Saturday, May 28, 2011

Foto finish-My Garden

I took this picture this afternoon.  This is My garden but it is in my parent's back yard.  There is not a lot of color at the moment as most of the perennial plants have not yet bloomed.  I say it is My garden because it was reborn during the time I lived with my parents while I was recovering from cancer surgery and going through chemo.  Mom and Dad had wanted to restructure this as it had just been a raised terraced bed in a hill with plants all mixed by size.  So mom dug out all the plants and dad killed all the chickweed that was left.  They asked me what they should do so I drew up a plan.  Sometimes I wonder if this garden was a way to direct our energies in a positive way during a very hard time.

   Anyway my design really looked like the picture above, with the path down the middle.  Because I was going through chemo my sister nurse forbade me from touching dirt and plants.  So I supervised. My parents mixed in compost and turned it over, covered it with landscape fabric and brought in a load of stone and mulch to create little beds to surround the plants with. 
See the stool in the top picture-a large rock on end with a wood top set in on a rod in a concrete base.  Dad made that for me to sit on. 

When recovering from surgery I would make slow walks around the yard and down to the dock.  Mom and Dad's one cat Friski at the time, would walk with me. 

Friski in her favorite position.
We would rest at the stool and Friski would roll around upside down for me to pet her belly.  Then we would continue to the dock where we would sit by the lake and feed the piranhas (voracious sunfish).  I was like clockwork that the fish would feel the vibrations of my feet on the dock and start swimming frantically looking for bread.  Then after a while we would walk up through the middle of the yard resting on the bench by the pond.  Friski and I would look at the gold fish.  It was my secret garden.  I love it and still walk that way when I go to the lake though Friski is gone and now Jazzy-Girl walks with me.  I still always have to sit on my stool. 

See more Foto Finish-Garden pictures here.

Keep dreaming...Colleen
One of three stepping stones I made from left over concrete
 and a bucket when we created the garden.  I painted my name and nails and added colored rocks.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Back to life

Haven't we all felt like this at one time or another?

Kalli in an upside down funk.

I have felt this way for most of May.  Business of a Book Fair, birthday, friends death, Mothers day, swaps, and an ear infection that would not go away.  I never heard of bubbles in the ears.  I think I can finally hear again.  So much to say and I have just not felt like blogging  in the evenings.  But then for a while I just wanted to nap after work. 

The Princessa (aka Jasmine, aka Jazzy-girl) and I hung out on the dock a few times.

And watched the ladybugs crawl.

The columbine in mom's columbine garden were gorgeous

And the other spring flowers have also been glorious.
Hopefully more posts to come soon.

Keep dreaming...Colleen
After almost ten years I finally have a bloom
 on the water lily in my tiny water garden.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bloggers Quilt Festival Entry

It started with the DQS10-Doll Quilt Swap 10.  When I first started my life as a reborn quilter, I quickly found blogs and flickr and started my blog.  After all I learned to quilt in the early 1990's on Quiltnet listserv internet quilt guild emailing and swapping.  As I found new blogs and started swapping I was struggling with finding the quilter in me that had been buried for more than a decade.

My partner in the DQS10 was Leah from England.  She is a mother with two kids who had been quilting for a couple years.  She loves rainbows and wanted something that would offer inspiration to hang in her studio.

I designed this on the computer knowing I wanted to touch on the styles of the past and present including fabrics, colors, and techniques.  I played with modern fabrics that had mushrooms-I don't like them, and my favorite Sherbet Pips.  The paper pieced stars were something I had loved to do in the past with a favorite Hoffman 90s fabric.  The girl was also paperpieced inspired by a block I saw in Leah's flicker account.  I saw the girl as me and Leah both of us searching to express ourselves among the cacophony of the blogging quilt world. 
My design changed as I got feedback from those in the flickr group and now had my quilter in her stylish Sherbet Pips dress and aqua heels climbing a stack of blocks that represented my Amish and traditional past mixed with modern patterns and blocks styles.  I pulled these from pictures on my computer, some I had made for swaps.

I hand drew my girl.  I like showing people form the back as it draws the viewer in to almost imagine they are the one standing there like I did with this 1994 quilt for my Dad.

I decided to do away with the words and put the stars in an arch above the girls head.  The points all use hand dyed fabric I dyed long ago.  I also use hand dyed for her shoes, legs, face, and hair.

I pulled out a gorgeous rainbow fabric I had, again from my 90's stash which looked good against the Kona Ash gray.  I added the pale yellow inner border after some advice from those in the DQS10 flickr group. A hexie with dot fabric, wonky log cabin with bold modern fabrics, a postage stamp block with fabrics from one designers lines, and classic blocks with an Amish and modern twist.  One of the best parts of modern Internet quilting-posting color pictures easily.

When I was ready to quilt I was stuck .  I knew I wanted colorful swirls in pearl cottons and finally decided to mix in machine quilting on the block tower and regular hand quilting of swirls in the gray background.  I also wanted to add beads, as beading was a creative outlet during the time I was not quilting.  Some one at my Saturday Bee suggested matching the color of the bead to the color in the border so they extend the border rather then compete with it.
To read another post about this quilt including a little fairy tale that goes with it check out this post.  I think I was amazed when I was finished with it.  I had put so much of myself in it.  It is the quilt that helped me rediscover parts of my quilting self and also helped me to work out how I fit in the modern quilting world.  It was easy to send it on to its new owner.  For me this quilt was about the process, not the product. 

Use this link to get back the the QuiltBloggers Festival!

Keep dreaming...Colleen

Celebrated my 42nd birthday May 11.
 More on that, swap goodies,  and the continuing ear problem later.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Field Trip to...Spoonflower!

Yes I got to go behind the scenes at Spoonflower!  For those of you who don't know Spoonflower is a fabric printing company.  You can create a design and have it printed on fabric!  I have used to print labels that even had photos on them.  It is also where you can buy fabric others have designed....people you don't know... and people like Heather Ross!  BTW the fabric is printed on huge injet printers you will see in the pictures.

So join me as we take a photo tour with the owner of this wonderfully innovative company.

When you walk in the door...examples of fabric everywhere.

Misters keep the humidity at the right level for fabric printing...machines have names
cutting and order sorting
orders all over the world...packing to ship
printing sits on top of fabric...dark colors may flake a little

keep dreaming...Colleen

A spoonflower fabric sample and pricing booklet.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thimble Pleasures

A long time ago (in the 1990's) I lived in Carboro, NC.  I would walk on Saturday mornings, market basket on my arm to the Farmers Market in downtown.  Then I would stop on my way home at Thimble Pleasures, an awesome shop owned by Julie. I took my first quilt class there and even sold some of my quilted pins.  Then I moved away. :o(
 Fast forward to May 1, 2011 when I am going to attend my first meeting of the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild(TMQG).  Usually TMQG meets at Thimble Pleasures, now located down the road in Chapel Hill, NC.  So I decided to stop and see it before going to the meeting,  I was only there 20 minutes but this is what I saw...

All lines of beautiful fabric and more notions then I have seen anywhere!
I really only had time to take pictures because when I came in I noticed this lovely lady...

Karen who I realized after going back and forth for a few minutes that I knew!  I used to work with her daughters in the local school system.  Small world!

Keep dreaming...Colleen

Next time field trip with the TMQG!