Friday, December 16, 2011

Wishing You a Wonderful Holiday Season

This is a festive and joyous time of year for many.

My wish for you this holiday season, as always, is peace, health, and happiness.

My blog will return after the holidays and I look forward to another year of sharing.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Favorite Quote

I have a small post-it note attached to the computer screen that rests on my desk. It has a quote that I read every day as I work at my computer.  I thought I would share it with all of you.

Your work is to discover your work
and then
with all your heart
to give yourself to it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

So you think your life is complicated?

It is holiday time and for many of us, the holidays mean we have more than our usual list of things to accomplish. When you begin to experience a slight feeling of overwhelm, it always helps to develop some perspective.

In aikido, we have a simple ki exercise that we do to develop our awareness of balance. It is called, ude furi undo. It is a simple turn with arms extended so you are facing 180 degrees from where you started. We often do a series of turns back and forth as part of our warm-up exercises at the start of a class. To complicate matters, the instructor can call for one turn at a time or two or three turns. The more turns, the more the challenge to maintain balance. My friend, Tom Crum, often uses this exercise in workshops. People find the initial exercise of one turn a bit challenging. Once we ask them to do two, three, four turns, and then return to one turn, they find one turn easy. Tom's usually then offers a metaphor for life. If you think your life is complicated, take on something bigger like world hunger, your issues will seem much smaller.

In a similar vein, if you are experiencing the feeling of overwhelm with the holiday, I thought you would enjoy a recent post by a friend of mine,  Dena Crain. She is a wonderful art quilter and instructor who happens to live in Kenya. In the post, Dena describes a recent day in her life. And, she also offers a similar metaphor to Tom's in her description. Enjoy!

PS. Dena has a great design class, Goodbye to the Grid, starting in late January on Quilt University. I have taken it twice and am planning to take it again. She is a wonderfully challenging teacher who really makes you stretch!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Bohin Iron Cleaner

I do a good deal of fusing in my art works. Unfortunately, this often means that residue accumulates on my irons no matter how hard I try to protect the iron from the fusing. I strongly suspect that I am not alone in this regard.
A few weeks ago, I read about the Bohin Iron Cleaner in a blog. The person was raving about the results.  I already was impressed with the Bohin company and had written about their needles and marking pencils inn a post last January. So, I immediately found the Iron Cleaner online and ordered some.
Coincidentally, the iron I was currently using was actually getting so decrepit that I had to resort to my back-up older iron, which while not totally clean, was in better shape, while I waited for my iron cleaner to arrive.
I am happy to report that it did arrive on Friday and I immediately put it to the test. It works! I now own two functioning irons.

The product works extremely well. One iron came completely clean and the other is almost perfect. I suspect if I tried another application, I could get it spotless. My biggest critique of the product is that in applying it to the iron, you consume quite a bit of the stick. Having cleaned two quite dirty irons, I used over one third of the stick - it melts on the iron surface when you rub it on the iron and you then wipe the surface clean with a soft cloth/towel. Fortunately, it is not too expensive and I am hopeful that if I maintain my irons by cleaning them more regularly, it will take less of a stick to accomplish the task.
If you are interested, here is one source that I found online for the iron cleaner.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Realism or not.

My desire to create art quilts has lead me into a deeper study and understanding of the world of design and art appreciation.

In the few years that I have been drawn to this genre, I have learned that art quilters come from many diverse backgrounds. Some come from an extensive background with in traditional quilting. Others come from other art mediums and wish to include fiber and the quilt format in their works. In either case, the artists may or may not have studied design formally in an academic or non-academic setting.

Quilt artists interested in showing their works in juried shows now enter their works in both quilt shows and more general art shows. As they do this, their works are open to critique and evaluation by an increasingly sophisticated set of judges and the judging criteria includes, quite rightly so, not just technique but composition. So, no matter your background, if you wish to create art quilts at a juried show level, an understanding of design and trends in the art world becomes essential.

Robert Glenn, in his current Twice-Weekly Letter, acknowledges and discusses the current preference for photo-realism that is reflected in the judging of many shows. The term 'extreme rendering' is used to describe art quilts that are amazingly detailed and realistic in their design.  While I am somewhat new to Robert's subscription base, I gather that his letter introduces a topic and there is an ensuing online discussion that expands on the topic. If you are interested in the latest trends in art quilting or looking for perspective on this latest trend in art quilt judging, you might want to check out Robert's letter on this topic by subscribing to his letters.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Joy in Service

I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.

