Thursday, March 16, 2017

I Like #10

I'm going crazy at work right now, but tomorrow afternoon I'm leaving for a quilting trip to California with my mom, so that'll be filled with wonderful things to like.

So an abbreviated list of Likes this week:

I like being productive at work.  I don't always love my job, but it is really gratifying when I feel productive.

I like Circque du Soleil.  I was down visiting my sister this weekend and we had tickets to see it (the Kurios show).  I'd never seen it before and it was awesome.  So much fabulousness!

I like listening to my niece read.  She just turned five and is a great reader already.  My sister has been working with her for about a year and a half and she's at the point now where she can read you a story book with an actual story in it (simple ones still obviously), but I'm so proud of her!

I like quilt shows!  The main reason I was down in Dallas was for the Dallas Quilt Show.  It's always fun, a big show with really great quilts.  Here are three of my favorites.  The first two are by Karen Stone who also had a special exhibit of her quilts at the show, and the last one is by Tonya Littman.

And of course flowers!  We didn't get the winter storm many of you did and my crab apple tree has started to bloom.  Happy spring is coming!

Thanks as always to LeeAnna!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Felting disaster

Another file of unshared folders I found while sorting last week was the one holding pictures of my recent foray into felting.  A couple years ago my mom won a needle felting machine in some sort of contest and she and I decided we ought to finally give it a try.

Mom made this little piece for a show challenge.  I can't remember what the challenge fabric was, but it's in there somewhere.  The central panel is a silk painting my deceased grandmother made, and my mom used felting to extend it out.  It didn't turn out to be a particularly strong piece, but it's nice.

Mine on the other hand was a spectacular disaster.  I started with some abstract lines, a large piece of brown felt, and the color scheme of gold/brown/fuschia (probably not an easy choice).  After that I pulled out my scraps and started felting away.  Lots of silk and polyester fashion fabrics as well as organzas.  Here are a couple of in progress shots.

And here it is "finished".  My original idea was to square it up, quilt it, and behold, an abstract quilt.  Alas! After finishing the felting, I hung it up and then burst out laughing.  I turned it over to see if that helped (nope).  I therefore promptly rolled it up and stuck it in a drawer.  I can't exactly pinpoint what's wrong; I think there are too many things to count- the composition, the colors, the awful pink clown smile, all of it.  Oh well, at least it was fun figuring out what kinds of things felted well and what didn't.  It took an annoyingly long time though.

I actually think it's a prime candidate for cutting up and incorporating into something else.  Some of the smaller sections are a bit more interesting to my eye, so maybe in future I'll do something with it.  In the meantime my lessons are that a bit more planning is needed, and that I don't forsee this approach taking over my fiber practice.  Oh well, live and learn!

Not sure these funny round things are salvageable, but I like the section to the left.

Linking up with the art ladies over at Nina-Marie's this week!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Mammals of Oklahoma

I spent most of the month of January working on a new art quilt for an entry that was due the end of the month.  After much scurrying I "finished" enough of it (i.e. faced and turned) to take pictures for the entry.  Just recently I finally actually finished it, with the facing, pocket, and label hand stitched on.  Those last steps sometimes just feel like they take forever!

This project was for a call for textile posters, and asked artists to consider all of the uses to which posters have been put over the years.  I had originally thought to do something medieval to fit in with my illuminated manuscripts series, something along the lines of hear ye hear ye.... but nothing really sparked my interest.  As I thought about it, what kept popping into my mind were natural history posters.  You know the ones with the beautiful botanical/scientific illustrations depicting a bunch of different types of insects, or insects, or shells, or mushrooms, or even dragon eggs.

I'm not an illustrator or painter in this style at all, but I decided to reinterpret this idea using a sort of graphic design approach kind of like what I've done in the past.  I decided to re-work the design I'd used for my quilt Ring Around the Mole.  In my brain this has always been called Mammals of Oklahoma, and I'd always wanted to do something else with the design that could incorporate more of the background information.  A poster seemed like the perfect opportunity.  It took quite a bit of refinement and editing on my original digital file, but I wound up with this.  I do my designing in Adobe Illustrator which is ideally suited to this kind of thing, but it's fairly involved.

