Friday, July 29, 2011

Surviving the Runway: "The Royal Wedding"

Every year the participants of this event amaze me with their creativity and this year was no exception!
How these people can take the weirdest materials and create seriously cool wearables is beyond me.
This year the challenge was to create a fascinator fit for a queen.  Check it out:
Here they go!  What the participants accomplished with fun foam
was really impressive!  Pokey looked very Super Fly in her pink fuzzy hat!

Judy is amused by the antics of a student, who is performing a curtsy to the judges.

Jamie is sorting through the valuable foam letters for her personal hat creation

Be Still My Heart:  a Harry Potter-themed crown!

Preparing for the runway.  The young woman in the foreground was the grand prize winner.
Her fascinator was awesome!

I have no words for this....!

Our participants, doing the Queen's wave.  Each and every one of them was amazing!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Look at all this "Stuff"!

Seriously?  Every year we go to the Long Beach festival and the Houston festival and I think we can't possibly pack more stuff, and every year for several in a row I have been wrong.
In our defense, this is stuff of 3 people who are all teaching multiple workshops, and also 40 quilts which we are about to hang in an exhibition.  I think it is rather impressive, don't you?

Incidentally, this does NOT include the quilts.  This is just our "stuff".

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A return-visit to Hoffman Fabrics

Pinch me, cause I must be dreaming:  I returned for the 2nd time to visit our good friend, Michelle Flores, at Hoffman Fabrics.  Judy Coates Perez, Jamie Fingal, and I stopped by for a quick tour and a chance to peek at some of the upcoming designs (yummy) soon to be on fabric store shelves.  Thank you, Michelle, for your support.   It was so much fun to visit!
A kid in a candy store?  You bet!
3 Kids?  Even better!!
I love the way all these rolls of vintage Hoffman fabric look on the shelves!
Michelle shows Judy some of the luscious fabric
Here are 2 machines that wrap the rolls of cloth onto bolts

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Empire State of Mind

I have almost finished another 16-inch square quilt to be auctioned off in a silent auction at City Quilter in New York City, as part of the events for "Quilters Take Manhattan".  This is going to be such a fun weekend!  If you can make it, please join us for the Saturday events.  I believe there are still a few tickets available.
During the cocktail party at City Quilter there will be a fun set of events, one of which is a silent auction.
This quilt, "Empire State of Mind" (thank you, Jay Z, for the inspiration and name), is a New York Beauty style of quilt.  I wanted to put an iconic building shape in the center, and of course the Chrysler building was my first pick.  It resembles the New York Beauty shape.
I sketched the building top, made a thermofax screen and lightly printed the image onto the deep pink silk dupioni cloth, then thread sketched it using free-motion quilting.  The quilt is entirely free motion quilted.  I really enjoyed making it.  As you can see, I have yet to stitch the binding on the back so there are many pins in place!  The quilt back is the same as the borders and binding.

 lower right corner
lower left

upper left

upper right

I wrote a paper about the history of the New York Beauty style of quilt, which should go live on the Quilt Index site very soon.  I've always been attracted to this particular style of quilt.  I think I might need to make a slightly larger one.

What is your favorite "traditional" pieced quilt style? 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Artists' Garden is going to Houston!

We just received a "fat email" telling our Austin Quilt Bee group that our quilt, Artists' Garden, has been accepted into the World of Beauty exhibition at the Houston Quilt Festival.  We are very excited!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Remember Jay McCarroll, winner of Project Runway Season One?

 Jay, along with Mary Ann Fons, will be doing a program in New York as part of the Alliance For American Quilts' "Quilters Take Manhattan" weekend.  You can be a part of this fun weekend!  Please join us!