Rabindranath Tagore

Lyric Kinard asked everyone join her in making this world a better place by doing one good thing, one act of service, every day in December. You can read more about it on her blog. It is a great idea and, I bet if everyone focuses on this theme for a month, it will become a habit for all of 2012. Wouldn't that be great!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Appreciating Filters

Tom Crum used to have a great saying in his workshops, When a pickpocket meets a saint, he sees only his pockets. What a great reminder that what we see in any situation is greatly influenced by our filters - all of our thoughts, values, heritage, etc.

Here is fun example:

While I was in New York City a few weeks ago, I passed by a quiet oasis beside a church. There were some brightly colored flowers blooming, even though it was mid-November, so they really stood out. I love to the detail in flowers so I snapped a few photos. I saw only the colors and intricacies of the flowers and leaves.

This morning I was perusing my many photos as I considered a post for today. One of those photos jumped out at me - not for its botanical charactistics but because it formed a perfect heart.

Amazing to me now that I never saw the heart before. Glad that I see it now. :)

Have a great day and be aware of those filters!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nature's Spire

This piece has finally made it off my design wall to completion.

It was inspired by some wooden shingles at a friend's condo in the Colorado mountains.

As it grew, it changed in orientation and sat on my design wall for many weeks.  I finally used some quilting with a double needle to finish it.  I am quite pleased with the result and have already started a second piece in the same genre.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Blog Surfing Results

Spent some time yesterday surfing a bit...through blogs, not water. Thought I would share a few of my discoveries.

WeAllSew - This is not a new blog to me but this post was really interesting. A product called Fuse & Fleece by OESD that can be used for making things like coasters. I am sure that there are a myriad of quilters out there with random small blocks etc that could easily create some Christmas gift coasters with this. While it will be a bit before I can explore it, I can visualize a few uses.

Art From The Heart - In a totally different vein, here is a blog created about the killings in Tucson almost a year ago. To quote from their purpose, Art from the Heart is an online exhibit, complete with process descriptions, of art designed to bring attention to the growing problems of hatred and violence in the United States, as well as the need for peace and nonviolence on the planet. It has been maintained throughout 2011 and is a glimpse into art with a social responsibility theme.

The Art-O-Mat - Lisa Quitanna just wrote a blog piece on this idea. I had found it mentioned last week on someone else's blog (sorry I have forgotten whose) and looked for the company's blog. They have been in business for years. It is a creative use of old cigarette machines. I suspect that one doesn't earn much but I have read that artists do get referrals from their contributions. Wondering if Fuse & Fleece would be helpful in creating the small pieces.

Friday, November 25, 2011


It's the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S.A. We celebrated the holiday quietly, content with connecting with both of our children, taking a walk, and having a quiet dinner. My heart fills with gratitude for all that I have been blessed with. I feel this gratitude every day, not just on Thanksgiving. In celebration of the event, I went looking for some great quotes on gratitude.

Here are a few that I found:

When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears. - Anthony Robbins

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. - William Arthur Ward

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.  - John Fitzgerald Kennedy

In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy. - Brother David Steindl-Rast

I am grateful for what I am and have.
My thanksgiving is perpetual...
O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches.
No run on my bank can drain it
for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.
Henry David Thoreau

Thanks to everyone who reads my blog!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Exploring Curves and Gradations

I spent some time last weekend at the Museum of Modern Art enjoying their beautiful collection. It was my second visit this fall so I decided to choose a personal theme or 'filter' for observing the art works. I have found that this approach to browsing through a gallery that I am able to visit more than once is a good exercise. It encourages me to examine works that I might not spend much time on otherwise as perhaps the subject or the color is not of interest to me.

So, for this visit to the museum, I focused on how artists used curves and gradations in their work.

Here is a work by George de Chirico entitled The Serenity of the Scholar. (I apologize for the angle of the photo).
 This caught my eye because of the effective use of gradations in the pose of the hand on the cylinder...
 and in the glasses resting on the table.

Upside Down Ada by Alex Kata, painted in 1965, has some wonderful curves in it.

