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Posts tagged ‘fabric’

Back in Business

It’s been a very long month and there has been so much going on that there has been little time to share any of it.

My sister brought the plants for me to grow. These are delicious.

Tech support  (my son) put in a new hard drive and I got my files downloaded from Crash Plan. It took  a week  of leaving the laptop on while it did the work. Now I must do the filing and cleanup to get everything back where it belongs. The most important part has been my photos. There will be a lot of housekeeping going on to get them backed up to several places. I had to reinstall programs that I used every day as well.

Bet you thought I was sitting on my hands here just enjoying my down time. Ha! I wish that could happen one day. Only one yard of rock in my sister’s truck. She drove, I did the shoveling.  She’s not allowed.

We had a short spell of decent temperatures that were combined with so much smoke in the air from forest fires. First the smoke came down from Canada and Washington then the wind shifted and we got smoke from southern Oregon. In the interim, I managed to get a little outside work done as well as some inside projects.

mulch 2 yards

2 yards of mulch took awhile to move so the car could go in and out

This will be a bridging post for the next thing that’s been going on around here. Never a dull moment in Sleepy Hollow.

This fabric was a gift from my son when he went to Hawaii. Was it a whole year ago?

I’ve been making sets of placemats to sell and give as gifts.

 

With all the work I’ve done, there has been a lot I haven’t been able to get around to doing. My sewing room has been collecting dust for the last few weeks since before my company came and left. I have been looking at what is going to take priority in my life in the coming year. I love to make things for friends and family and will probably continue to do that on occasion but circumstances are changing and there is some writing that needs to be done sooner than later. Stories that need to be written for posterity while this old mind can still recall them.

So, quilting is taking a back seat for the interim. It’s been a hard decision to make as I love all the members of my group. I think they understand. As soon as it cools down just a bit; we are expecting 99 degrees this week and close to that most other days for the next 15; I will finish up preparing the outside for winter and settle into my writing almost exclusively. Losing my laptop for even a short period of time pointed out how much I enjoy the process of writing. It feels good to be back in the business of telling stories.

African Violet loves the kitchen sink area

Do you suffer any angst from losing something you work with daily? How about setting priorities and focus?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Calling of a Fiber Artist

My trip to Phoenix brought many wonderful experiences wrapped up in 5 days. I had mentioned we visited 3 different quilt shops during the week and they were not created equally.

The very last shop was visited on my last day. My friend couldn’t understand why they would put this quilt shop in such a hard to find place, an isolated shop in the back of a mega business park. As we walked in, I saw there was very little fabric in the store. It was small by most standards with a few beautiful things on display at the doorway. That’s as far as I got. For 10 minutes or more I circled the large baker’s rack that held the most beautiful quilt I’ve ever seen. That’s saying a lot.

CC Best Quilt EVER

CC Best Quilt EVER

First view coming inside the door

First view coming inside the door

I wanted it! I knew if it were for sale it would cost thousands of dollars. I tried to photograph it but my phone could only capture so much. My friend saw another acquaintance and they began a conversation about this work of art. My body then began to follow my eyes. There was one item after another that just left my mouth hanging open. Enough time and many questions later reveled the quilt was there for a class. There would be a class! And I couldn’t attend. The class would be held after I left, last several hours then a few months later another class for several more hours. Insert sad face here.

We gawked and chatted a bit more and another familiar figure popped out for my friend. It was her instructor of the pattern paper bird class. And the quilt, jackets and several other things were hers!!!

CC Original. My friend made one at this class

CC Original. My friend made one at this class

She would be teaching the classes on the quilts and my friend knew her. When she saw my lust for her works of art she showed me more. It just kept coming out of boxes and bags. Not all were my taste but all were unique and stunning in their own way. I thought my phone camera would overheat from use. Carol was delighted that I liked her work. I asked if she had it on Etsy or anywhere. No, but it might be necessary because there was so much of it and no more room at home. Hmmm.

Carol Collette published in Quilt magazine.

Carol Collette published in Quilt magazine.

Would we call this woman a hoarder? Not me. I’d call her a very talented fiber artist. And she was willing to share her skill with anyone that wanted to learn. Unfortunately, there are some things you can’t teach.

