Wednesday, April 29

Creative Space Tag - Want a Peek?

Creative Space Tag is a new blogging game.  It was dreamed up after a conversation that Maryse and Julie had about how fun it would be to make a game of seeing people's sewing rooms.  It will be a lot of fun if it catches on and spreads!  Not only is it interesting to see how people carve out their own creative spaces, but, if nothing else, it will result in cleaned up work areas all over the world.  

Julie, who is a new blogging friend, kicked it off with views of her amazing new loft: a work in progress.  You can learn about Creative Space Tag here at Pink Doxies.  I love Julie's blog and she always has interesting things to say and great things to show us!  I feel like I grow a little more as a person and a quilter every time I visit.  

If you would like to be tagged, just let Julie know, since she will be coordinating the game.  It doesn't matter if your sewing area is fancy or humble, the idea is to inspire others by showing how you make space to create.   

Maryse went next and showed us her space.  Maryse is very special to me because she was my very first friend in blogland. I love throwing around ideas with Maryse and we have had some great conversations together.  Her work never ceases to take my breath away and I look up to her, not only as an incredibly talented quilter but as a wise and caring person.   You can see her sunlit and beautifully organized space here at Maryse Makes Things

Maryse then tagged me. :)     
So... Welcome and come on in for a tour of my creative space!  
I will try to keep this post picture rich and word light from this point on.    


This used to be my daughter's bedroom and now is my favorite place to sew.  I love my vintage sewing machines and use them on a regular basis.  This room is so cheery and it lifts my spirits to work in here:

Vintage Sewing Room - View 1
Vintage Sewing Room - view 2 - There is always a dog bed nearby!

The other main area where I sew is in our bedroom, which I seem to have taken over.  This is where my modern machine and mambo sewing table are:

Bedroom Sewing Space - View 1 - from the door

Jim helped me make a homemade Ironing and Cutting Station - Tutorial Here
It has storage for books and ironing supplies too:

DIY Ironing and Cutting Station

I took over the Walk-in closet.  Sometimes my stash is very well organized.  I try to fold all the fabric onto 8 and 1/2 by 11 magazine boards.  Other times, like now, I have not been so good at putting things away:

Stash Storage.  The shade is usually closed so that light won't damage the fabrics.

The cabinet below was my grandmother's and then my parents' china cabinet.  I keep the sweet romantic type fabrics in there.  As you can see, my little buddies are always nearby when I sew:

Pip likes to sit on the end of the bed.
This way she is handy in case petting is a possibility. 

Very often, we don't see our stairway railing for months at a time.  I drape freshly washed, ironed and starched fabrics here:

Penny - always hoping that I will throw the toy for her to chase.


Would you like to meet my Golden Girls?  

First there is Dorothy - my Singer 301 and my favorite sewing machine.  Dorothy looks very straight laced and proper and I can always count on her.  I used this sewing machine to sew all the projects in my hope-to-be-published-soon book.  

Then there is Sophia - one tough cookie and always reliable.  Connie (Free Motion by the River) uses her 15-91 to free-motion quilt her quilts and I hope to get good enough to do that too.        

Then there is Rose, my Singer Featherweight.  Rose is just a darling and a good, all around machine.  My daughter Kaitie fell in love with this machine at first sight, so Rose went to live with her, except for when she comes back for spa dates.  


And last of all, there is Blanche.  The spiffiest, most modern machine and always up to trying anything - A Janome 7700.  My favorite thing about Blanche is that she attracts my daughters like a magnet.  

That last photo shows, on the right, the design wall Jim made for me out of furring strips and a fleece blanket.  It holds things up (Like Lorna's Elephant Parade quilt) very well.  There is a fan there because I can heat the whole house with hot flashes if I just blow the air around enough.  

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

I am very grateful for having this wonderful space to create in and am thankful that my husband is so supportive of my passion for quilting.  He really understands what it is all about:


Quilting is my voice, not my vice.
                                                                                                            ~ Lara B.

"So who will be next in Creative Space Tag?", you may ask.

It's Sandra of Musings of a Menopausal Melon!  After that hot flash comment I just had to pick her.  Hee hee.  You just have to love someone who names their blog that!  Sandra is not only a talented quilter, but a wonderful and incredibly funny and caring friend.  She cracks me up on a regular basis and then other times broadens my mind and makes me think more about things and the world in general.  She also has turned me into a fan of Mary Oliver's poetry.  

So Sandra, Come On Down!  You are the next participant in "The Place is Right!"  I sure hope someone clicks on that so they can get the joke :) 

Thanks for visiting, because... 