Upside Down Ada

 Notice the hair - both for the curves and the gradations....
and, of course, the curves that create those rivoting eyes.
It would be impossible to visit the museum and study curves without one of the most famous paintings housed at the museum - Van Gogh's Starry Night.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Exciting Exhibit

I spent my weekend in New York trying to get in as much inspirational museum and gallery visiting as possible. One delightful discovery was the Gary Snyder Gallery at 529 West 20th Street in Manhattan.  The gallery is in the same building as the Uncommon Threads exhibit at the Kathryn Markel Fine Arts Gallery which was also a must see on my list.

Gary is a fellow aikido instructor whose career off-the-mat is as an art collector. The new space is wonderful and the perfect place to view Richard Van Buren's works. The exhibition highlights Van Buren's works in thermoplastic and his first exhibitio in a New York gallery in almost ten years.

Eighteen sculptures are on view and are stunning. There is a magical, other-word quality to them as you wantder the gallery. A twenty-four foot floor piece dominanates while other works extend out from the walls. The colors are delicate, subtle, and mesmerizing. Van Buren adds touches of natural materials such as sea shells as he plays with combinations of organic and inorganic materials.

This really is a must-see exhibit. Hope you can view it!

Friday, November 18, 2011


This was such a fun project! The request was simple - a baby quilt for someone who is a marine biologist. I wanted it to be simple and an opportunity to work on skills. I designed the whole piece and had a great time coming up with colors for the fish.

I used wool batting for the first time. I had read in a recent Quilting Arts article that wool batting is easier to work with if you are not on a long arm. I found it much lighter and easier to move around for free motion quilting. 

As I wanted to keep a fair amount of loft in the quilt, I used a very simple quilting pattern of wavy lines for the ocean section. I also decided to leave the border unquilted. The dark green plant actually has a fair amount of contrast as it is quilted somewhat heavily with a light colored thread.

All in all I was totally delighted with my design and ease with which I could applique and quilt it. Hope the baby likes it too!
Close up of some fish.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Fun Project

I had a request for a baby quilt with a marine biology theme. It came at just the right moment so I decided to use the opportunity to fine tune some of my applique skills. I was able to quickly come up with a design that I thought would be cute and not take too long.

Of course, now well into the project, I appreciate that nothing designed from scratch is quick. Sure glad that I wasn't aiming for an intricate design or the baby might be 10 before I finish!

Here are some views of my process:

A basic ocean background and plan for fish, plants, etc:
 Marine life begins to appear:
 All set with a border (which is really green) and ready to applique in and then embellish and quilt:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

In-home Study Opportunities!

I had to pass this post from Gloria Hansen's blog along - Artspark Winter Tutorial Bloghop. It is a series of 11 different tutorials that you can view. It began yesterday and continues through November 19.

I might argue with including 'Winter' in the title as it has been unseasonably warm here but it is a great opportunity to pick up some tips. 

Here is the complete list of tutorials as listed on Gloria's blog:
Hope you can take advantage!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


One of the pieces from last week's design wall is evolving into a finished piece. Here is a peek at the progress. The tentative title is Nature's Spire.

The quilting was absolutely fun and a bit of a meditative process. I am really pleased with the result. I used the Bernina stitch regulator and, as usual, it was great. Coincidentally, I picked up a new foot yesterday at a Bernina presentation at the Bobbin Case, the Leather Roller 55 that I suspect could also have have used and that I expect I will use quite a bit in the future for this sort of echo quilting.

Nature's Spire is now back on the design wall in my office for contemplation while I work at my computer. I am still undecided on the final shape of the piece so I haven't quilted the outside dark brown fabric yet. And, I am considering some ideas for embellishing. Yesterday while I was out and about, I picked up some beads and silk yarn to play with a bit.

For now, this piece will sit for a few days till I have a clearer focus. Will keep you posted. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Stress-Less Travel Tips

While I certainly don't fall into the same category of frequent flyer as those who fly about every week, no one would argue that I do travel more than the average American. I realized that over the years I have developed my own guidelines for taking some of the stress out of flying. So, I thought I would start a series of posts over the next few months on Stress-Less Travel.

Today's tip is take advantage of non-traditional airport services.

To get where I needed to go this past weekend (Boston) from my home (Rochester, NY area), I was forced to make a slightly ridiculous connection through Philadelphia for my return flight - there simply were no through flights from Boston to Rochester on Saturday. The trip was fairly important to me and driving was not an option so it meant a two hour layover in Philadelphia. Fortunately, Philadelphia has an awesome array of airport stores and restaurants and, as I looked about, I recognized two of my favorite ways to make use of my time when I am faced with extended layovers - massage and non-fast food meals.