A website needs to be set up for her so she can showcase her Art and sell it directly from there. She had thought about a website but didn’t know how to go about it or if she could afford it. You shouldn’t hid this kind of talent. So I’m showing off for her and seeing what can be done to get her up and running.

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My friend had signed up for the class on the quilt and is hoping to have her knee healed enough from her fall to participate but they will not let her drive for 3 months after the seizure so it’s unlikely. Maybe the next time it’s offered. I would like to see classes like this offered here and she will travel if we can get a group and a sponsor. See me smiling?

Where do you find new and unique modes of Art? Have you seen any lately?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

Who’s sleeping with who?

Patti shot through the door of the sewing room and that was her first question for our group that had arrived two days prior. She was only staying for the day but we were happy to have our resident pot stirrer in our midst.

Patti's pumpkins have binding now.

Patti’s pumpkins have binding now.

There were only six of us at this retreat for the week. Another that had planned to come had been overcome by food poisoning at a church function and was in need of Urgent Care We kept hoping for a quick recovery but it just didn’t happen.

I fell in love with the framed crochet

I fell in love with the framed crochet

There were two new women brought to the retreat by another member of our group. The three of them shared a room. I shared a room with the other two members of our quilt group. With five beds to a room and more than four bedrooms, we had a whole room to spare and then some. There were even beds in the sewing room office if we were in need of a nap. We ended up sleeping three to a room.

If you need a nap between sewing projects, extra beds in the office

If you need a nap between sewing projects, extra beds in the office

It turned out to be a very amicable mix of women. You never know how a group is going to blend. This group worked well together like old friends. Each willing to teach and to learn from one another. We were all there primarily for rest (not so much) and relaxation. Wine helped that a lot. We each brought some to share but somehow, it was still done in moderation. After all, we still had sewing to do and some nights it was well past eleven when we gave up and headed back to the house.

Binding and banter into the wee hours of the night

Binding and banter into the wee hours of the night

Working in our jammies in the early morning until breakfast was ready

Working in our jammies in the early morning until breakfast was ready

 

jelly roll Christmas quilt done in record time.

jelly roll Christmas quilt done in record time.

 

Sunrise out the sewing room window.

Sunrise out the sewing room window.

Once again, Nancy’s Sew N Go delivered well beyond
expectations. If she ever decides to give up the quilting gig, she can cook anywhere and I know we will follow. There was coffee ready first thing in the morning for those of us that rise early and a separate brewing station in the sewing room with anything you wanted including an electric tea kettle. Of course there were snacks, fabric if we needed something and every quilting tool necessary should we fail to remember something.

Once again I wondered if I would ever try a different retreat. Those more experienced at this sort of thing swear this one exceeds every one they have ever been to and who am I to argue with experience? Most of the ladies were cranking out quilts faster than I could count. It took me all three days to get one top put mostly together. I came home quite relaxed and ready to sleep. My top is complete now and pinned for quilting. I’ll show it completed next time. Every quilt they made inspired me even more.

Sam's quilt with a good start on it.

Sam’s quilt with a good start on it.

 

Can you believe this is a donation quilt for a fund-raiser?

Can you believe this is a donation quilt for a fund-raiser?

 

I love the free-form Art quilt

I love the free form Art quilt

Connie had to copy but there are hidden bunnies in hers

Connie had to copy but there are hidden bunnies in hers

No one complained or heard my C-pap machine. I wasn’t bothered by any snoring and we all had the best time ever. One of our new friends wanted to stay longer so she locked her keys in the car. I wasn’t driving so I had to go home with my driver but left with leftovers to feed Tech Support. He’s offered to help edit color on Sew N Go’s new calendar when Nancy has all her photos ready. He’s been officially bribed and ready to work.

Baked taquitos were scrumptious and healthy. I brought some home for TS and his sister to try. Yummm!

Baked taquitos were scrumptious and healthy. I brought some home for TS and his sister to try. Yummm!

I’m not sure when I’ll do this again but would love to take a few classes that Nancy offers and she even does craft classes. Tech Support offered to drive me the 45 mile distance.

We are very serious about our meals.

We are very serious about our meals.

