Thursday, June 14, 2018

I Like #70

Welcome to another week of I likes!  First a housekeeping update:  For the last couple weeks I have no longer been receiving e-mail notifications of comments.  I'm trying to figure out how to fix it, because I like replying to you guys by email, but bear with my while I fight with blogger!

It's been a reasonably good week, but the kind filled with regular life rather than photo-oppy events.  So a few things to like:

1.  I love having the occasional weekend not overburdened by obligations and plans.  I have so many hobbies I love and other outside work commitments, it's very rare to have a weekend without a ton of things scheduled.  This last was one such weekend and it was great to be able to stay home and get a bunch done.

2.  I love being able to fix things!  I'm not particularly handy like my dad, but I don't mind working on things and it's very gratifying when I'm able to fix them.  My lawnmower had been broken for a week or so, and this time of year that's too much.  After much trial and tribulation, many trips to various hardware stores and amazon orders, several phone calls to my dad and a couple to Mike (many of which included me holding the phone out so he could hear what the engine sounded like), I finally got it running.  I definitely learned about my lawnmower, about which I previously knew nothing.






3. I love the pups!  I snapped this photo of them on our walk this morning, we went a bit early because I went to have breakfast with a friend of mine before work, and it was lovely and cool out.  It's so humid right now, I hate it, but early in the morning it's nice.  It was wonderful to have breakfast with my friend, we don't get to see each other super often and I love getting the chance to visit and catch up.  She's such a wonderful support.


4.  I like making progress!  I quilted my latest smocking quilt this weekend and got it blocked.  I squared it up a couple nights back, but it's been a bit hard to be motivated to work on it lately.  But the deadline is coming up soon and I have two pieces still to finish!


5.  I love sailing.  My captain was out of town this week, so I sailed with another friend, Kerry Dawn.  She has a whole crew of ladies called the pink ladies (there were 7!! of us last night), and one of the sailing instructors from the boat club raced with us.  It was such a fun group and so educational.  I didn't get a picture of everyone in coordinating pink shirts (her crew is the pink ladies so I fit right in), but I was on foredeck so snapped this picture of the committee boat so we'd know what the course was.

6.  On the blog this week:  If you missed it, check out the finished Missy quilt.

I hope you guys had a good week, and thanks to LeeAnna for linking us up!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Missy Quilt: Finished

Earlier in the week I shared the beginning steps in a quilted portrait of our little dog Missy.  We had to put her down earlier this year, and I made this portrait for Mike to commemorate her.

After I finished collage-ing the top, I quilted it using very basic blendy free motion quilting.  The quilt is busy enough that I knew fancy quilting wouldn't show up.  I decided to mount it on a pre-stretched canvas, so I followed a technique Susan Carlson uses in her class to make a fabric frame to wrap around the edge of the canvas.  Unfortunately, somehow I messed up the way I sewed the fabric frame to the edge of the quilt and I wound up with these strange pointy excess fabric bits on each corner (below left).  I had to fold them over and hand-stitch them down (below right), but I wish I knew what happened to cause it.  I really like this finishing method for things that are not going to quilt shows, so I'd like to get it worked out.



After finishing the canvas wrap, I mounted the whole thing floating inside the frame I made.  I'd gone back and forth about staining the frame dark, but I finally decided to leave it light to complement Missy's colors, so I just put a couple of coats of clear coat on the frame to give it a more finished feel.

Missy, c. Shannon Conley, 2018, 24" x 24"




When you look at some of the up close detail shots you can see all the tiny little pieces of fabric on there.  The nose, mouth, and paws were the most precision oriented on her.





We love you and miss you Missy!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

I Like #69

Welcome to another week of good things!

1.  It's started to get pretty hot here but thus far has still been pleasant in the mornings and evenings, so I've been enjoying our walks with the dogs.  The trees are looking great lately, I love the pink flowering ones, and there are some truly lovely tree-lined walks at work.  I love trees!  Mine are still alive and being watered regularly, so hopefully they will have healthy fruit!




