Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peek at how I'm using those grays that I dyed. I put the penny in so that you could see how tiny these pieces are. That's why it's taking me so long even though it's a small, 18 x 24, quilt. This is just one unit out of ten that make up the quilt. You'll see the whole thing when I'm done. I could finish it this weekend, but I am leaving tomorrow morning for a road trip with three friends to see Quilt National in Ohio. This will be our 4th time seeing it and I love every minute of it. We usually fly, but it 's takes a whole day to get there and a whole day to get back, so we decided to drive this year, about a 12 hour trek. We are stopping in PA to see Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Waters house and that will break up the trip.

So no posting until I return next week, since I don't have a laptop.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009


If you read about the deer decimating my sunflowers last week, you'll know why these are being planted so late in the summer. I planted them last Sunday and they peeped their little heads out yesterday. I sprinkled the soil with Milorganite (a fertilizer that is also a deer deterrent because of its nasty odor). This is a very big pot and when they get a little bigger I will thin them out to 5 or 6 plants. As they get taller I will spray the plants with Deer Proof, which does seem to work. Below are some plants that survived their foraging.

Purple coneflowers

Stargazer lilies in bud. They are over my head and I'm 5 feet 8 inches. They will be glorious when they bloom. So far the deer have only eaten them one year when I forgot to spray. I sprayed today!

You can't tell from the picture but these hydrangeas are huge.

Good old reliable Impatiens. The deer love these, too, especially when they get nice and tall and lush.

My first year for Pink Scaevola. I didn't know it came in pink. I am quite pleased with it here in a pot on my deck.

Blue Scaevola (the usual color) with yellow Margarite Daisies. I love this color combination. I've tried many different things here, but I think I'll do this again next year.

Front door decoration. If you read my blog about my bird's nest in the Forsythia wreath that was on the door, this is what I was anxious to put up.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dyeing Again

For the past several years my small quilt group, The Scrapbag Quilt Artists, that meets Fridays at members homes, has a challenge that is exhibited at local libraries. Last year our challenge , Seeing Red, was a great success and well received by our audiences. This year we are again doing a color challenge, only our second. The title is Gray Plus One. We must use only grays (no black or white) and one color. I know what I'm going to do and I'll share it when it's done, but for now I am dyeing my grays. The first two came out very blotchy. Although I like a textured look, some of this was too much. I'm not sure how much of those I will use in the quilt. Notice the subtle differences in the different grays.

All of these were done with Procion MX Reactive Dyes. This is Deep Black #609, light to dark gradation. I think this is a very neutral gray, but when rinsing it out the rinse water looked aubergine.

This is Nickel #6003. This has a slight green tinge to it, not showing in this photo, yet the powder looked quite reddish.

This is Deep Black again, but using half strength and massaging the fabric more to get a less blotchy look. It still has nice texture.

This is Pewter #6228. I've had this dye for a few years, so I used a little more than I normally would.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Oh, dear! It's the deer.

Last year my friend, Carolyn, who is a terrific gardener, planted sunflowers seeds in a big container on her patio and they grew so tall that she could see them on her second floor deck. What a good idea, I thought. I'll do the same by putting the pot on the grass outside my deck, which is only three steps up from ground level. When they were mature they would be showing their glorious heads up above the deck railing. I planted the seeds, watered faithfully, thinned them out and they were about a foot from the deck railing yesterday, strong and sturdy with big healthy leaves.

When I went to water them this morning, this is what I found. Could you hear me screaming from where you are? Here in the North East, we gardeners are in constant battle with the deer. I have to spray anything that they like (and they like almost everything) or they will munch away. And this is suburbia, not the country. They will walk right down the street at night and eat everyone's mailbox plantings. They will come right up to your front door and eat the flowers at your doorstep. I guess that I neglected to spray the sunflowers or least not often enough.

Day lilies are a real favorite. See all the nipped of flowers. There are still buds so I will get more flowers.

These were Rudbeckia (black eyed Susans). I have tons of these so I don't feel too bad, but the sunflowers..........I'm mad! I think I'm going to plant more seeds. It's still early in the summer and they just may grow tall enough.  I will be more diligent , but that's no guarantee.

Now to go spray my Stargazer Lilies, that they really love.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Finally Something New

I just finished quilting this fun piece for my new bathroom, that was recently renovated. It is mostly white tiles, with a double row of light blue/aqua glass tiles in the shower, pale aqua walls, dark cherry (dark brown) vanity with a marble top that is beige with cream and light gray/blue veining. I'm using dark brown towels with aqua satin stitched trim. I needed something for the long wall across from the vanity and this ties all the colors together and is reflected in the mirror over the vanity.
Some of you may recognize this as a Karen Eckmeier design from her Accidental Landscape series. They are so much fun and so easy to do; it's pretty foolproof. I hand painted the fabric for the sky and the water. I covered up most of the water fabric with the sand strips, but I was able to cut it away from the back and I'll have it for another quilt. The sand fabrics are all commercial prints. It will measure 42 x 19 after I face it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Good News

You've seen this quilt before, but I just found out that it was juried into "Quilts: A World of Beauty" at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX. This quilt, made entirely out of my hand-dyed fabrics, was finished last year with the competition in mind and I was so annoyed with myself for missing the deadline. You can be sure that I entered early this year. Right now it is hanging over the couch in my family room where it looks very good and I will miss it when it's gone. Be sure to click on each picture to get a bigger view.

Detail of the quilting. I tried to do something different in each block, but I did have to repeat since I ran out of ideas for patterns.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Barcelona And Gaudi

One of the reasons I wanted to go to Barcelona was to see the Gaudi architecture that I had heard so much about. I didn't take too many pictures because I bought a beautiful book full of pictures, but that doesn't help me with this blog. But here are a few and the last of my trip pictures. Hopefully I'll have some quilts to show you soon.

The famous Sagrada Familia, the cathedral Gaudi started working on in 1884 and was still working on when he died in 1026. Work is still ongoing and will be for many, many years.

Looking up at the balconies at Casa Mila, the last house Gaudi built before dedicating all his time to the cathedral.

The sidewalk in front of the apartment building. So many of his designs were based on nature and this, of course, is the honey comb.

Count Guell,one of Gaudi's patrons , had the vision of a large garden-city where houses and nature blended together and where a large part of the area would be gardens, trees and places for people to stroll and children to play. Unfortunately it was never finished, due to war and the death of the Count. What remains is the beautiful Park Guell and just three houses instead of the sixty that were planned. Those square yellow buildings in the background are not part of the park, but the tall blue and white tower is.
Looking up at the plaza and the mosaic wall.

The sepentine mosaic wall that stretches all around the main square It's made up of thousands of pieces of broken crockery, glass wear and ceramic tile.

This picture is out of order and is not in the park, but rather the roof top of Casa Mila with its incredible army of chimneys and air shafts.

Back to the Park where this fabulous lizard guards the entrance. More of his beautiful mosaic work.

Friday, July 3, 2009


Kate Themel, the SAQA rep for CT has started a blog as a way for the CT members to stay connected and share news. I didn't know until she told me that this quilt, Configurations IV, is featured on the SAQA website as part of an online show of abstract quilts. You can see it here.