I had spoonflower print it on microsuede so that there would be some visual interest.  It's free motion quilted with 100 weight silk thread, similar to the original and with a double batting so that the animals might puff up a little bit.  I wasn't sure how the microsuede would quilt, but it turned out fine.  Very smooth actually and much easier than much of my work that is made out of really weird fabrics held together with lots of layers of fusible.

Mammals of Oklahoma, 32" x 48" c. Shannon Conley, 2017

Mammals of Oklahoma, 32" x 48" c. Shannon Conley, 2017, detail

Mammals of Oklahoma, 32" x 48" c. Shannon Conley, 2017, detail

Mammals of Oklahoma, 32" x 48" c. Shannon Conley, 2017, detail

As I final step, I beaded all of their eyes, which adds just a bit of sparkle and dimension.  I'm pleased with the way this turned out, although in my mind it feels flat compared to the original quilt which used fabric.  The print quality was very good, but I think in future I might incorporate digital prints into things with more other types of fabric as well.

Linking up as always with Nina-Marie and Happy Friday to everyone!  Also linking up this week with Free Motion Mavericks.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

I Like #9

Tomorrow marks the start of a busy period of traveling for me, this weekend I'm headed to Dallas for the Dallas Quilt Festival and a weekend with my sister and her family, so that's likely to generate some likeable things!

Here are some of the things I like this week!

I like sushi!  I've been a big fan of sushi for a long time, and although Mike is typically not an adventurous eater  (which is a euphemism if I ever heard one) he does like sushi.  One of the places we go the most often is Sushi Hayashi- it's just a small place in a strip mall, but they have tasty sushi and it's always quiet and not as loud or chaotic as some of the trendier places.  Yum!

I like baking!  I used to bake a ton, but of course then I just eat everything, but this week I'd signed up to take cookies to church and told my friends I would take cookies to a trivia night fundraiser, so I made some gingersnaps.  Along the way I decided to "formalize" my cookie baking intensity taxonomy, because, well why not.  I decided that Level 1 cookies are all-in-one-go things, stratified into Level 1A, which is drop cookies like chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin and Level 1B which are slightly more complicated things that are still all-in-one-go like lemon bars.  Level 2 cookies are things that require more time and/or advanced planning because they need to chill.  Snickerdoodles, gingersnaps, raspberry thumbprints, etc.  And Level 3 cookies are those things that are such an investment that I usually only do them when I have people over and it's a scheduled activity, things like sugar cookies or gingerbread men that require dough-chill-roll-cut-bake-frost.  I explained this "very important" stratification to my sister, who laughed, so I guess it served its purpose!

Trivia night was fun, I'd never been to anything like that before.  It was a fundraiser for special olympics, and I shared a table with a couple friends of mine and their friends.  In most of the categories I did really terrible and was no help at all, sports, sports stars turned tv stars, ad jingles (but not the easy ones), TV theme songs, etc.  I did get all the questions right in the "Cities" category, and I was the only person at the table who knew the answer to the one Harry Potter question of the night so I guess that was good.  Sadly the catgories I'd have done well in (science, art, literature) did not come up.  Fun evening though!

I love my dogs!  Obviously you all know this already, but Mike just got a new camera and took a few pictures.  Bentley and Bullett are not in the least interested in the new camera, but they're adorable all the same.  Bullett looks a little out of it here-mostly I think he's irritated that no one was giving him a treat.

In the weekly I like flowers part of the segment, I'm sorry to report that my begonia isn't doing to well.  I think it might be cold, but I'm really not sure.  On a more positive note, my work geranium is blooming, which is fabulous!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

I like #8

Happy Thursday all,  I hope your week went well!

