Quilt Testers In Action

Quilt Testers In Action


Saturday, October 30, 2010

If You Don't Like The Weather, Wait Five Minutes

Which  is exactly what it has been like here lately. Seventy degrees one day, fifty the next. Thursday was sunny, so was Friday, until I hung my laundry on the line! Right now, the air is getting raw, the sky is getting dark, and I may be smelling that four letter word that starts with "s" in the air.  Let's try not to think about that, and look at some garden pictures instead.

The late mums are in full bloom now.

OK. Guess I still  have some learning to do on that effect! The rest of the pictures are undoctored. In the next one, you can see that I am not the only one enjoying the flowers.

Look closely. Do you see it? Actually, there was a bunch of them. This one was ready for it's close-up.

And if you don't like the creepy-crawlies, I'll just leave you with the pretty  flowers as the final image.

I hope you are having a fine weekend, without any of that "s" word where you are. And if you are having some of it, try to find a nice bunny to snuggle up to, and stay warm.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another Day, Another Photo

I'm still doing that Photoshop class being given by  Kim Klassen. It really takes a lot of time. I get so confused once all the layers get going, and I have to watch the videos quite a few times to figure out what I'm doing. Thankfully, her videos are very clear, and show everything I need to know.

Today I started with this picture of the Man of the House. He's on the site of some old mine ruins out in North Adams, Ma.

And then, I added in this piece of dryer vent.

After using different lighting effects and opacitys, and a gradient layer that is darker in the middle, I added some text, said the magic word, and waved Ginny's apple stick at it, and behold: 

Now I just  need to write the Gothic novel to go with this book cover.... Or maybe I'll let Ginny do that part. It is her magic wand, after all!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Remember Creative Cues?

Well, I haven't done one of these in a long time, but this week's Creative Cue over at Three Creative Studios is the word TEXTURE, and that got me thinking. At first I thought I might just post pictures of the bunnies, but unless you are on the wrong side of the toenails, the only texture there is soft. So instead, I decided to post some photos of textures I saw on my walk this morning.

The stone wall in front of one house provided this texture.

And, the nearby tree had a very rough, flaky bark.

Of course there was the texture of the fallen leaves, which are getting dryer and crunchier everyday.

But mostly, I was looking at the textures of the trees that were still holding on to their leaves.

Isn't that a glorious color?

On My Morning Walk

Most mornings during the school year, I walk with my neighbor. Our walk takes us down a (very) busy street (love that carbon monoxide!). But this time of year, even this street is beautiful. Here is a little bit of what we saw this morning.

On this street there is a brown house that, although a beautiful Victorian, goes unnoticed most of the year. It seems to get lost in the shadows. But in the autumn, the house comes alive, and glows with light reflected off the nearby trees. This house is one of my favorite neighborhood sites this time of year.

Another house that I enjoy has a much redder tree outside. 

And, a lovely couple greets you by the front door.

Farther up the road, the entrance to another house always charms me. I think it's the texture of the stonewall and the tree, but that is another post.

It was definitely a chilly walk this morning, but well worth the effort to get going. What do you like to see in your neighborhood?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Some More Playing

Our lesson today in Kim Klassen's Photo shop Skinny Mini e-Course involved blending and layers. I started with my recent rose picture.

Then, after cropping, and adding softlight and text, we started adding solid colored layers, of varying opacities.  First, some green.

Which was then muted with some white, giving a misty, rain-washed look.

Then, I removed the green, and added a pink overlay. Sunset, maybe?

And then a white overlaid on that, gave it the look of a misty sunset, or maybe a foggy dawn.

I hope you can see these pictures. For some reason I am having trouble adding them, just getting red X's. Anyway, I'm having fun creating different moods with a single picture. I can't wait for tomorrow's homework.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Photoshop Class

I just added a button to my sidebar, that links to the free e-course in using Photoshop that I am taking. The class is being offered by the very inspirational Kim Klassen . We are two days into the class, and I am already glad that I am taking it. So far, we have only taken baby steps, but since I was crawling before, that's a good thing. Today I took the picture I posted here, duplicated it, created a layer, cropped the layer, and added text, that I then edited. Whew! Probably seems like nothing to some of you, but I felt quite proud! Here is my new picture.