There was a time I could do that myself. It ended six years ago today when Bells palsy stopped me in my tracks for many of those early years.  Don’t wait for the right time to do things. Do them now. Who knew that at 61 my driving and sewing days would be pretty much over? I can at least once again get to the grocery and do a little sewing and quilting so I’m counting my blessings and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.

The next generation of quilters coming up after dinner of course.

The next generation of quilters coming up after dinner of course.

Have you been sleeping with someone new? Maybe pushed your boundaries and had some extra fun?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of the Texture

When you were growing up did your parents ever tell you as you walked through a store or someones home to keep your hands to yourself and don’t touch?

Mine were very strict about that and we never challenged them. I was somewhat like that with my children. It was the phrase, “it’s not yours, don’t touch it.” I was a bit more flexible than my parents and my daughter challenged me more.
Children learn from touching. I am still a very tactile person. Oddly, if I wander through a book or fabric store, I touch each piece I’m interested in to get the “feel” of it. I do it carefully and with clean hands but I love (almost need) to touch EVERYTHING!

Puyallup WA quilt show. How can you resist touching.

Puyallup WA quilt show. How can you resist touching.

We touch pictures, frames, trees and flowers. Everything in life has texture. Life itself has texture. I think the more texture it has, the more interesting it is. I wrote a comment on a blog one day not too long ago that I start and end my day with gratitude. The rest in the middle is texture.

another job finished. 2 green squares to add  to more for charity quilt. Pattern in fabric adds texture

another job finished. 2 green squares to add to more for charity quilt. Pattern in fabric adds texture

I think that’s why I like to work with my hands. Embroidery, by machine or by hand, quilting, sewing, crafting, especially nature crafts, even gardening are all tactile and full of texture. I can sometimes be heard moaning over a quilt square where the points don’t meet exactly and ask why can’t things just go smoothly? I learn more from the lack of smooth.

Reaching for more books

Reaching for more books

My son put up the last 2 shelves that had taken up residence on my living room floor. (I painted them there so they could dry quicker.) Things didn’t go as smoothly with that either so there are a couple extra holes in my wall. A little putty and paint will fix that but I would rather have the holes than the shelves still on the floor. It’s a quick easy fix. Each day we get a little further along on our respective projects. Each project adds a little texture. Sometimes even to our vocabulary.

Tech Support. It's a tough job but someone has to do it.

Tech Support. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

Last weekend we made a trip to Portland’s Rose Test Garden to meet with my last husband’s granddaughter and her 2 and 5 year old sons. She only brought the 2 year old this time. I brought books. I always bring books. These books had texture and I’m so glad I picked them. This little guy took after mom’s side of the family. His glasses had been chewed by the dog and he was without them. There were no roses yet in bloom but the Camellia’s were. After he was finished touching the books and hearing some of the stories, I pulled a Camellia bloom off the bush and put it on his tray. Mom was a bit stunned but I wanted him to enjoy the bloom too. He enjoyed the texture of the flower until we left. When you don’t see well, touch is even more important.

He can't see the books well but he loves them. Great grandson

He can’t see the books well but he loves them. Great grandson

Time has flown by again this month. That’s what happens when the days are full. My son has been photographing the beauty of our neighborhood and I have been busy finishing projects. My two squares are done a month early, the charity quilt top I was given to sandwich, quilt and bind is finally done and the binding is almost complete on my teacup quilt.

I didn't piece the top, just but the layers together and quilted.

I didn’t piece the top, just but the layers together and quilted.


Back of quilt pieced from scraps.

Back of quilt pieced from scraps.


Part of the binding will be tonight's handwork project.

Part of the binding will be tonight’s handwork project.

That’s the final and most enjoyable part for me. Busy hands while I watch TV. Weeds have been pulled and more stuff sorted and organized. I have a lot of old magazines with craft ideas in them I wanted to save. Tearing out the pages that would get lost and separated didn’t seem like a great option, so I decided to photograph the picture and directions, putting them into a computer file. Sure takes up less room and the box of magazines and books can now be passed on.

More craft books to get moved on intact.

More craft books to get moved on intact.

It was a stunning view for a good week down to Sleepy Hollow.

It was a stunning view for a good week down to Sleepy Hollow.