My first I like this week is a double whammy.  The first part is that I like getting organized.  I spent quite a bit of time last week going through my digital files and it was very satisfying.  I feel like even as we focus on (or don't) on being tidy, or minimalist, or organized in our physical lives, the digital ones kind of get lost in the shuffle.  And of course, out of sight out of mind, making it very easy for the digital side of things to get out of hand.  But part two of this is that while organizing I came across a bunch of projects I never got around to blogging about.

Thus leading to part two:  I like embroidery!  I don't get to do as much of it as I like, but I really enjoy it.  I have a few different hand embroidery projects going, but don't work on them much.  When I'm at home I tend to quilt and when I'm on the road I tend to crochet (it's a bit easier in the car).  Anyway, a couple of years ago I took just a short class from Judith Baker Montano (pictures from which were discovered in the recent spate of file organizing).  It was all about altering traditional embroidery stitches to make landscapes and was great fun.  Here's the stitch sampler I worked in the class.

On a similar note:  I like Judith Baker Montano!  Her work is so exquisite and layered, I especially love her landscapes- they have tons of depth.  I haven't done any landscape embroideries as complicated as hers are, but after taking the class I did do one embroidery/monoprint for a swap that turned out fun!

Keeping with the same thing- I like embroidery blogs! One of my favorites is Mary Corbet's Needle n Thread.  She has such fabulous embroidery resources and I recommend it for anyone interested in embroidery.

Linking up as always with LeeAnna!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

WIP Wednesday: Work on the Confession Quilt

Morning everybody,  I'm jumping in today with an update and request for input on one of my ongoing projects.  

It's in my on the Episcopal Liturgy and is almost done, but I'm stuck on the finishing.  A little background, the central carries a prayer (the confession) printed using Jacquard's sun printing stuff.  I blogged about the printing process last fall and am finally back working on the project after a few intervening things.  

The whole medallion is floating in the turquoise frame and is connected to the frame only by thread. The white you see is openwork, that's just my design wall shining through. 

The whole piece is about 36 x 36 to give you an idea size wise.  I usually do a facing, but I feel like this might benefit from the framing effect of the binding.  I've pinned up some potential binding choices, I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on finishing options- either of what's up there or other suggestions.  In the second overall picture I cropped it down more what you'd see of the fabrics if I used them for binding.

What do you think?

Linking up with Nina-Marie and Free Motion Mavericks!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Memory Quilt for Grandpa Wilbur

In sorting through my digital files (a sisyphean task if ever there was one) I found this folder of pictures I never blogged about, and it seemed like as good a time as any.

You may recollect that last year my Grandpa Wilbur turned 90, and I made him a small wall hanging.  Well for his 80th birthday (and the 80th birthday of my other grandpa) my mom, sister, and I made him a memory quilt.  We were all fairly beginner quilters then, so made some decisions we wouldn't make again, but it was a wonderful project and I think a meaningful one.  It's still hanging in his house.  Unfortunately, one of the beginner mistakes we made was not taking any pictures when the quilt was first made, so all I have are these pictures taken just a couple of years ago while the quilt was hanging in his somewhat dark hallway.  And of course as soon as you look at them you realize that we didn't put enough quilting over the photographs so they're sort of saggy.  You can get the idea anyway though.

In addition to the photos, we made a bunch of paper pieced and appliqued blocks representing things that my grandfather loved and spent time on, and interspersed them throughout the quilt.

These duck condos along the bottom are one of my favorite things.  Many years ago my grandparents owned a lovely place with ponds and grass where you could fish-by-the-inch.  It was the kind of place you took your kids so they could catch a fish or ride pedal boats.  There were hundreds of ducks that lived on the ponds and my grandpa built them a floating island with these small doghouse size buildings on them.  They really were painted pink with polka dots and had duck condos written on them.  The ducks loved them and always built nests and stuff inside.  So crazy.

