Saturday, February 17, 2024

February

This month is flying by. I've quilted and finished the Square-in-a-Square 32" x 32" wall quilt from the found 6" foundation-pieced blocks found in my closet. The quilting is in a rosy-colored thread in loopy Es and Ls instead of my usual meander. No progress on the stack of 5" square-in-a-square blocks, but the plan is to sash them in muslin/ecru-colored strips. 

Square-in-a-Square, 32" x 32"

Back and binding is a Jeffrey Gutcheon fabric
Katie Pasquini Masopust's Artful Log Cabin technique is a favorite of mine and I have made several art quilts by her method, the most recent shown here. The inspiration photo is a Mexican market in Austin, Texas, I took several years ago while visiting my brother.
Inspiration photo

Austin Market, 32" x 25"

Austin Market, detail (lemons and limes)

Austin Market, detail

Austin Market, detail
Showing at Pine Belt Quilters meeting with inspiration photo
Enlarge to see grid over the photo
More foundation pieced tiny houses were added to an 8" x 10" quilt for Michele Martin in our Southern Fiber Artist group. Dawn Seymour showed us how to make faux fabric backgrounds using papers  sandwiched between two layers of fusible interfacing. I used torn map pieces for my backgrounds and stitched more flying geese.
Tiny Houses, 8" x 10"

Flying Geese over Lake Michigan, 9" x 11"



Wednesday, January 31, 2024

January and Quilting 101

This month has been filled with so many quilting techniques I learned years ago that it feels like Quilting 101.  For me a new year doesn't necessarily mean resolutions as much as a clearing out and reorganization of my supplies and looking over unfinished projects. I shredded lots of paperwork, thinking "why did I keep this anyway?" I discarded lots of instructions and pieces of projects. But when I came across the box of foundation piecing patterns, fabric strips, and triangles, I remembered how much I loved foundation piecing. So I finished the 16 Square-in-a-Square blocks and assembled them with black sashing. I found a lot of smaller blocks on fabric foundations ready to be sashed and joined. I must have been fascinated with checks, plaids, and stripes when I cut these triangles and squares.

These 6" blocks will finish about 30" square


Detail of some 6" blocks

These are about 5"

I made a bunch of tiny houses and a row of flying geese. Only one row. These are fiddly, but batik fabrics make them possible. 
Tiny houses on an 8" x 10" quilt

Raw flying geese before adding border

With borders
We had several days and nights of below freezing temps, cold enough that my pot plants I had brought into the garage lost their leaves. I'm hoping they will make it. Elizabeth and Rahrah and I hibernated in the warm house. I warmed a blanket in the dryer for Lacey in the garage on the coldest nights. She would often find a patch of sunshine in the yard in the daytime.
Lacey soaking up some sunshine



Monday, January 1, 2024

Goodbye to 2023

 The year has flown by and if I had to reflect and report on the happenings I would be hard-pressed to recall most of them. Some do stand out as special and totally unexpected, like being included in Quiltfolk's Issue #26 featuring Mississippi quilters. Then there was being the FestivalSouth artist and creating my quilt "Prelude" and having a three-week long exhibit of my art at Downey Gallery at University Baptist Church. There were meetings with quilting friends in Pine Belt Quilters, Southern Fiber Artists,  and Mississippi Quilt Association. I attended several enjoyable and enlightening courses at OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and look forward to more in 2024. 

Elizabeth and I in Quiltfolk Magazine #26

Prelude, FestivalSouth featured artwork

I've made quite a few fiber art pieces and participated in SMAA's 47th annual show. Daughter Linda and I are making several child/adult-size quilts from my inventory of fabric. I am diligently cleaning out, donating, using up, discarding lots of art/quilt supplies that have accumulated in my closets and shelves. 
Cheesecloth Man with Pipe (at SMAA 47th art show)

Gruffalo in the Jungle at SMAA art show
There was lots of music at my church, in Meistersingers, and at concerts by USM students and faculty. I had lots of trees cut and trimmed in my yard so my house is more visible and I can enjoy an open view from my front porch. I discovered a new (to me) favorite writer--Ann Patchett--especially her "These Precious Days," "The Dutch House," "The Story of a Happy Marriage," and "Bel Canto." I have two more checked out from the library. 