Today Ginny, tomorrow the world! Ha, ha, ha (that's supposed to be an evil laugh)! I'm off to play some more.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Something Unexpected In The Garden

Our little Nor'easter is winding down. It's still very windy outside, but the sun is out, so I decided to take a walk in the garden, and see what was new.

First Daughter's Garden, with Blueberry bush, and the Miscanthus grass in the background.

Out front I noticed that the very late mums are beginning to blossom, about two weeks early. This worries me, since I saw a flock of Juncos yesterday, and they are very early also.

Rounding the corner of the house, I spied a very late rose. This climber usually blossoms only once, in June, but it had a little treat for us. It smells wonderful.

Then I came across the backyard, and noticed that something didn't look quite right.

Can you see it? Take a closer look. See those branches going diagonally across the picture?

Those aren't supposed to be there. They are branches of the neighbor's Bradford Pear, on top of our Maple-leaved Viburnum. I ducked under the shrubs for a closer look.

Seems the wind and rain has pulled a big limb off their tree. The chain goes to a hammock by the way, not anything weird. Back around the front of the shrubs, I noticed that when the branch fell, it knocked our birdhouse off it's post!

But that's OK. The shrubs had grown too close to the house for it to be safe for birds, so now I have more incentive to get myself in gear, and move the post. This is what I like about having a garden. There is always something new to investigate. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope your winds are soft and warm.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Not Up To Anything

I walked into the kitchen to see Ginny standing up tall on the stool that I use to reach the top shelves. By the time I grabbed the camera, she was down in bunloaf position, trying to tell me that she hadn't been up to anything.

Then, she left, while telling me what she thought of the camera.

Not sure if she was trying to get into the refrigerator, or reach the coffee pot on the counter. Buns on caffeine, anyone?

Technical Difficulties

I just had to go buy a new rotary cutter. Want to know why? See that little piece of plastic between the two rotary cutters?

As I was slicing some fabric, that little piece came flying off the side of my rotary cutter. It actually flew across the room, and bounced off the wall! Anyway, that little piece is the button for retracting the blade. This tool is over ten years old (it predates the house I'm living in now), and I guess it just wore out from overuse.

I once dropped an open rotary cutter from table height, and had it slice through a leather sneaker leaving a small cut on my foot. I usually sew barefoot, so I got lucky that time! Not wanting to take any chances, I went right out and got a new rotary cutter. I see that the button for retracting the blade has been redesigned. I wonder if breaking off and flying across the room was a common occurrence? 

And I have to ask, don't you love the color of the new cutter? It makes me smile just to see it on this grey, cloudy, rainy, windy day (we are having a little Nor'easter here). 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

More Bunny Travails

No, not Ginny. She is still getting lumps, but they seem to get a certain size, persist for awhile, and then go away. None are as big as the initial lumps, and they don't seem to keep her from eating, like that first huge one did. So, even though we still don't have a name for it, it seems she will survive this (thankfully).

This time it's Weasley, and it isn't life threatening either, just another difficulty. We had him to the new vet for a respiratory issue, when she noticed a problem with his right eye. Now mind you, I had asked the old vet about his eyes in the past, because they sometimes seemed cloudy to me. The old vet wasn't concerned. But I had been seeing the cloudiness more often in his right eye lately, and the new vet saw it also, and ran some tests. Turns out he has glaucoma, in addition to cataracts,  and is quite blind in that eye. 

You can see the cloudiness in Weasley's right eye in this picture.

He is getting eye drops to bring the pressure down, so hopefully he will not have to have the eye removed. This explains why he doesn't jump down from things (no depth perception), but it doesn't hinder his getting around in any other way. We'll take this one vet visit at a time, and see (no pun intended) what happens from here.

I can't find much information on glaucoma in rabbits, so if anyone has had experience with this, I would love to know whatever you can tell me.  

On another note, Miss Ginny thinks she is being abused, and needs some pets.

Ginny, begging for pets.
To disguise her chair from visitors, a cover was put over it. Then several items were put in front of it, to keep her from jumping up and eating the cover.  She tried climbing up the guitar that was leaning against the chair, but only got halfway. Today she decided to just jump the side of the chair instead.  Once she got up there, she found herself in jail! 