There is still going to be a lot more texture and gratitude in my life.
How about you? Are you a tactile person who likes a lot of texture?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of the Next Big Adventure

Things change fast in my little world. I was finally catching my breath. Completing the simple pillowcase dress that is going with many others to an orphanage in Haiti, and 2 quilt squares for my quilting group that scared me to pieces. Quilts do that to me. I was ready to get on with the unpacking and putting away of MORE BOOKS.

Simple drawstring dress for little girls with so little

Simple drawstring dress for little girls with so little

bottom border of the dress

bottom border of the dress

I bought 3 more bookcases so I could get the rest of my books out of storage and eventually get a smaller, more inexpensive unit. I have more to give away and more to sell. There has been a lot of work going on here and a lot of play. Let’s break this down into bite sized chunks.

This was the prototype (experiment)  to see how the final one would look

This was the prototype (experiment) to see how the final one would look

I thought about making another like this prototype but changed my mind.

I thought about making another like this prototype but changed my mind.

My house is starting to look like a home and my sister who has been with me for the last three months is looking for a place of her own closer to her new job and all the places she goes to regularly. My place puts a lot of miles on her truck so the search is on.

Now I’ll be heading back to California for a month of working with my son to pack and paint his house. He has an offer on his home and they want a 30 day escrow. There is no realtor involved so they must do the paperwork. After putting my home together with the help of my children and sister, I’ll be helping to dismantle his.

ready to turn in and combine.

ready to turn in and combine.

A closer look at my take on a quilt square

A closer look at my take on a quilt square

This little birdy faces the other way.

This little birdy faces the other way.

My quilt squares were turned in this week and I thought they would be put into a big quilt and raffled off. That wasn’t the case. They were divided in two and names drawn to win each of the stacks of 12 blocks. I won a stack and now I’m supposed to put it together and bring it to the Christmas meeting. It’s obviously not going to happen. I doubt I can get it done when I get back in time for the December meeting but maybe for the party after Christmas. It will be a keepsake of each member that made a square.

We all started out with the same 2 fabrics. Then added our own touch. Now the fun begins...in December.

We all started out with the same 2 fabrics. Then added our own touch. Now the fun begins…in December.

Can you see why my mind is a little scattered these days? Our weather went from hot to canoe weather. Wish I could send some of it to those who need it. My son hasn’t seen significant rain in a year. I’m grateful every day I found this perfect place to be a platform for transitions. That’s the story of life. Nothing every stays the same. It’s all one big adventure, if you choose to see it that way. Go with the flow, that’s what the canoe is for. Paddle in the direction of the current, not against it.

Home is where we can ground ourselves and share with others. I hand embroidered this piece.

Home is where we can ground ourselves and share with others. I hand embroidered this piece.

Life has offered many challenges opportunities. Even my health challenges have an upside. Since my mouth doesn’t work as well as it used to, I spend more time listening and learning. So much for being the biggest talker in the family. On to this next adventure. I’ll let you know how it goes.

What’s your next big adventure?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Good Enough…Almost

I have written four or five of these start-up posts but have discarded each and every one. I’m beginning to think I should just post a sign on my blog that says “Out to Lunch” for the months of January and February. My brain is still out even though my body just keeps moving back and forth to the kitchen.

There are clues to what is going on but like a giant puzzle, I’m still trying to piece it together. Can I blame the weather? It’s been very odd this winter. I tried blaming the holidays but they are long gone. That did get my sugar rush going big time and I’m finally wrangling it in. Maybe I just have a broken brain?

When the apartment emptied out after the holidays, I breathed a sigh of relief, and another of regret. I miss having someone around. It’s a mixed bag. Lately,I’ve been trying to find ways to connect and make friends here and given my inability to get out much, it’s not as easy as it was when I had small children and small dogs. What ice breakers they were. Now, I’m looking for people to connect with that share my interest in sewing, quilting and machine embroidery. I’ll go back to the writing class next semester if I find any brain function is left.

