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!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New Quilt: Twining, Art with Fabric Blog Hop

Every so often Alida from Tweety Loves Quilting hosts an Art With Fabric Blog Hop in which art quilters share a piece inspired by another artist.  She kindly invited me to participate again this year.  It's always lots of fun, I encourage you to hop over to that main page for links to others posting throughout this week. 

The other bloggers sharing posts today are Terry and Bea, and I definitely encourage you to check their work out:

This years theme was "1 + 1 = 3", and my inspiring artist was Maria Oriza-Perez a contemporary abstract ceramicist from Spain.  I've loved her work for a long time and her use of space, form, shape, and pattern really inspired my jump to dimensional fabric work in general.  A lot of her work feels very mathematical, but she really uses non-traditional geometric forms to give what feels to me like a lot of motion to her work.  In addition, I'm often inspired by the empty spaces and shapes created by her sculptures.  Really really cool.  

Anyone who's been following along here knows I've been working a lot with ways to introduce three-dimensional shapes and forms into my quilts, and several of the most recent (including this one) have been inspired by the concept of tesseracts.  Mathematically, a tesseract is a 4th dimensional version of a cube, but its a concept I was introduced to in A Wrinkle in Time.  There the idea is that a tesseract is a way of bringing two far away points in space and time extremely close together, to permit connections that would not be possible traveling through space and time normally.  

Of course I only have three dimensions to work in rather than four, but I love the idea of finding different ways to make shapes by bringing together different spots on the surface of flat quilts.  I've used a variety of techniques to do this, but recently have been using smocking.  

I start by painting a large solid piece of fabric and backing, then layering and quilting.  This one started out a solid gold-bronze color, and is a color scheme definitely outside my more common pink-purple-teal color palette.  I free motion quilt, in this piece with 30 weight thread to help give some more interest to the surface, and then finish the edges with a facing made from the same painted fabric as the top.

After the quilting/piece is finished, I start sculpting using a standard smocking technique.  This involves marking a grid on the back of the piece along with lines indicating points to be hand-stitched together.  Finally, I built a frame to support the back of the piece since the newly created fabric folds and shapes kept wanting to flop all over the place!

Here's the final quilt, I named it Twining because the shapes and colors make me think of children's book illustrations of Jack and the Beanstalk.  

Twining, c. 2018, Shannon Conley, 53" x 27" x 4" Photo: Mike Cox
Twining, c. 2018, Shannon Conley, detail Photo: Mike Cox

Twining, c. 2018, Shannon Conley, detail Photo: Mike Cox

I hope you enjoyed seeing my piece, and please visit the other blog hop participants!  I hope you'll come back here again, and if you're interested in more dimensional work, you can check out some of my other recent pieces.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

I Like #66

Well, sometime I promise I'll get back to posting more crafty content.  I just need to take some more pictures!

For now, here are some things I'm liking this week.

1. Starting a new project!  This will turn into my third smocking quilt, and I enjoyed painting the fabric for it this weekend.  I think the fabric was pale coral to start with.  These pieces are all very abstract, but this one is mean to put you in mind of a field of spring wildflowers, like indian paintbrush which started blooming here a couple of weeks back.

2.  I like getting on the lake!  We didn't actually get to sail any, but last weekend my friend Eric and I pulled his boat out of the water and then power washed, sanded, and painted the bottom in preparation for the summer sailing season.  It was way too windy to sail, but at least we got the boat mostly ready.  It was really gratifying to watch a winter's worth of lake algae go into the wind.  Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures except this one of a warning label from the Rear Commodore saying we need new dock lines since I left my phone on the the boat before we hoisted it out of the water.  It was a nice day to be outside anyway!

3. I love seeing my pieces out in the world.  Out of the blue last week I recieved an e-mail from the Dean of the Sacramento Episcopal Cathedral.  They bought one of my liturgical pieces last year out of a show, and he was writing to say that they used it as an altar frontal during lent, and how much they enjoyed it.  It's this quilt depicting the Confession of Sin, so it was really fitting for Lent.  So wonderful to know that it's living someplace where it fits so well.