2. 80s Nostalgia!  For the last many years it seems like most lawn chairs of the cheap variety have been the kind that fold up and go in a bag.  Those are great for taking on picnics and ball games etc., but I have always had a purely nostalgic soft spot for the nylon and aluminum webbed lawn chairs that prevailed when I was a kid.  I remember so many different ones, most of them with one or two straps coming loose, or getting a little creaky.  When I saw this at walmart the other day it made me strangely happy and filled with fun memories of picnics and camping and white sands as a kid.  I almost bought one, but it seemed silly since I don't actually need any lawn chairs.


3.  I love having crafty friends.  My birthday is coming up, and my good friend Kristin sent me these wonderful socks as an early birthday present.  I love the bright colors and fine knitting.  It's wonderful to have friends who appreciate hand-made stuff like I do!!  Thanks Kristin!  Hopefully I can wear them soon- right now it's a bit hot for socks of any kind....



4.  Trying new things!  One of my local crafty friends, Kathy, is a big spinner and knitter and has recently gotten into wet felting.  She's been taking some classes and convinced me to sign up for one later in the summer.  I'm excited to learn, it's something I've never done before.  Earlier this week she invited me over to do some basic felting so that I could see how it worked, and kindly shared a bunch of her wool with me.  I made three little pieces and had a blast!  I'm not sure I'll do anything with them, but it was a great chance to try out something new and start to understand the process.  We worked in her gorgeous backyard (my backyard will never look like that) and it was a lovely evening.  She has a beautiful raised gated garden in her backyard, and when walking through it I saw this lovely St. Francis statue.  It reminded me of one my Grammy used to have.






5. Blackberries!  Some of them are getting very very close to ripe.  I'm trying to check them every day, I see the robins flying around all over the place and evidently blackberries are a favorite for robins.  I've thought about netting them, but it seems like such a pain, we'll see how it goes....


I hope you have had good things in your week, and thanks to LeeAnna for linking us up!



Monday, June 4, 2018

New Quilt: Missy

Earlier this year we had to put down our tiny Shih Tzu Missy.  She was mean and obnoxious and hated me always (unless Mike was gone and then she loved me), and growled at me every night when I came to bed.  But she was cute and I loved her anyway.  She had so much personality; when she was a puppy she used to run up and grab my ponytail to play with it.  I remember she used to love to hop in the shower or into the bathtub to lick up the water after we'd showered, but she could never get back out of the bathtub, so you'd suddenly hear this catastrophic caterwauling, as though she was being mauled to death, only to rush in and discover she just wanted you to pick her up and put her out of the bathtub.  She hated being petted, but she didn't mind being held, and would snuggle up nicely next to you on the chair.  She always wanted to sleep right up next to you, usually Mike, but me if he was gone.  If you tried to roll over away from her she would snuggle right back up, until by the morning she'd pushed you all the way to the very edge of the bed.  But even though I loved her, she was really Mike's dog.  Those two had an unbelievable connection.  She was never parted from him if possible, and when he left the house she would wander all over looking at him.  Sometimes if he went to work in the garage or something she would just stand with her nose against the garage door until he came back inside.

After we put her down, I decided to make a quilted portrait of her for Mike.  I started from one of his favorite pictures, this shot of her riding on the back of his motorcycle with her little pink doggles.



I used Susan Carlson's technique, and even though I love rainbow colors, I figured that for him I would stick with realistic colors.  Here are some in progress shots as I was collage-ing her.






I wasn't going to try to do the motorcycle in the background because I really wanted the focus to be on her, but I wanted a dark background so she'd pop.  I decided on navy and started collage-ing behind her.  It really makes her stand out.


I'll share the rest of the process (quilting and finishing) on Friday, but I wanted to share another construction part here.  I decided I was going to mount her on stretcher bars/canvas, but instead of just having a gallery wrapped edge, I wanted to have her in a floating frame.  I purchased a bunch of pine trim pieces and started building, but quickly realized that cutting the corners with my old worn down plastic miter box was going to be a nightmare.  So I took the opportunity to buy a miter saw.  It was really wonderful and made nice beautiful cuts.  Unfortunately, it was pouring rain so I couldn't use it on the back porch and it wound up making a disaster in my studio.  I assembled the frame using clamps, ratchet straps, wood glue, and finishing nails.




Check back on Friday for the final reveal!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

I like #68

Another week of good things to blog about!  I hope you all had a relaxing and meaningful Memorial Day weekend.