For now, I’m trying to finish things that were started eons ago and continue to stare at me demanding my attention. I buried some of it deep enough I couldn’t hear the screams. I’ve arranged to pass some off to someone more willing to complete what was an expensive undertaking. My sister-in-law is going to make up the little girl dresses I have patterns and materials for, since I have no little girls anymore. She has a beautiful little granddaughter. You know that phrase “my eyes were bigger than my stomach”? Well that, for me applied to fabric, patterns and books as well as food. I had a huge appetite that went all the way to my toes. (no longer true except for books) That’s how much fabric I have. So I’m going to finish 2 more shirts that I have cut out and pray they turn out better than this last one.

It looked better in my mind when I planned it. I call it Dumb shirt instead of Big shirt.

It looked better in my mind when I planned it. I call it Dumb shirt instead of Big shirt.

I have no idea what happened with it, but anything that could go wrong, did. I actually made the collar upside down and sewed it on that way, only to have to take it all apart and put it together again. I asked my daughter what she thought of the shirt when she was taking the photo. “Honestly, she said, it was not your best work.” I’ll put the pockets on today and use it as an apron or just to keep me warm around the house. It’s like my brain was totally out of the loop on this project. Here is where I had to say, “Good enough” and let it be.

Full of good intentions but I can't put it in the rag bag just yet.

Full of good intentions but I can’t put it in the rag bag just yet.

I found a quilt group close to my house that allowed me to join them. All they ask is that I contribute a twin sized quilt to the foster care kids as part of their charity activity. I’m still trying to finish the one I started 6 years ago, but will give it my best.

Every project requires some embroidery. My daughter calls this old lady tramp stamp

Every project requires some embroidery. My daughter calls this old lady tramp stamp

Through a friend in my writing group, I met a lovely young woman who is German and has volunteered an hour a week to help me relearn my language. The grammar is the hard part since that part was never taught to me. I needed something else to do, right? Have to do my lessons early in the day as the old eyes are not happy with the tiny print, but I’m really enjoying it. It’s keeping me out of the kitchen. Guess it’s time to get to work and see what else will get done “good enough.” At this point in my life, that seems to be the operative theme.

Do you ever say “good enough” and move on or do you toss what isn’t working out well? Share your struggles with me so I know I’m not alone in this.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Autumn

By the time I get this posted, I will have melted into a puddle on the floor. Summer is holding on with a death grip. I don’t remember 98 degrees in Portland, but then I don’t remember much. That can be a good thing. I decided it was time to take down my “Welcome Summer” wall hanging and replace it with some encouragement for Autumn to make it’s appearance.

Before the clean up work

Before the clean up work

Finished with scrap fabric

Finished with scrap fabric

The Autumn sign was framed and backed with scrap fabric that was gifted to me. The colors were just perfect. I love summer for growing things but have very little of that around as I plan to move next summer into a home of my own. I had hoped to make it this year but the Universe seems to have other ideas and timetables. So I flow with it. Instead, I get to enjoy the nature that’s all around me.

This cooled our spirits

This cooled our spirits

On Labor Day, my daughter and I visited the Japanese Gardens here in Portland. It was my first visit though she had been before. We did not wear the appropriate footwear as the paths were rocky and uneven. I was hoping for more flowering plants there but saw only lush greenery. The garden has a perfect view over the entire city. They had an artist’s exhibition there as well, but of course, no photography is allowed.

At the beginning of our walk

At the beginning of our walk

This instead of flowers but it's pretty.

This instead of flowers but it’s pretty.

We have been setting records for our heat this summer so last weekend, we just rested and saved out energy for this coming weekend. I thought I’d let you see what an old, HAPPY American-German looks like on her birthday.

Yes, I had beer and strudel together. Notice the straw in the beer? Still necessary.

Yes, I had beer and strudel together. Notice the straw in the beer? Still necessary.

My time has been spent this week keeping cool and getting things ready for my next projects. I’m hoping to finish a crazy quilt that was started in a class almost 4-5 years ago and I want it bigger than it looks now. I also want to make a Christmas quilt with embroidered squares, along with a few gifts. I’ll be in the sewing room for months. I was waiting for the cool to come and I think it will arrive on Sunday. Come on autumn!!!

it was a gorgeous day overlooking the city.

it was a gorgeous day overlooking the city.

Are you looking forward to autumn or are you still really enjoying your summer? What is the best part of autumn for you?

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.~ George Eliot

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself