rat

Jill Buckley from Ontario Canada, aka "The Quilt Rat", IMHO is a wonderful artist. She was going to be my spotlight last week but with the weather that hit us she suggested we wait :) Congratulations on having "Graffiti" selected for the juried show at the 2010 Grand National Quilt Show which opened on Saturday and runs till June 13th.

Some of you may already be familiar with Jill's art piece "Earthbound" shown here with some of her collection of mini sewing machines. I love "Earthbound" and it was my initial introduction to Jill's work. Having said that I am spotlighting her blog because of her doodles. I enjoy reading and seeing her thought process as she takes what many might think are common or familiar objects and turns them into something highly creative and "out of the box".

I highly recommend you visit to find out what Jill did with the above flower. I guarantee you will learn a lot from her experiments.

There's also a Scottish connection ...... of sorts. "Tartan Delight" was created for the 2009 mini quilt challenge at McDougall Cottage in Cambridge, Ontario. Read Jill's April 28, 2009 post to find out more about that annual event.
Thanks to Jill for letting me raid her blog for photographs and for being such a wonderful inspiration and teacher to many of us. I will take you up on your challenge to doodle :)