4. I love my toads!  I usually have lots of them through the summer, and the first one showed up last week.  Big and fat, and bug-filled!  Hooray!

Thanks to LeeAnna for keeping us linked up.  I hope you guys have a great week.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

I Like #65

Another week of good things to talk about! 

1.  I think (please please please) the tick fiasco is wrapping up.  Bentley went to the vet and is fine, I got them both on new good medicine, and I haven't seen any ticks in a few days.  I'm still vacuuming the furniture and spending more time than usual in my non-upholstered wooden rocking chair, but I think things are improving.  For your enjoyment-  some happy sun-spot dog pics.  They're so sweet.

2. I love all the things that are blooming right now!  My petunias have come back from all the freezes, and my blackberries are blooming too!  In addition, my Christmas cactus is super-confused and has bloomed like crazy! 

3.  My dahlias have sprouted!  At least a couple of them.  At least I'm pretending they're sprouting dahlias (rather than just another weed).  I think the little bright green shoots in the middle are the dahlias.  Keep your fingers crossed that they keep growing.

4. I finished another quilt!  I'll share more of it in a couple weeks, but here's another updated sneak peek.

5.  I like Roger Whittaker!  LeeAnna shared a link to Leaving on a Jet Plane, and though of course that's classic John Denver, I grew up listening to the Roger Whittaker version.  He has such a wonderful voice and we listened to so many of his albums growing up.  As with most things, there's a bunch of his music on YouTube if you haven't heard it before.

6.  I like jigsaw puzzles!  I had such fun doing them as a kid and teenager, but hadn't done one in a while.  Recently I realized I have a niced sized dining table and I'm the only one who eats at it so there's plenty of room to have one out and going.  I just worked this Star Wars puzzle I'd had for a while, and I have a big Disney one to work on next.  Just a few minutes while I'm drinking my coffee in the morning, or in the evening when I'm too tired to sew anymore.

I hope everyone has a good week!  Thanks to LeeAnna for linking us up!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

I Like 64#

Welcome to another week of I likes!  We've well and truly entered storm season here, and last night were the first tornadoes of the year.  They were mostly small and we were fine, but you know Spring has sprung when the storms crop up.  It does mean that for most of the week we've finally had really nice weather, so hooray!

1.  I love hiking!  I found some new trails in Lake Thunderbird State Park while looking for places to hike so last Saturday I took Bentley with me and we had a lovely hike.  The wildflowers are just starting to come out and it was really pretty.  The most exciting thing is that while sitting along the lake's edge eating lunch, a beaver swam by!  I've never ever seen a beaver before and he was so close to the shore!  You could see his giant tail and everything.  At first he looked like a very large otter, but as soon as I saw the tail I knew it was a beaver.  So cool!  Unfortunately, by the time I pulled my phone out of my backpack, he'd passed me, so all you get is this tiny lump of his back. 

The Beaver!

Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse after that, poor Bentley barely made it back, I overestimated his stamina, and then I realized he was completely covered in ticks.  I pulled off about thirty, and thought I'd gotten them all, but then have found more each day since we got home.  Last night I pulled off another fifteen,  this time from between his toes and under his armpits.  I feel like such a terrible dog mom, I didn't realize that his monthly medicine is only fleas and heartworm, not ticks.  I'm still not convinced I got them all.  Poor Bentley!  Now I'm worried I'll have an infestation in my house and yard.

2.  I love flowers!  I don't love gardening, but I do love flowers.  I decided to try to grow dahlias this summer and I finally planted my bulbs this weekend.  They've been sitting around for a month in my house, one even started sprouting, but we've had such weird late freezes I didn't want to put them out.  I have no idea whether they'll grow or not, but here's hoping.  I did see lots of wonderful grubs and earthworms while digging holes for the dahlias, so that's fun.


3. I like making progress!  I made a lot of progress this week on a new 3D quilt.  I'll be posting on it in a couple of weeks as part of Alida's blog hop, about which more later.  It's kind of a different mood colorwise from most of my other pieces.  Lots of brown and gold and bronzey green colors with just a dash of orange and red.  I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. 

Thanks to Lee Anna for keeping us positive!