 He always loved flying and making kites, thus the kite paper pieced block, and here you can see him flying a kite with my little sister when she was small.  He always used an electric drill to wind and unwind the kite string.

Tennis and fishing were his two other big hobbies, and he played until sometime in his early 80s.

Here he is with my Grandma for their engagement picture, unfortunately I can't find this picture or the digital copy anymore.  It's too bad because this year they are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary!!  Happy anniversary Grandma and Grandpa!!

This one is lots of pictures with the grandkids, that bottom left one is a special picture with my great-grandpa as well!

It was a fun trip down memory lane to look through all these again.  Love you Grandpa!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

I like #7

Gosh I'm falling so behind!  First this post is late and then I realize I haven't posted anything else in weeks.  I have projects to share!  And thoughts!  Goodness knows I just need some time to write them down.  Oh My!

But, luckily there were lots of things to like this week.

First, I have to just share my weekly blooming flower.  My spiral begonia, which I at one point despaired of keeping alive, has made a bloom!!!  I'm so excited!  I thought this plant was so cool, I asked my friend to get me one, but it's been a bit touchy.  I was thrilled when it felt healthy enough to make a flower.  Even just a little one.  I've never grown begonias before.  Mike took the macro picture.  Anyone have any tips on growing begonias?  I still don't think it's what you would call healthy.

The next thing I like this week is the feeling of having completed the 10k with my sister!  I went very slowly (definitely slower than many of the power walkers), but I jogged the whole way.  My sister runs much faster than me, so she finished and then jogged back to re-jog the last mile with me.  But it was great to finish!  Another sticker for my calendar.  We're going to do another one in May, hopefully I'll be a little bit faster by then.

But the main thing I liked (loved) this week was having my sister and my niece and nephew up to visit.  They're 3.5 and almost 5, and are such a blast.  Constantly laughing and giggles and silliness make it really hard to stay depressed and cynical.  What a blessing they are to me!  We had a lot of fun hanging out and playing with them.  On Friday morning they woke me up around 5:45 so I went and curled up in their room while they started with their 100%-on-already morning fun.  I caught this cute shot of them playing pillow monster!

I also like doing crafts with the kids!  So fun to do low-pressure things that they enjoy.  Both kids got a kick out of this project my sister found on the internet somewhere.  It's fairy mud! It's made out of microwave-exploded Ivory soap, shredded toilet paper, water, and glitter.  The soap thing was especially cool, if you've never done it, it's pretty nifty.  Apparently it only works with ivory though.  After they made their fairy mud sculptures they covered them with treasures found around my studio and backyard.  All kinds of random things, including an empty shell casing that fell off my reloading area.  I love the sparkle and bright colors.  Unfortunately my sister "forgot" to take them home.  They were fun to make, but I'm not sure how long I'm obligated to keep them.  :) 

All in all a much more likeable week than others.  Linking up as always with LeeAnna!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

I Like #6

Welcome to another round of I Like!

1.  I like my family!  Last weekend I went up to the outskirts of Tulsa help my Aunt with a garage sale. She's downsizing and moving back towards home.  My Uncle is on a job site down in Midland, so she's on her own, but she and I and a bunch of her friends had a great (but exhausting!!) time!  I don't get up to see her as much as I'd like, so it was good to see her.  She goes to a fabulous little rural Methodist church and it was so fun to worship with her.  As you know I'm a big fan of choral music, especially all the traditional Anglican hymn tunes (many of which aren't really Anglican and are also in the Methodist hymnal), but we don't sing very many Gospel-style hymns in the Episcopal church.  Her church does though, and it was fun to get to sing a bunch of fun stuff with a little lilt!