Here are some images from Jay's recent show:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Amsterdam Alley: The Shortcut Between

Here is my newest quilt, "Amsterdam Alley:  The Shortcut Between", which will debut in Long Beach at the International Quilt Festival as a curator's piece in our exhibition, "The Space Between".
The central portion of the quilt is a digital photo (Spoonflower) transferred to cloth.  I must have resorted the components of this quilt 2 dozen times, but I am satisfied with the results.  Loads of Aurifil and Superior Threads were used on this quilt.  A spool of Superior Monopoly thread has 2400 yards and I went through 1.5 spools!  I use it exclusively in the bobbin, but this quilt has quite a bit on the top, as well.
I'm still stitching the facing down and have to put the sleeve on the back, a terrible confession about just how late I am in getting this baby finished, but that is the way of it this year.
I'm getting very excited to hang the show in Long Beach, along with Jamie Fingal and our team of Dinner@8 volunteers.
We still have some slots available in our two classes in Long Beach.  Please consider joining us if you are planning to attend the quilt show.  Although pre-enrollment is closed, sign-up is available at the show!
48" by 36"

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Rio Grande Gorge Expansion Bridge

Just northwest of Taos NM is the Rio Grande Gorge, where the 2nd longest expansion bridge crosses over the river 650 feet below.  In addition to driving over the bridge there are sidewalks on either side, so it is possible to park and walk the length of the bridge in both directions.  The wind is powerful as is courses through the gorge.  The bridge vibrates as vehicles cross.  I loved it, of course.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Garden Bird Bath Upgrade

My bird bath had been accidentally knocked over by my yard mowers and the bowl broke off the base.  I have been looking around for a replacement with some level of urgency because the heat is making access to a clean water source critical for the birds.  I was fortunate to arrive at the Wild Birds Unlimited store just as he was taking delivery of several new bird baths and I grabbed this one.  I'm so happy with it:  it has a deeper bowl for water, it is VERY heavy, and it integrates well into my garden environment.  I think it is beautiful.

Open For Business!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Images from Taos

We drove to Taos and spent a very short amount of time in the city.  Mostly, we explored the landscape and stopped to investigate some oddities.  More on that later.  Here are a few images from Taos:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Abiquiu (Georgia O'Keefe's home and studio

Georgia O'Keefe

I just returned from a long weekend in Santa Fe with my two closest friends from Kansas.  The forest fires in the area prevented us from exploring a couple of areas we had hoped to see but there is so much to do in the area we were not at a loss for activities.  The fires were in full force, so we were exposed to a great deal of smoke when we drove north of Santa Fe.
Our first evening was spent at the wonderful Ten Thousand Waves Japanese Spa.  I had been to this place many times because my sister lived in the area for a number of years, but I hadn't been here since the mid-90s so much had changed.  This is a fantastic place to spend time and I recommend it if you are ever in the area.  Their hours are not as late as they used to be.  The best thing ever is to get an open air jacuzzi or soaking tub after dark.  The stars are amazing.
The next morning we set off for Abiquiu, one of Georgia O'Keefe's residences and studios.  Her other residence, Ghost Ranch, is not open to the public.  I was so excited about the opportunity to see this place! We were not allowed to take photos during the tour, but we explored the surrounding area later and took a zillion photos.  One can understand what captivated Ms. O'Keefe about the area:  beautiful sky, amazing rock formations which cast equally stunning shadows, the colorful strata of the earth and rock.  It was an exquisite moment that I will cherish.
The living room in her Abiquiu home (photo file)

In addition to collecting bones she found on her land, she collected a large number of rocks.
Her many rocks are seen throughout her house and on the property.

This was O'Keefe's favorite vista

the same rock formation as the painting, seen from a different perspective.

A YouTube video of Ms. O'Keefe discussing her love of New Mexico is worth viewing.  I love what she had to say about collecting and painting bones.  I have the same affinity for them.  
Georgia's painting of her door at the Abiquiu home.  Many wonder why she calls it a door when it looks like a window.  The lower portion of the painting under the square black door is the cast shadow at the edge of the building and her step stone walkway.  I stood in that doorway during the tour to get out of the sun.