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Thursday, April 23

Strange Magic H2H Quilt and a Brief Book Update

The very first quilting book I ever purchased was Paula Nadelstern's Kaleidoscopes and Quilts.  I wasn't even a quilter back then, but her work and her techniques are fascinating!  Fifteen years later, in 2011, I made my first quilt.  It was a One Block Wonder, which is like a simplified kaleidoscope quilt now that I think about it.  Someday I hope to make a complex kaleidoscope quilt, but in the meantime I am happy making designs with easy construction and fun effects.  Like this one, which I made for the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge.  I take no credit for the design.  This quilt is outright inspired by and a derivative of Paula Nadelstern's "Lines" quilt. 

For those of you who would like to do a quilt for the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge, there is still time to join in!  I especially want to thank Sarah for all the work she does to make this event a lot of fun for all the participants!  

Here is "Strange Magic" (The quilt isn't really skewed like my photo is):

"Strange Magic" is created when using 
Paula Nadelstern's Palindrome fabrics.

Have you ever bought fabric online and then been a bit dismayed when you saw it in person?  That's what happened to me, when I first opened the package with these Palindrome fabrics. They have a LOT of energy and are practically an electric light orchestra.  But, I put my faith in Paula's great design sense and made the quilt anyway.  I learned that these fabrics play together in ways that are almost magical.  (If you are a child of the seventies, then you can guess where I got the name for this quilt.)  This is the simplest of quilts, with strips of fabric sewn together, but I love how it turned out.  It's the fabric that made it look like something much more complex.  The whole key is to work in symmetry.  

That first photo was taken indoors on the design wall.  Here is another photo, taken outdoors.  The colors, in real life, are somewhere between the two photos. 

Jim, hiding behind Strange Magic
For the backing, I had to cobble together leftovers.  The main fabric (shown on the left, in the picture below) wasn't my cup of tea, so I turned it over and used the underside (shown at the bottom).  

Flipping over the backing fabric to tone it down
Behind the scenes

One of the classes that I am taking on Craftsy is called Creative Quilting with Your Walking Foot - taught by Jacquie Gering.  It is a fun class and Jacquie is a great teacher!  I've learned some clever and easy ways to quilt with my walking foot, so I tested out one technique with this quilt: concentric diamonds.

I folded the quilt top in quarters and marked off a diamond on each quarter, using blue painter's tape:

Marking the first lines with tape.

You only need to mark off the first sewing lines.  They are shown in the mock up below.  After that, just use your walking foot as a guide to fill in smaller and smaller concentric diamonds.  You spiral around, so there are no cut thread ends to bury until you hit the center of each diamond.  My lines were roughly 3/4" apart.  I started by gradually filling in the diamond in the middle, then moved on to the four outer diamonds and then filled in the half and quarter diamonds.   I sew slowly, but the whole thing took me about 3 hours for this 40" x 60" quilt. 

The first quilting lines to set up the diamond grid.

You can see some of the quilting in this photo of the back.  My lines were a little wobbly sometimes, but the overall effect is still pretty cool:


Now for a complete Change of Subject: Publishing News

Many of you have kindly been inquiring about the progress on The Book that I wrote for the American Quilter's Society.  So I thought it was time to put an update here on BuzzinBumble.  My deadline was last November 15th.   

Here is what has been going on since then:

Other author friends tell me that this is normal in publishing.  That there are long periods of silence and waiting (and anxiety!), followed by periods with frenzied activity. Back in February, I did get two wonderful letters from Elaine Brelsford, my original editor.  She was still very enthusiastic about my projects, but also let me know that the AQS had restructured its publications division.  (Elaine will now be heading up the online class initiative.)   There is a new Executive Editor and Director of Publications now, named Kim Tetrev.  I am very much looking forward to working with her when it is finally my book's turn with the AQS editorial team.  

But meanwhile, back at the ranch... 

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Linking up to Sarah's Whoop Whoop party at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Thursday, April 9

Playing with a Design and Sewing Blocks for Friends

Well, I didn't get much sewing accomplished this week, but I did make some blocks for Yvonne's two young friends.  Yvonne - aka Quilting Jetgirl - put out the call on her blog for people to make blocks for two children who tragically lost their Dad.  She is really involving the kids in the process and they are enthusiastic and showing great promise.  Her goal is for them to get a sense of the power of community.  Quite a  few of you are already involved!  Today, on Thankful Thursday, Yvonne showed some of what has come in so far and it looks really great.  If you would like to take part, there is still time to whip up a block or two.  She needs specific sizes and themes.    

For the little girl, Yvonne asked for ocean themed, or boat, or dance blocks.  I did curvy, ocean themed blocks.  This process of cutting and piecing naturally turns out three blocks.

So of course then I had to make three for the little boy too. Yvonne said he is excited about taking piano, so asked for music themed blocks.  I happened to have some really cool jazz fabric and it called out for improv blocks.  Kaja & Ann!  I did my first simple but successful Improv!  It was fun too.  