2.  Discovering old family treasures! While going through stuff up at my aunt's she pointed out this pot that my mom gave her a long time ago.  This in an of itself isn't particularly strange, my mom is a potter by profession, and has had a studio pottery business since the early 80s, so most of us have pots from her.  But come to find out, this one was extra special!  When we flipped it over, we found the date, 10-11-78, and when I asked my mom she said that was from her very first pottery class, back long before she was making pottery professionally.  She doesn't have any pots from that era, and didn't know any were still around.  So cool to find it!  My aunt has had it almost 40 years, and she says it's always sat on this beautiful carved sideboard.  The sideboard key is taped into the pot lid so it won't get lost!  The sideboard itself has a family history,  my great great grandmother Kennedy was an artist who painted oils and ceramics and also carved furniture and this is one of her pieces.  Fun to hear the stories!

3.  Blooming flowers!  More blooming flowers this week!  Lately I'm on a roll with blooming flowers, keep your fingers crossed and I'll have something blooming most weeks.  That would be awesome.  Just now, my second Christmas cactus is blooming!  My big one is red-orange and usually blooms in the fall, but this one is blooming a bit now with these bright pink blossoms!  Love it!  Mike and I aren't big on valentine's day, but he did take a picture of this flower for me with his fancy camera (not this picture) and framed it for me, which I thought was very sweet!

4. Quilty traditions!  I've always been a crafty valentines person, and actually this year is the first year I didn't make valentines to send out.  Very sad actually.  But a few years ago, my mom decided that instead of making valentines for me and my sister, each year she'd make us a valentine's day quilt block, and one day we can put them all together into a quilt.  It really made my day when this one arrived.  Love you Mom!!

Thanks as always to LeeAnna for keeping us positive!

Monday, February 13, 2017


I mentioned in some of my I like posts that I recently had to attend a black tie even for work. Since I inherited a bunch of fancy fabric from a friend of my mom (thanks Georgia!) I figured it was a great opportunity to make a dress. I picked This pattern because the princess seamed construction and silhouette is one I've made many times before and the asymmetry adds some interest.

It wasn't a hard pattern to sew, but it did take a while.  One thing I didn't think about is that because of the asymmetry, each pattern piece had to be cut out separately (i.e. not on the fold or on a doubled piece of fabric).  And the pattern did a terrible job explaining how to attach the lining to the outer part.  I've made lined dresses before but they always had sleeves, and the sleeveless dresses I've made previously had facings rather than linings.  In any case I finally found a youtube video (which of course I can't find now) that helped me figure it out.

I also wound up having to make a facing for the black skirt.  In small print on the pattern envelope it said "reverse side of overskirt shows" or something to that effect.  I didn't think much of it until after I'd completely finished an hemmed the overskirt.  I realized that because of the angle on the front (and back) of the black skirt, where the fabric falls into folds you could see the reverse of the fabric.  It was ugly, with seams and visible hem, and the off color that the back of velvet is.  It really made the whole thing look unacceptably crafty to my eyes.  There weren't any skirt facing pieces in the pattern, but I just made my own using the bottom of each skirt piece, so now the reverse side just looks like the front.  It was a lot of extra work the night before the event, but I think it was worth it.

I had a good time braiding up my hair (which is still pretty short for braiding, but I made it work), but sadly didn't get a very good picture.  It was pretty dark at the event and at my friends' house where we were getting ready.  We did have a good time at the dinner though; I talked more about that in my I like post a couple weeks back.  I am especially pleased with the invisible-ness of my invisible zipper- I've had trouble with those before, but this one went in very smoothly!

After scurrying around like a crazy person trying to finish the dress, I felt the need for something easy and low stress.  I've been wanting to make a sewing machine cover for my bernina embroidery machine for a while, but never got around to it.  I don't use it very often and it really should be covered up.  It's a really strange shape, but I pieced up some brightly colored quarter square triangles (hourglass blocks?) and then after some loose measurements came up with this.  It fits pretty well all things considered, and I love seeing the bright colors when I walk into my studio.

Have you done any clothes sewing lately?  I have a bunch of fabric, but I think this might be all the clothes sewing I do for a while!