Thursday, November 29, 2018

I Like #93

Lots of things to like since I missed posting last week.  I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.

1.  I was so grateful to get to be with my family; my parents and I and my sister's family took a road trip to Florida to introduce the kids to Disney World, and I think we all had a blast, though my dad doesn't care for the chaos of Disney.

It was the first trip for my niece and nephew and they got a chance to meet lots of characters and go on all the fun rides.  It's so much fun to hear them giggling and laughing.  They even had turkey hats to wear :)

It was fun for the adults too- a lot had changed since I'd been there before and there were several new attractions at the Magic Kingdom in addition to old favorites.  There was also a whole new Avatar land at Animal Kingdom which was just amazing.  I didn't even particularly love the Avatar movie, but the Avatar world at the park was just everything that was wonderful and creative.  The whole landscape is filled with miraculous fantasy plants seamlessly blended with the real lush landscaping, and both Avatar rides were really really cool.

I loved these mosaics, the top one is from EPCOT and the bottom two are inside Cinderella's castle.

My mom and dad got matching hoodies for me, my sister, and my mom.  We did lots of scurrying around to find one we liked in the right sizes.  Of course by the time we thought to take a picture it was late the night before we were leaving and everyone was scurrying around trying to pack and clean up!

2. We also got to visit Homosassa Springs State Park which is a wildlife refuge for Florida animals and Lu the 59 year old hippo.  I'd remembered him from our previous visit 15 years ago- and he's super cool.  He was made an honorary Florida citizen so he'd be allowed to stay.  The park is also a haven for manatees, which are just awesome.

3.  I was also excited to have two days in the car on the way out there (I flew home separately), so my mom and I could start our new complicated knitting project.  It took a lot of ripping and confusion, but now we're both finally making progress on this shawl.  It's lots of short rows which I'd never done before, but I've got the hang of them now (knock on wood).

4. I got to visit my nephew's Montessori school!  My sister has asked me to make a banner for the kids to carry into Chapel; her son is graduating from the Montessori school this year and it's the school's 50th anniversary, so she thought it would be a great piece of art to donate to the school.  On the way back from the trip I met with the school director to look at the school and associated parish and it brought back tons of fabulous Montessori memories from when I was a little kid.

5.  And of course the monsters :).  I was super happy to get back to them, dog snuggles are always good.  In the process of arguing over the armchair in the studio the other day (and in spite of the presence of the pouf), Blue pushed the seat cushion off and Bentley promptly claimed it.

Wishing everyone a good week!  I love advent-  it really is a wonderful time of the year, and I've been enjoying getting out my Christmas decorations!  Linking up with LeeAnna who keeps us positive!

Monday, November 19, 2018

New Quilt: 33°20'N, 105°33'W

Late this summer, after I was done making all the pieces for the Capitol show, I decided to squeeze in one more large piece to enter into Quilt National '19.  Unfortunately, it didn't get in, but that's ok- I'll enter it into something else, and for now it gets to hang in my house.

I started with pale purple shiny polyester fabric and painted it to look like this big abstract bouquet.  I really wanted to bring in some orange and red amid my favorite teal/pink/purple combo.  Like the last couple of times, I put the piece of backing fabric on the table underneath the front fabric so that when I painted it, the paint seeped through to the back.  I like doing it this way; the back mostly matches the front (though a little fainter) and I don't waste so much paint.

Of course Blue had to help me baste it for quilting,  I think I shared this pic before.  Luckily this was before the massive rain mud season, so his contribution wasn't terrible.

This is what it looked like after quilting.  he front is on the left, the back is on the right.  You can tell that the colors are more intense on the front, but generally pretty similar to the back.

After quilting I started cutting out holes and melting the edges.  I was looking forward to doing another openwork piece, and I like the way the cutouts came out on this one.  

After cutting the holes, I cut an irregular edge around the whole thing and then zig-zagged on my roving-wrapped wire for the edge.  I like this way of doing edging.  IT makes the edges feel finished, they're a little sculptable, and the irregularities in the roving contribute to the organic feel of the piece.

To sculpt the whole thing I covered it with fabric stiffener and then draped it over crumpled paper forms.  The stiffener works pretty well, but not quite enough to fully support a piece this big.  

33°20'N, 105°33'W,  c. Shannon Conley, 2018, 64" x 34" x 6"

Its name is the coordinates of the place near my parents' house where we go hiking, but I can never remember the actual title, so in my brain its just called Bouquet.  The hanging slat sits about halfway down because otherwise you can see it through the holes, but of course even with stiffener, the top flopped forward.  I designed this infrastructure for it,  each of the three wooden pieces (which are now painted white and bolted to the slat, not just held with binder clips) velcro to the quilt holding up the weight.

This was a fun project and I love walking in to my bedroom and seeing it on the wall!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

I Like #92

New things to like for this week:

1.  Most importantly,  an amazing shout out to our veterans in thanks for their amazing service to our country.  This year was especially poignant with the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, and I found myself thinking more than usual about the horrors of the first World War.  I found this picture of my sister and me from Christmas 1982 with my father, a Vietnam veteran, my grandfather, a World War II veteran, and my great-grandfather, a World War I veteran.  I'm lucky that my father and grandfather are still with us (the latter was quite helpful regarding my fence situation when I called him Sunday), and my great Grandpa Cliff lived until I was 16 so I got to know him as well.  Thank you to all who serve!!!