Many U.S. airports now have convenient spas where you can get a quick neck and shoulder massage. In this day and age of carry-on luggage, we give our bodies a real workout lugging along our suitcases on wheels. These spas offer anything from 10 minute to 30 minute chair massages that are fairly reasonably priced. There are several companies with locations in major airports across the country:
  • XpresSpa is located in airports in Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, Dallas, Orlando and several other sites. I have used their services at LaGuardia and now Philadelphia. What is exceptionally nice is that they will let you spend a few extra minutes in their ultra-sophisticated lounge chairs after your massage, if your schedule permits. Beats sitting at a gate for an hour any time.
  • Massage Bar is another chain that operates in Seattle, Washington Dulles, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Nashville, and Sacramento. I have used their services in both Seattle and Washington Dulles for years. They offer a frequent customer punch card that has no expiration date so you might even be able to earn a free massage.
Another tip that I have learned over the years is to take advantage of sit-down restaurants serving other than fast food. It is great when you are running for flights to grab one of the pre-packaged meals readily available in airports. I have eaten many a dinner sitting at my gate prior to boarding, or taken my Chicken Caesar Salad in plastic packaging on a plane when time was really short. But, if I have a longer layover, actually being served is really nice.
  • Vino Volo is my favorite sit-down airport restaurant. Billed as a wine bar, it serves really well prepared meals at surprisingly reasonable prices. If you wish a glass of wine, the selection is outstanding and varies from location to location and over time. I discovered one of the early Vino Volo's at Washington Dulles buried back in the C concourse near where many of the evening flights to Europe depart. It was filled with Europeans having a glass of wine before their flight. That was several years ago. Now, Vino Volo has expanded to a dozen airports around the U.S. and their venues are often open and look more like regular restaurants than bars.
In summary, some times long layovers are unavoidable (there are times when they are a good idea too but more on that in another tip).  Sitting at a gate for hours is unpleasant and uncomfortable. Wandering aimlessly is fatiguing. Taking advantage of the time to care for yourself through services such as massage or with a good meal sends you on your way relaxed and more likely to arrive at your destination less stressed.

Happy travels!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pieces of my Mind?

Here is what one of my design walls looks like at the moment:
The piece on the left isn't cut off, it just ends there. The one in the middle is some layers of fabric that I was playing with for fun, mimicking the rings in some woooden shingles I had taken a photo of. The other piece was from a dyeing class I took last summer. All three pieces captivate me in some way. What way? Well, I haven't quite figured that out. :)

Right now, you might say I am between major projects. I am casting around for something to get enthusiastic about. I decided that rather than being idle - not in my disposition by any means - that I would just sew some forms that interested me. I put them all up on my design wall two days ago so I could stare at them.

So, Wednesday night our monthly SAQA Visioning call involved a guided meditation by a guest leader, Virginia Kellog. She led us through a guided meditation on vision and goals. Much to my surprise, I began to see some themes from my meditation that related to the patterns on my design wall - much to do with layers. Where this will exactly all lead, I can't really say. I do think that the idea of just letting myself play with fabrics and designs without the pressure of creating a finished piece was productive for me. Perhaps both that play and the guided meditations reflect my subconscious leading me towards my next complete project.

Stay posted for the answer!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The woods are lovely dark and deep,
but  I have promises to keep
and miles to go before I sleep,
and miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost

Walking up our hill today after a long run, I was struck by how beautiful our woods are this time of year and how fortunate I am to be able to appreciate them. Tonight I found Robert Frost's poem buried in some cards in my closet. In this day and age, it seems so many of us have promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep. And yet, it is so important to stop, breathe, and just savor the moment. 

Hope you have a great day.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Prayers for Meetings

I spent the weekend in CT where, yes, there was a snowstorm. I was there for the annual Board of Trustees meeting of the Franciscan Family Apostolate - an organization that my family has been involved with since it's beginning in the early 1970's.

I noticed on Saturday morning that the Agenda that the President had given me noted that I would open the meeting with a few remarks and a prayer. Hmmm. The meeting was only a few hours away. I make absolutely no claims to know much in the realm of official/organized prayer. The act of praying is more of a contemplative personal experience for me.....

So, what does one do in such circumstances? Why Google, of course. I entered something like "prayer for opening board meeting" and sure enough I was greeted with several options to surf. I wound up on a site of the Benedictine Health System. This actually is an organization that runs long term and compassionate care facilities in seven states in the upper midwest.

