Friday, December 30, 2016

Reflections, Thankfulness, Creativity and Faith


2016.
Not my favorite year. 

Personally we had some set backs. Jobs were lost, income was decreased, youngest daughter had some health scares in the beginning of the year and a few days before Christmas found herself unsuccessfully swerving to avoid hitting a car that ran out in front of her. Car was totaled and we were unsure as how she would get home for the Holidays. In 2016 my husband lost his father, and collectively we lost many icons that we grew up with or who helped to shape our culture. And thus, mortality on this planet that we call home, has stared us in the face in a way most of us find unsettling. My creativity, or time to create was diminished, my candidate didn't win and my hopes for a safe, secure and happy future have been challenged more then ever before.

Ok. So what's to be thankful for? 
Lots. 
My oldest daughter celebrated her 1st wedding anniversary with a man she loves deeply, and who we all love as well. My youngest daughter graduated from college and found a great job in Virginia


Her earlier health scare wasn't as bad as it could have been and she thankfully walked away from that car accident with just whiplash. Her best friend's schedule allowed her to be able to drive  
the 5 plus hours to get her and bring her back home for the holidays. My husband got to spend some quality time with her as they went car shopping and she will be driving back to Virginia in a beautiful brand new car that she got a great deal on. 

Employment was found, albeit at less income but thankfully at less stress, 
and my husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. 


(I have better photos of our wedding, 
but I always liked this candid shot of after the ceremony and before the reception.)

While creative time and output was decreased, I still did create. My quilt stitching can be found on previous posts from this year, and I am happy to report that the hand pain has diminished enough that I've even been sewing, (and listing for sale) some quilted fabric beads again...


I also continue to take photos, (and post on Instagram
of the beautiful old worn and weathered barns and buildings in my area... 





I am happy to report that I have slowly, but FINALLY, put aside my fears and anxiety over picking up paintbrush and putting paint to paper. After a almost 30 year hiatus, I am allowing myself to simply play again, no pressure, and oh it feels so wonderful and brings me the most centered calm...


I began with some little leaf and nature studies...


And recently have been exploring some little paintings based on my barn photography...


And while my personal anxiety has often risen this year over diminished hopes and dreams for our  futures, both personal and collective, I try to use that to strengthen the very thing that seems to have weakened.... my faith. It has given me the very thing I need to chew on and contemplate and decide. I am determined to restore it and increase it, and I am looking forward to marching in Washington this January with my daughters and sister in the Women's March on Washington.

Here is to 2017, may it surprise us with unimagined blessings and graces. 
Love, peace and best wishes to us all. xoxo


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Hayride


This newest quilt started out as an experimental piece based on an improv block I developed and showed in my last post. I call the block "Haystack", so "Hayride" seemed like a fitting name for this quilt. 


I originally set out to only use the left over bits of two polka-dot fabrics that have been in my stash for close to 20 years, but quickly ran out of the darker blue, so I gave myself permission to substitute the plain muslin that I had on hand. (Actually, it's 3 polka dot prints... the dark blue with cream dots, and 2 different cream ones with slightly different blue dots)



The limitations on fabric that I placed, caused the various blocks to each be unique, even though construction method was the same for each. When I ran out of the cream polka-dot fabrics I stopped. This is also the first quilt that I can recollect where I didn't bother to square up the edges and block after washing, as I wanted to keep a utilitarian look as much as possible. Surprised at how close it came to being more or less squared all by itself.


I machine quilted it with, yes, what many seem to consider boring old stippling.... which in truth I love as it provides such wonderful texture. I've said it before, and I will say it again, I do not understand why this humble, free-motion machine stitch has fell so out of favor. 


xo

Friday, August 19, 2016

Rough Drafts


Playing around with some improv piecing ideas recently led me to come up with a block that I am calling "Haystack".  I've named it this because the little 4 rectangles that appear in the block, (most noticeable in the polka dot example) remind me of the rectangular hay bales that appear in the fall fields after harvest time, and then get stacked up for the farm animals bedding and feed. These blocks are just rough drafts, playing with color,  and pattern, and what happens when I do this, or that. 

Now I'm off to play with what happens when I combine some blocks, 
or enlarge some blocks, 
or who knows what?
Oh, I just love exploring possibilities!

xo

Monday, June 20, 2016

Morning Reflections


Still playing with window inspiration. This one is called "Morning Reflections" and as I worked on it, the images that I held in my thoughts were those of old, cracked and off-kilter windows that I see in the worn and weathered white barns around here, and how they reflect the soft, early morning light...


Not one of my best photos, but it hopefully gives you an idea of where the inspiration comes from.
Looking at this, my mind is filled with still a dozen more quilt interpretations of just this one image. Definitely have to explore some more!


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Color and Shape



Just a short and simple post... not much time to sew these days, or to blog for that matter, but I wanted to share a little of what I am doing when time allows... simply playing with color and shape. I am using windows, (such as the misshapen ones and the broken ones that I see everyday in my beloved old and weathered barns) as my inspiration jumping off point for shape, and the color is simply curiosity and intuition. This little piece measures 16.25 x 17.25 and is made with Moda Grunge scraps. Machine quilted in a freeform grid pattern with a face binding. (See here for my faced binding tutorial)  

My goodness... that was such an easy post! Maybe I will try to post more often, but keep them relatively short like this... we will see. Till then, be well, and a Happy Memorial Day Weekend!