2. Fall and early winter are here in earnest,  we got our first snow on Monday (which I didn't get any pictures of), but I did snap a picture late last week of the pretty trees at work.

3.  Blue had been breaking out of my fence constantly, so I had to get a new fence.  Unfortunately, they were scheduled to start it the same day as the first snow, but they guys came anyway, and got it in in two days.  The new fence is wonderful, and I appreciate their hard work.  It's really much nicer than my old fence, but Blue has already started chewing on it, so I'm going to have to put up the zap wire when I get back after Thanksgiving.  Mike is staying with them at the house next week, so hopefully he can keep an eye on the fence.

4.  I love the pups, even though-ahem-BLUE I wish they'd quit with the fence.....  Here's a dog selfie with Bentley.  He decided that even if I was in the chair rather than on the sofa there was still room for him.  Blue is blending in.  Of course he had to pull off the sheet I put on the couch to keep some of the mud off.

5.  I love my euphorbia!!  It's one of my favorite plants, and I thought I'd killed it earlier in the year.  It was a whole giant multi-month saga, but I think now that both the original broken one may be saved (there are some new leaves yay!!!), and the tiny ones I tried to propagate to salvage something might be saved!

6.  Finally I'll leave you with this picture of my neighbor who has decided that fall decorations and Christmas decorations can co-exist.  I have to confess the idea of the scarecrow visiting the baby Jesus makes me smile.

Hope you all have a good week and a good celebration next week for those who are observing Thanksgiving.  It seems suitable to me that our Likes fall on Thursday- for me at least, a weekly opportunity to find things to be grateful for.  Thanks to LeeAnna for keeping us going!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Second Felt Hat

A while back I wrote about the first hat I made in the Dawn Edwards felted hat class, my rainbow tree fungus hat.  

During that class I also had time to felt another hat, but not to shape it.  Finally a couple weeks ago, I shaped it and finished it.  I was mostly tired of it being almost finished and unwearable!  I got as far as this during the class.  I felted it just like the other one I made, but it gave me a chance to learn to make cords and seed pods, additional techniques.  

After sitting around like that for months, I finally shaped it, with water and steam and pins.  It's meant to have some sore of folds in it, and I just wet it down and pinned it in place on my hat block.  I steamed it some, but my hat block is an inexpensive synthetic one so I couldn't steam too much.  But it worked and held it's shape so that was good!

The last step was to stitch peas into the seed pod.  I was supposed to have little felted balls to stitch in the two seed pods but I forgot to make any, so I used these two wooden beads instead.  The seed pod was fun to make, with lots of different colors of wool inside it.

And here I am wearing it!  You can't see the danglys very well in this selfie,  they're sort of wrapped around my neck.  It fits very well and is quite comfortable.  I think it's more wearable than the rainbow tree fungus hat, and I love the seed pods.

All in all my first forays into felting were successful and I learned a lot.  Enough that I think I can incorporate a bit of wet felting in my work if it seems necessary, but it's certainly not going to be my primary focus.  Unfortunately, between these two felt hats and the wonderful knit hats given to me by friends, I have more winter hats than winter to wear them in.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

I Like #91

Well I know this is a things to like post, but it's been a bit of a stressful week.  Blue broke out two more times and now the dogs have to stay inside the house until I can get a new fence.  That means lots of people out for bids, lots of new expense, lots of stress for the dogs etc.  Alas. 

Anyway,  some good things too this week:

1.  I made another tree for my quilt, this one an apple tree in early fall.  It was fun!  I also knitted some more, but the socks are just getting slightly longer so they don't look any different.

2.  I don't care for the time change since it means it's dark before I leave work which makes my brain think it's bed time.  However one of the few benefits is that for a little while at least, it's light during our morning walks.  There was a beautiful sunrise earlier this week and I managed to get a quick picture before Blue dragged me off to pee on something.

3. I haven't had any birds this year, and before winter I need to clean out the bird feeder again, just in case they decide to come back, but I was outside the other day and noticed that the remnant birdseed had sprouted, making it look like a sad little impromptu terrarium.  It made me laugh!

 4.  My beautiful Sam bush has dropped all its red leaves and now has the really pretty red berries (presumably poisonous).  They feel very festive to me!

5. Nothing in our work jungle is blooming, but it makes me smile every time I walk out to get on the elevator.  This is just a small section of it....

I hope you guys are having a good week.  Link up with LeeAnna!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

I Like #90

Welcome to another week of I Likes!

This week I was privileged to get to spend quite a bit of time working on my sewing and crafting projects, so yay!!

1.  I made some progress on some of the details for my illuminated quilt, here are a couple sets of trees I've been working on.  A pinon tree and some aspens!

 2. I made some more progress on my socks!  I have about two inches of cuff now!  I'm loving the yellow with the speckle, and I'm really getting more of the hang of purling.  I'm glad I picked a pattern that required purling since I know I'll need it on my next project.

3. My dorky snuggle-muffin didn't break anything this week (win!!)

4.  I watched the whole extended edition Lord of the Rings Trilogy, which is about 12 hours long.  I had it on while sewing and knitting and quilting this weekend.  I loved the books as a kid and really enjoy the movies.  I hadn't watched them in a long time.  Aragorn makes me swoon.  The quintessential fantasy hero.

I hope everyone has a good week and thanks to LeeAnna for keeping us going!