Why exactly they had prayers for meetings on their site, I don't really know. However, I found their suggestion for a Board Meeting to be quite appropriate for how I visualized starting a meeting. Here is what they suggested:

Almighty God, Ruler of the Universe,
   by Your power we move and have our being.
We are gathered here today to serve You
   and conduct the affairs of (name the facility).
Give us knowledge and strength to do Your will,
   with a proper balance of eternal values and our present needs.
May we accept our responsibilities and act with courage,
   considering the feelings of other people.
Grant us a sense of justice and stewardship both now and forever.
Not bad! The website actually has a whole selection of prayers for various meetings and other special occasions. So, if you are ever searching for just the right words (or a thought that you can customize to meet your needs), check them out

By the way, it was a good start. We had a great meeting and the power didn't go off until we had finished!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Taj

At the end of our trip to India, we visited the Taj Mahal. I was told everyone should visit. I didn't understand why but trusted. I am glad I did. The Taj is an experience at many levels. Two thoughts stay with me - diviersity and detail. For this post, let me focus on detail.

I have always thought of the Taj as a huge white structure. That is certainly true.
First View of the Taj
 But, as you approach, you begin to realize the artistic detail of every inch of the building. Can you begin to sense that from this next photo?

Every inch of the marble is etched, inlaid. You can see that even more clearly in these photos.

 And here is some detail of the marble inlays and carvings.

This one almost looks like a quilt! It is actually the inside of a dome structure.
And, I am only sharing detail for the actual Taj. There is a mosque to one side of the Taj that was built for the workers (and a replica of that mosque on the other side simply for balance). These structures are art works in themselves - not to mention the artistry in the various 'gate' buildings through which you approach the Taj.

It is no wonder that people walk about in awe, sitting a bit to take more in. Your senses are continually bombarded by beauty - at a grand and a detail level. It is truly an inspiring site - majestic seems too small a word to describe it. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Did you know?

Did you know that there was a city built underground in Turkey during the 8-7th centuries B.C. that could accommodate between 35,000 and 50,000 people. The city, named Derinkuyu, had a total of 11 floors, each of which could be closed off separately. The city had many amenities, such as wine and oil presses, stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, and chapels, that were also found in other underground complexes of the day in the area. I found that absolutely fascinating! The city is located in the region of Cappadocia in Turkey - a region characterized by soft volcanic rock which made construction underground relatively easy. The rock was soft to dig through but hardened upon exposure to air.

I learned all this while out for a long run on Sunday. I always listen to podcasts of travel guru, An hour passes in no time as I visualize the places that Rick and his guests describe. Rick's podcast from October 8 includes an interview with Lale Surnam Aran, tour guide/organizer based in Istanbul, Turkey.

Back to Derinkuyu, can you imagine 50,000 people living underground? Even today, it sounds like a futuristic concept. And, this was already accomplished over 2500 years ago.

An old stone winery

 Here is a little more info from Wikipedia on Nevşehir, the province that Derinkuyu is located in and apparently a popular tourist attraction:

Nevşehir Province has several other historical underground cities. The cities and structures are carved out of unique geological formations. They were used by Christians as hiding places during times of persecution and raids. The locations are now archaeological tourist attractions. They remain generally unoccupied. In excess of 200 underground cities containing a minimum of two levels have been discovered in the area between Kayseri and Nevsehir. Some 40 of those contain a minimum of three levels or more. The troglodyte cities at Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu are two of the best examples of habitable underground structures.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cats, cats, cats!

Right before I left on my last trip, I received a call from our local humane society from someone about making some cat quilts from some donated fabric.

Each cat receives a quilt for their bed from they are brought in to the facility and the quilt goes home with them when they are adopted.

It is a really simple project - basically cutting fabric, adding batting, and sewing everything together yields what the Humane Society wanted. So, of course I said yes. I am half way through the fabric and the results are a wide ranging assortment of colorful little rectangular quilts.
It is a good project for me right now. A bit mindless, but giving value to an organization. I am betwixt and between on my next 'serious' project so this is a good way to feel productive when I am a bit lacking in actual direction. :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Colorado Venture

I just spent the past few days in Colorado. While there I was able to return to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum I had been able to visit the museum last May during the SAQA Visioning Conference. This time it was much quieter and I was treated to a personal tour by one of the volunteers.

