Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring update........

Happy Springtime readers & friends!  I hope spring is sprouting around your home like it is for us.  We’re having beautiful weather here in the southwest - everything is blooming....the temperatures are great...we have gentle breezes...the birds are is good!   I've been away for a bit - went out of state to visit my mom for her birthday, then I went to a quilting retreat weekend up in Show Low Arizona and we had relatives visiting all last week. Now things are getting back to ‘normal’ finally so I can catch up on my blogging.   

I've been more in a quilting than a stitching mode the last few weeks but I did finish up my Jenny Bean pin tuffet recently. It was love at first sight when I first saw this on someone's blog last year and I finally sat down and stiched it up.  I admire it every day while I’m in my office/sewing room even if the DH wonders why I keep making more pincushions just to look at!  I LOVE all things "Jenny Bean".  :)

"Jenny Bean" by Shakespeare's Peddler
My own silk conversion on some sort of 40-ct linen

Don’t you just love the pins that Just Another Button company is making now? I picked up this little wool kit called Stuck on You that came out at market and it’s got adorable pins in it too. I can’t wait to make this up as soon as I get a little time.  The chocolates look good enough to eat!

Now I’ve got to share with you some framing I recently got back from Jill Rensel’s studio. I’ve never sent anything to Jill before but have admired her framing that I’ve seen posted on bulletin boards and blogs over the years. I had 2 projects that I had framed a few years ago locally on a sale - I got a discount if I let the framer pick out everything but in retrospect I found that doesn’t work too well for me – I need to see and stress (yes I do stress!)  over what it’s going to look like before it’s done. The workmanship was great but it just wasn’t what I had envisioned and so it’s been bothering me ever since. It was even worse when I thought about all the money I spent and then to be disappointed makes a sad situation.  Everytime I walked by them hanging on the wall I was a little bit peeved at myself.  Well long story but I finally got around to packaging them up carefully and sending them to Jill back in October to have some rework done. She was very busy with holiday framing and all so I didn’t get them back until March but it was worth waiting for. Yeah Jill!!  I’m so happy I had them re-done! The two projects were already professionally mounted from the first framing, and we were able to reuse the big frame on An Open Heart so the rework dollars weren't too bad actually.

St. Peter's Fair by Shepherds Bush was originally framed with mats and a frame that I thought were just too dark for the soft colors used in the piece. Jill used the same mat design she sells as a pre-made set for this design but did mine in blues & greens instead of the usual lavender/pink ones.

"St. Peter's Fair" Before:

"St. Peter's Fair" After:

This Drawn Thread piece when originally framed just seemed so
b-o-r-i-n-g.  It’s a very large piece and the neutral mats just didn’t do much to show off the piece in my opinon. I like the new moss-greeen mats Jill added  much better.  It’s another task I can mark off my list and I’m looking forward to sending some more pieces to Jill.   I made a lot of progress with my framing list over the past year but I still have about 6 things waiting in line - that's the downside about finishing things -then you've got to tackle the framing!

"An Open Heart" Before:

"An Open Heart" After:

Our quilting retreat 2 weeks ago was fabulous as usual – I didn’t take many photos this time. I’ve been there several times so end up taking the same photos of the place it seems – not to mention I barely took any breaks from non-stop sewing except for eating great food and doing as little sleeping as possible LOL.  But drum roll please...I finally finished my “Winter Memories” quilt top.
"Winter Memories" - pattern by The Acorn Quilt & Gift Co
(just ignore the chain hanging down from the ceiling fan!)

I started this hand-applique quilt almost 2 years ago so really glad to put it over to the finished column. I made some substitutions in the pattern (I can never leave things alone) replacing an embroidered wreath block with an appliqued sled (thank you Yahoo images...) and I re-drew the mitten block as I didn't like the one in the pattern. What's funny is a friend and I fell in love with this quilt at a quilt show vendor mall a couple years back and we went crazy hunting down the some of the same fabrics used in the model.   We found everything we needed through a combination of quilt stores, eBay, and a friend's wholesale account at Moda Fabrics..........but now I have enough fabric left over to make about 5 more of these quilts!  When will I learn to stop over-buying??    Now the quilt top needs to go off to be quilted by a longarm quilter. I’m not doing much machine quilting of my own quilts these days – I don’t enjoy it and it is hard on my shoulders. (I can’t bear going through any more shoulder surgeries!) I’ll do baby quilts or wallhangings but that’s it. The longarm quilters  can do so much more and do it so much better  than I can do on my regular sewing machine.  It adds to the cost of course but to me it's worth it rather than struggling along and doing it myself.  I just don't have the time to hand-quilt very many quilts either.

Hope to be back soon - next week is a 4-day workweek for me as we have Good Friday off (or in the politically-correct corporate world, it's "spring holiday").  Whatever you call it, I can't wait for a 3-day weekend!