My cats Elizabeth and Rahrah both had serious illnesses last summer but are doing quite well again after their tenth birthdays. Lacy has become my outdoor cat and has gradually become quite friendly, while understanding the other cats will not allow her inside. 

Lacey, my outdoor cat

Rahrah and Elizabeth prefer dripping water over water bowl
Having achieved my 88th milestone birthday, I'm looking forward to more meaningful times with friends and family in 2024.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Busy December

December is always jam-packed with music, get-togethers, party food, letter/card writing, and gift-giving. Some people add decorating, shopping, and mailing to that list, but there is very little of that here. My quilt-robed Santa and my Boehm porcelain nativity set (which is in a china cabinet all year) are my usual. 




Music (singing or hearing) is usually my favorite part of Christmas. USM's orchestra and community chorus presented a beautiful program at Main Street Baptist Church. My amazingly talented friends Lei and Xin played a program for us at University Baptist Church. We decorate with our blue cut-out banners along with poinsettias and greenery. I picked up the poinsettias from Vesly's nursery--what a sight! Hattiesburg's Historic Neighborhood is beautiful with candles on every street. We enjoyed visiting on Jennifer and John-Mark Brown's porch.

USM Orchestra/Choirs Holiday Spectacular

Zhaolei Xie and Xin Zhang
     
Hanging the banners
All four banners 

Poinsettias at Vesly's Nursery

Candlit Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood

South Mississippi Art Association has its annual show in December and it is fun to show my fiber art and have it accepted as ART along with oil, watercolor, and sculpture. My Cheesecloth Man with Pipe was a hit (and sold), but this kids' art piece, "Gruffalo in the Jungle" (inspired by Ellee Rigney's drawing), drew too many comments on Facebook to count. 

Cheesecloth Man with Pipe

With Gruffalo in the Jungle

Sunflower with 2nd place ribbon
My local quilt guild, Pine Belt Quilters, works throughout the year, and it is rewarding in December to see the joy the quilts bring to the agencies that receive them. We filled several tables with the quilts and stockings, toys, and personal items. 
Rhonda Mowry and Karen Weinberg moving quilts from Choral Hall

Table piled with stockings, toys, personal items

One of the tables of quilts

Agency reps tell us how the quilts are appreciated
 (Akwete Muhammad with Habitat for Humanity speaking)
My sasanqua bush has been blooming the whole month of December. With only a few really cold nights, the begonias left over from summer still look good. I'll leave them as long as they are blooming. The larger pots have been moved into the garage. 
Sasanqua bush in full bloom

Begonias still blooming

Pots moved into garage

I love the pink carpet 



Sunday, December 3, 2023

Introducing Lacey, My Outdoor Cat

Meet Lacey
   I have mentioned several times the orange marmalade-colored stray cat that moved in under my little shop building in June with her four (about) 8-week old kittens. I didn't need another cat but I couldn't let this mama starve. After trapping and getting two kittens to the shelter, I trapped her and got her spayed and released back here. The last two kittens disappeared and mama cat came and went, sometimes disappearing for days before showing back up. She was very vocal but kept her distance. She's beautiful, with splotches of color rather than being tabby-striped.


   I called her Kitty or Mama but thought if she stayed I needed to give her a proper name. Last week when the yard guys were replacing the drainage pipe across the back yard, they discovered a dog tag for Lacey, the German Shepherd who used to live here with her former owner (how long ago before I bought the house in 2004?). So it seemed fitting for this cat to be called Lacey.

   She has gradually learned to trust me, following me to the mailbox or on walks, running to me for food, and finally accepting brief pettings and even jumping up into my lap. I have made a warm place in the garage for her to sleep on cold nights if she chooses. She enjoys watching for birds in the sunshine of the back yard, but is sometimes gone for hours--to her other home? She is my cat but on her terms. She has briefly checked out the house (when I had Elizabeth and Rahrah closed up) and seems to understand that they will not permit her inside.



A neighborhood racoon discovered free food and learned to get into the food supply. Lacey joined in the fun. I have since secured the cat food and bird seed in two Oscar coolers with locking handles.