In other news, I designed another quilt, which I need to make soon.  I found a fabric I adored and decided to use it as a backing and design the whole quilt around it.   The fabric is Rocket Ads from the Rocket Age collection by October Afternoon for Riley Blake.  If you were a kid in the 50's through the 70's and read comic books, this fabric will definitely feel nostalgic to you.  I matched Kona Cottons to the fabric to develop a color palette for the quilt.  

Rocket Ads by October Afternoon for Riley Blake / paired with Kona Cottons

Once again, I found the inspiration for starting a design on Pinterest.  Are you all as cuckoo about Pinterest as I am?  It makes me laugh that someone referred to it "hoarding without the clutter."  

I was looking for computer themed quilts and found the work of Elizabeth Elliott.  She makes incredible quilts with code, using a programming language called Processing.  She uses coding to generate random designs, with simple and traditional quilt blocks.  Then she basically plays with the design until she likes it.  Her quilts are both fun and amazing!  Elizabeth (Libs) has a free pattern: Out of Step available on the Robert Kaufman website.

So. I know nothing about computer programming, but I can be pretty random, LOL, so I took a whack at it.  I love to take simple blocks and play with them.  I chose 5 block designs just like Elizabeth did and used EQ7 to work.  By version seven, I started feeling pretty happy with the design.

Okay, brace yourself!

"Batman Returns" EQ7 mockup

I named the quilt "Batman Returns"... Can you see that one repeated block design that looks like Batman lurking around every corner?  Somehow the front of the quilt feels like it belongs with the comic book themed backing.    

Guidance and suggestions are welcome!  This quilt and Sam's Serenity Now! quilt are real departures for me.  I'm usually more traditional.  It's fun, but also a wee bit daunting to depart from your norm!

Thanks for visiting!
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Sunday, April 5

Halfway to Serenity Now!

I hope that you all had a wonderful and blessed Easter!  We had a great one because our son Sam came home for the weekend.  He liked his quilt so far too.

It is past time that I posted an update on that...

Half of Sam's Modern Quilt top is pieced.  It will be 60" x 80" when done.

The color is off in that photo.  Hopefully, by the time the quilt is finished, we will have beautiful weather and I can photograph it in natural light.   I had to change my original plan because one of the blue shot cottons was a tad too purpley so the quilt will have a slightly different color layout than in the EQ7 mockup.

I decided to name Sam's Modern Quilt "Serenity Now!" All of you "Seinfeld" fans will recognize that reference.  It's going to be a serene quilt to look at, but it has not been so peaceful for me to put it together, LOL... so I am wishing for Serenity Now! as I sew. 

These last couple of weeks, I haven't gotten to sew, or blog, or visit with everyone as much as I would like to.  It isn't because this pattern is difficult or time consuming; far from it.  I just haven't been feeling so great lately.  I've had Meniere's Disease for at least 25 years and lately I'm seem to be having one of the bad cycles where I cannot sew or be on the computer very long without getting dizzy and sick.  So I just do what I can, little by little.  But, "This too shall pass."  I much prefer to focus on upbeat things, so I have some fun stuff to share. 

My family put on a High Tea for me for my birthday!  It was soooo nice!  Jim (my hubby) went and picked it up from The White Linen Tea House.  We usually like to go there once each year and then explore the antique filled barn afterwards.  But, since I could not go this year - they brought it to me.   
Here is our Sam - he's teasing Kaitie by sampling the goods beforehand, while she tries to take a photo.  He is such a brat.

This one will appeal to all of you who love to use your vintage sewing machines:
A couple of weeks ago I visited Sharon's blog at Five Shadows, where she talked about The Featherweight Club and a nifty LED replacement light bulb that she bought for her Featherweight.  I was interested because my daughter Kaitie told me she had burned her arm on the lightbulb on her Featherweight.  So that led me to Christine's blog at Stitch All Things and to where her hubby Brad sells the LED light bulbs at a much more reasonable price than I've ever seen before.  The light bulbs work great for Featherweights and they fit my Singer 301 and Singer 15-91 perfectly too.  
(Edit, just in case you don't read Brad's comment below, but he has EIGHT different kinds of LED bulbs for vintage sewing machines!  Sew Cool... literally!)   

"Rose" with her new LED light bulb installed. A brighter, whiter light, with no "Ouch"!  

I have one more thing I just have to share.  Kaitie's great friends adopted a bulldog, who they named Bugs.  Congratulations to Sammy & Steve!  

"Bugs" in his new home

He is so darn cute.  He was quite tuckered out with the excitement of his first day in his new life.  Sammy said I could post this video on my blog - it totally cracked us up.  Thank goodness he wasn't creating the other sound effect that Bulldogs are known for, LOL.

Thanks for visiting!

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