Can you see the ears? I think she is doing her best to look as stylish (and cute) as Harrington, but she was still in trouble. Or should I say I am still in trouble?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fall In The Garden, And A Few Notes

After the rain this past week, the last two days have turned into the kind of days that are the reason for living in New England. The temperature has been slightly crisp, but warm when you are in in the incredible autumn sun The sky is the deep blue that you only get in the fall, and the air smells spicy, with overtones of woodsmoke. The garden still has some treasures, like the white mums that were given to me several years back, that seem to really like living under the willow tree.

And, the yellow mums growing in Second Daughter's garden are glowing.

The Bluebird Asters in the front yard have a stunning color, and really shine in the afternoon sun. The bees like them, also.

The grasses also come into their own. The Big and Little Bluestem aren't very pretty (at least in my garden), but they feed the birds. The monstrous Miscanthus grass of unknown parentage in the back yard is quite dramatic. And this is my favorite, the Zebra Grass. I love the sun coming through it.  

Here  are links to a  few things that I've seen around the net this week. 
  1. This is an important message, and not just for teenagers or the gay/lesbian community. I think we all have times in our lives where it is important for someone to say this to us, and then to keep repeating it to ourselves until life does get better. 
  2. If you are intimidated by Photoshop (like me!) check out the free e-course being offered by Kim Klassen . I'm not real good with the whole "just play with it and figure it out" dynamic, so I'm hoping this class will get me over a few hurdles.
  3. On a lighter note, there is a give-away being offered by Mandy over at Bijou's Whimsy. Crows are really amazing creatures, smart, social, and beautiful with their iridescent blue/black feathers. I probably shouldn't be telling you about this , because I'd like it for myself, and if you go and look, it will be harder for me to win it! 

And now, back to enjoying this beautiful autumn day. But first, I have to find my long johns and extra blankets. We are headed off to a marching band competition, and with this wind and clear sky, it's going to get downright chilly in the bleachers!  I hope you are having a fine weekend wherever you are.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Playing With Scraps

Today I was playing with leftovers from the last few quilts, as a way to avoid going outside in the pouring rain. First I made some tiny quilts, about 6" by 8 1/2 ".

These were then folded, a lining, and elastic were added. Finally, a button was chosen and sewn on. The result? Some pretty memo book covers, that should make very nice little gifts.


And this takes care of most of that pile of scraps. Time to start some research for the next big quilt project.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Catching Up

OK, I did finish that autumn quilt on time for the show, but then I lost possession of the computer to a kid with a school project, so I couldn't show it to you! And when I got it back, I had to catch up on the bills, etc,. first. This included renewing my car registration. This was a scary prospect, because of what happened last time.

Last time I renewed my car registration, I took advantage of being able to do it on-line, which seemed great, took 2 minutes. But then, the registration never came in the mail. A trip to the Motor Vehicle Department (and a long wait) revealed the problem. The final letter of my plate was not actually a letter. It was a number! I had renewed someone else's registration! So you can see that I approached this on-line registration with some nervousness this time. When it came time to enter my number, there was this big, red warning: If your registration expires in October, the final character is the number 0, not the letter o. I'm thinking maybe I was not the only one to make this mistake????

Anyway, back to the quilt. I left you as I was about to start some threadwork on the top.

Did I mention that I love thread? Here is a detail of the threadwork on the trees. I forgot to take pictures until after I had layered and pin-basted the quilt. 

And here is another detail of the foliage in the graveyard. For the tall grasses, I actually ran two threads, a tan and a green, through my needle at the same time. I've never done this before, and I really like the line it gave me.

Then, it was time for the quilting.

I decided to use a dyed cheesecloth for the binding. This was something else I had never done before, and I really like the way it looks. It seems to suggest a frame, without being a frame. As the quilt is handled, the cheesecloth tends to roll, and shrink up, like cheesecloth does, and I like this rustic, textural effect. You can see this in the next two pictures.

Here is the finished quilt, hanging in the Art Center. 

West On Route 2,
 Overall, I am happy with how this turned out. It's not quite what I planned, but I like it anyway. I learned a lot making it, which I will be able to put to good use in future quilts. Can't really ask for more than that.

And to thank you for waiting around while I got back to posting, a gratuitous picture of bunny butts!

Ginny, reaching into the cage to see if Weasley has anything good left in that dish.