The museum was hosting two exhibits - one was a stunning collection of quilts by Ann Elliott. The appliqué and hand embroidery was amazing. Check out this close up:

The museum was also displaying the work of art quilter, Kathie Kerler and some works from their permanent collection. The juxtaposition of the traditional and art quilts really worked in ways that surprised me. I found myself more attuned to the similarities in craftsmanship of all the quilts rather than the differences in composition. For example, Ann's quilts had a good deal of hand embroidery in them. Note the very effective and exquisite use of hand stitching in the close up of one of Kathie's art quilts.

From Golden, where the museum was located, it was a quick trip over to Lakeside where I was able to catch the Re-Visioning Fiber exhibit that Rebecca Benson had organized. I was really delighted to have the opportunity to see some of the quilts of SAQA member, Nancy Cook in the exhibit. I have followed Nancy's work through the Vision Project and met her last May at the Vision Conference but this was my first opportunity to view her quilts in person. They were wonderful. I had heard Nancy describe her techniques and seen photos but nothing compares to viewing in person.  My photos definitely do not do her work justice as the lighting, among other factors, was not optimal. However, here is one of Nancy's displayed works and a close-up which shows hand stitching, obviously a theme of appreciation for me that day!

 As you can expect, I came home energized and inspired, ready to create more myself!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wonderful Memories

We had many wonderful experiences during our trip in India. My daughter created a video from different scenes that she captured during our trip. I love the sounds .... hope you enjoy it too.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Celebrating Onam 2011

We were in the Indian state of Kerala for the celebration of their holiday, Onam.

According to wikipedia, Onam  is a Hindu festival celebrated by the people of Kerala, India. The festival commemorates the Vamana avatar of Vishnu and the subsequent homecoming of the legendary Emperor Mahabali. It falls during the month of Chingam (August–September) and lasts for ten days. Intricate flower carpets, elaborate banquet lunch, snake boat races, Puli Kali (the tiger dance I had previously posted about, and the Kaikottikkali dance all play a part in the festival.

While we were in Kochi, we stayed at Sajhome. Saj and his family were celebrating Onam and I was able to help decorate their pookalam, a flower carpet,  assembled on the sidewalk outside their home.

Have a peak at its construction:

Some pookalam are quite elaborate. Here is the one in lobby of our hotel in Alleppey - that is my daughter and son-in-law in traditional dress.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Another Scrap Project Completed

This must be my week for using some of my stash. Our quiilt guild, Genessee Valley Quilt Club, has an on-going project of donating Comfort Quilts to local hospitals, nursing homes, etc. I always try to make a few quilts each year.  Here is my latest:

It was really fairly simple to make and, once again, came out of my stash. The pattern is Bento Box. I had used it before to make a quilt for my son. This time I simply gathered some of my stack of random 'busy' pattern fabrics and then look for some solid color complements. You simply pair light and dark fabrics and then cut and sew.

If you like the pattern, you can find it on Tracey Brookshier's website.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Quick Project

Yesterday, I made another bag that I can use when I am traveling. I am tempted to call it a 'half-yard bag' as you can easily make it with two quarter-yard scraps and some left-over quilt batting.
The outside is some silk fabric that I had in my closet (I can find things now!) and I lined the bag with some cotton that was also left over from another project. Since one of my resolutions for this coming year is to use up some of my stash, I expect that this is not the first 'Scrap Project' that you will be reading about.

The bag is so simple, it is silly. Cut two pieces of fabric the width that you would like the completed bag plus about an inch. Next, decide on the depth of bag you want to make, and if you want the top flap to cover part or all of the front of the bag. Based on this, cut the length of your  two fabrics.

I decided that I wanted to play with my embroidery side of my Bernina so I put a motif on the front panel of my bag.

You need to have a clear idea of where you want a motif before you start to sew! This one was centered about three inches from the bottom of my outside fabric.

Once you have embellished the outside of the bag, it is a quick sewing task to sew the batting, outside and inside (good sides of fabric facing each other) together, leaving an opening to reverse the bag which you then sew closed after reversing. You could quilt the entire bag at this point, though I chose not to.

All that remains then is to align the bag so the overlap of the top flap is as you wish and then sew the two sides of the bag together. The sewing portion of this project took less than an hour.

I love my little bag. It will be perfect to store some of my neck scarves on my next trip!