Thursday, June 28, 2018

I Like #72

Another week of things to like!  The blackberries are still going strong, and I've been snagging 3-4 each day to eat at the end my morning dog walk.  A couple of the dahlias are doing well too- I keep thinking they'll start blooming soon, so keep your fingers crossed.

I've been making progress on my Hotel of Bees shawl.  Since it starts from the wide end and gets progressively narrower, it gets faster as I go.  I feel like it's probably going to be a bit small, but I may be underestimating.    I'm loving the color scheme.  Most so far has been pink, but more of the white speckle and yellow are coming up soon.

I went to my first sci-fi/fantasy con (SoonerCon) over the weekend.  Some friends of mine invited me and I had a great time.  I attended lots of fun Science Fiction panels, as well as several talks by NASA astronaut Dr. Stan Love.  I love hearing about space and living in/visiting space, and the practical concerns about traveling in space.  I dressed up one day in the fun Star Trek costume I made a few years ago and it was a blast.  I remembered only the night before that I no longer had the communicator badge from when I first made the costume, so I whipped up a new one out of polymer clay and painted it with my grandpa's old hobby paints the next morning (ignore the stain on the top of the washer).  It always makes me happy to get to use those.  I also won a cocktail napkin from Gene Roddenberry's (the creator of Star Trek) Hollywood Walk of Fame after party as a door prize.  It was so fun and random.  I also thought the signs around the Sarlacc pit were fairly amusing.  On the other side was a big multi-part sign like you'd find on a zoo with all the natural history information about the Sarlacc.
In case you can't read it:  DO NOT CLIMB INTO OR FEED THE SARLACC PIT. Then in smaller letters underneath: THAT WOULD BE DUMB AND YOU WOULD PROBABLY DIE FOR REAL.  

I enjoy the slight cognitive dissonance of this photo.

One more thing to like: tasty cheesy potato-ham-tomato casserole.  Yum!

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

Thursday, June 21, 2018

I Like #71

Things to like this week!

1.  I like my blackberries!  I'm checking them morning and night and eating them as soon as they're ripe, one or two at a time, because otherwise the birds snag them all.

2.  I like openings!  We had two great fiber shows opening this week, the first was OKC Modern Quilt Guilds summer gallery show. My friend Trish had a big quilt in the show, this really pretty pixelated gardenia.  It's huge, like maybe 100 inches on a side?

Trish Maxwell

There were lots of other great quilts, but one of the ones that stood out to me the most was this one, by Debbie Wanzer

Debbie Wanzer
The other cool thing was this awesome spring loaded rack.  They were using it to display small quilts, but maybe it is a print drying rack?  Anyway,  each layer is spring loaded so it stays up when you lift it.

The second show was Fiberworks 2018.  This is our annual all-fiber show, so there's lots of weaving, art quilts, felting, basketry and tons of other fiber and fiber-adjacent art.  It's one of my favorite shows to go see, if only because of the great variety every year.  

This was one of my favorite weavings, I love the patterns and bright colors.  It's by Mary Frances Pedro.

Mary Frances Pedro

Mary Frances Pedro
 Here I am with one of my quilts in the show.

This is my friend Charlotte with her gorgeous flower quilt,  it's a confetti background and beautiful thread painting in the foreground.  There were lots of other great pieces, but I didn't get too many good pictures.

Charlotte Hickman

Charlotte Hickman.

Fiberworks 2018 is at the IAO Gallery in and the OKC Modern Quilt Guild show is at ArtSpace Untitled, both in central OK.  Check them out this summer if you're in this part of the country.

3. I love my pups.  Obviously.  This week I accidentally mowed over Bullett's collar (which slips off his head because he has cone head).  It was shredded, so I made him a new one.  I had fun, but he was singularly uninterested in the proceeding.

Thanks to LeeAnna for linking us up!  Have a good week!

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!