1.  I like seeing my family!  I spent the three-day weekend down in Dallas with my sister and her family and my parents.  We had lots of fun at the water park, then the baby pool in the backyard, and then the swimming pool.  As hot and muggy as it was down there, being in the water was the best option.  I really love spending time with them.  My dad also decided to buy a reclining sofa (after much consideration), and it took a lot of wrangling to fit it into their Subaru Outback for the drive back to New Mexico.  The dogs wanted to snuggle on the couch (of course), but were really shedding and pretty stinky so I took the playing-in-the-backyard-pool opportunity to give them both baths.  It was really nice to have my sister to help me.


2.  I love hymns!  We went to my sister's Methodist church while down in Dallas and heard a really wonderful Memorial Day sermon.  We went unfortunately (for me) to the service with the praise band since it lined up with Sunday school for the kids.  The band was quite good, but I much prefer traditional choral music/hymns during church so I during some of the singing I spent time flipping through the Methodist hymnal.  Many of its hymns are the same as those in our (the Episcopal) hymnal, but many aren't.  I was excited to see this one,  it's not in our hymnal but ever since hearing a recording of it as a kid, I've loved it.  Too bad we didn't get to sing any!



3.  I love sailing!  After spending all that time painting the boat a couple weeks ago, the stars (schedules) finally aligned for us to race last night.  With only three crew we were in the non-spin division, but it was lovely anyway.  No better place to be when it's hot and humid than on the lake.



4.  I love the instagram account Weratedogs.  It's a cute dog instagram, but their captions are really adorable.  You should check it out if you're a dog lover and on instagram.  Here are my preciouses in the meantime.


Happy summer everyone!  Thanks to LeeAnna for linking us up!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Baby Quilts

Two wonderful friends from the church choir are both having babies this spring and summer, so a few months ago I set about making some baby quilts for them.  Both used HSTs, and I wound up piecing so many I had enough for three quilt tops rather than 2.  I had fun arranging the settings.  I got two of them quilted and finished and given to the new mommies (before the babies were born even!) and at some point I'll quilt up the third top and donate it to charity.







These are the three arrangements, and here are the final quilts.  







And of course the squaring up crumbles.  A never ending task.  ;)


I had a good time making these and they more than fulfilled my piecing urges for the year.  I hope they will be good play/sleep/warmth/spill wipe up surfaces for their new owners!


Thursday, May 24, 2018

I Like #67

Things to like this week!

1.  I like yarn!  I started a new crochet project with my neon yarn.  I haven't actually started it yet, but I just did my gauge swatch, so that feels like starting it.  I'm making the Hotel of Bees shawl, you can find the pattern on ravelry, and that's the pattern picture below my yarn.





2.  I like seeing other people's handmade items!  The leader of our knitting/handwork group at church made this cute crocheted ring stacker toy for a new mom in the group.  She'd told me about it but I never got to see it since I couldn't go to the baby shower, but the new mom brought it to show us last week.  Each ring is a different crocheted animal, and the center is a crocheted palm tree.  It's just about the cutest thing I've ever seen.  So fun!!!


3. The pups!!  I had the new quilt taped to the floor for basting and of course they wanted to "help".  My favorite boys.  They don't understand that I could be down on the floor and not need them directly in my face at all times.




4.  Flowers!  I love red hot pokers and they won't really grow where I live but we always had them in the front yard at the house I grew up in.  Almost 20 years ago my parents moved out of the house I grew up in, but my grandparents lived next door to that original house so I still drive past it every time I'm home to visit.  Unfortunately, the person who bought it doesn't live there and has just let the property and land rot for the last decades.  It's so sad to see, and no way to avoid it.  But the red hot pokers had started growing wild in the unkempt lawn, and a couple summers back I got so mad I went over to the old house and dug a bunch of them up out of the yard.  My dad wasn't pleased, but having already dug them up, I told my parents it would have been a waste of all my effort if they didn't plant them.  And now they're flourishing at my folks new house.  My mom sent me this picture yesterday and it makes me very happy!


5.  Finished projects!  I finally got a chance to blog about a new smocked quilt this week as part of Alida's blog hop, click over to see it and then go visit the other participants.  It was a really fun group.

I hope you're all having a good week!  Thanks to LeeAnna for keeping us motivated!