Sunday, March 31, 2019

End of March Round-Up

Dang! Where in the world did this month go?! We bemoaned the length of our short month (February) and now here we had 31 days in March and they have flown right by. I'm not sure I understand how that can happen. *scratching my head*

Last night I took to my sewing room to listen to an audio book - Louise Penny's A Fatal Grace - and begin a new embroidery project. For ages, I mean like 15 years or more, I have had a plain white denim jacket that I always believed would look way better with embroidered embellishment.

I have started by using the red pearl cotton floss I bought in Key West, and I (so far) am totally making this up as I go. I have no plan in mind, nor any pattern to reference. I have looked at pictures on Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration. I will be winging it all the way. I hope that as I get more comfortable with some of my stitches, I will be more experimental - maybe even fancy - with my designs and colors. I figure this will be a long-term project, but would be able to wear it even if I decide I still want to add more to it later.

Truly, I am going to have fun with this project. It is a perfectly wearable jacket that has been hanging in the closet all these years! So what's to lose? I wasn't wearing it, and with the fun embroidery on it, I think I will want to wear it. That's the plan, anyway.

Thus far, I have outlined the collar and the pocket flaps. Two little flowers are on each corner of the collar. What next? Change colors? Try out some different stitches? I will keep you updated as I progress.

So let's look at the March collage. This is the first one I can recall making that doesn't have a single person pictured. I hope that is not significant of anything, but it does seem odd that I'm featuring places and projects in this collage.

Top Row: My little poison green and navy churn dash table topper, the poison green checkerboard, and margaritas on our first night in Key West; Middle Row: the pool/deck area of our KW hotel, crocuses in our yard; March blocks for the Quilter's Planner quiltalong; Bottom Row: my finished embroidery project which was a birthday gift from dear friend Sharon, daffodils in our woods, and a totally improv embroidery project, the white denim jacket.

I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts and her Slow Sunday Stitching. I tell you, I love slow stitching with an audiobook playing; it makes me feel doubly productive! My usual slow stitching is that Lake Effect EPP, but I have favored working on these embroidery projects lately. I promise I am NOT forgetting about Lake Effect! *grin*

Have a great week everyone!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Vacation Mode


I have been so busy since getting home from vacation! My satisfactory blogging record from the beginning of the month has become non-existent here at month's end.

Hubs and I took off on Sunday the 17th for Key West, Florida. We booked a nice single room on Simonton Street and had close walking proximity to nearly all the local hotspots that KW has to offer. It was a wonderful week which ended much too quickly. I will share some vacation pics and memories in an upcoming post.

Today, let me just mention that I sought out local quilt shops with success! The Island Needler is a yarn and embroidery shop on Fleming Street. I found some floss needing to come home with me. The Seam Shoppe is a quilt and yarn shop on Truman Street, and of course, a few fat quarters were purchased.

There's my haul. I have 8 FQs there; 4 dark prints and a light print (4 of them) that will be the background of whatever I decide to make. I actually do have an idea, so this might happen sooner than my normal rate of starting things. The floss looks like basic crayon colors, and I think I can find a use for them.

I hope life settles down here in the coming week. We are about to end March and move on to the glories of April!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Cultural Experience - Paris Exhibit - Part 2

The first post in this 3-part series dealt with paintings of streetscapes, cityscapes and landscapes. People will be the subject matter in this second part. I am still sharing just paintings; the final part of my little foray into artistic analysis will include sculpture, jewelry, clothing, pottery furniture and a variety of miscellany.

I will repeat here what I said in part 1: If you are here to see quilting pictures and read quilt-talk, I will not be covering anything of the sort in this post. I'm offering up some bona fide culture today. (You can bail now, if you like.)

Detail from Intimacy or Mender at the Window (1903) ~ Maurice Denis (1870-1943)  The artist "captures a moment of quiet happiness;" his wife sews while his two daughters play dominos and through the window a servant works in the garden.

A Tear for a Drop of Water (1903) by Luc-Olivier Merson (1846-1920) In this oil on canvas, the painter depicts a key episode from Victor Hugo's Notre-Dame de Paris. Quasimodo is in the pillory before a raucous crowd when the gypsy Esmeralda takes pity on him and offers him some water.

The Seller of Songs (1903) by Victor Gilbert (1847-1935) No narrative for this was offered, but I was struck by the wonderful play of light on the subjects and the joy on the faces.

Portrait of Andre Rivoire (1901) by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) While Toulouse-Lautrec is well known for his depictions of bohemian nightlife, he was also an accomplished portraitist. He was a good friend of poet and playwright Andre Rivoire.

Portrait of Auguste Rodin (1881) ~ by Francois Flameng (1856-1923).

Ophelia (1894) by Paul Steck (1866-1924) I was immediately struck by the sorrow evoked in this painting; then I recognized it as the drowning of Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet. The accompanying detail explains that Steck "depicts the scene in art nouveau style. Rather than focusing on the horror of her death, he lingers on the young woman's serpentine shape, which echoes the vegetation surrounding her."

On the Boulevards (circa 1895) (top) and At the Champs-Elysees (1894) both by Louis Abel-Truchet (1857-1918) ~ From the details for the top painting: "...two Parisian women strolling one of the Grands Boulevards, favorite destinations for nineteenth-century residents and visitors wishing to take promenades or seek entertainment. The women hardly seem to notice the gloomy winter weather as they walk and talk, carefully lifting their skirts to keep them from getting soiled by the street - a skill that supposedly only Parisian women could master to perfection."

Details from the description for the second painting explain that Abel-Truchet was a master of the urban landscape. Here he depicts much in a single painting - a child in the foreground with three women watching him; a girl behind them running after a hoop; then behind her a row of trees that nearly obscures the famous Avenue des Champs-Elysees that gives the painting its title. (Click on the picture to enlarge for a closer look.)

Linen Sale (1898) by Henry Thiriet (1873-1946) ~ This is a color lithograph poster with a subject matter that, as a quilter, I find interesting.

Alphonsine's "Charlotte" (1905) by Leon-Francois Comerre (1850-1916) ~ Alphonsine was a well-established milliner who commissioned Comerre to paint this for the purpose of promoting her newest hat called the "Charlotte." The model in the painting is the artist's 15-year-old daughter.

After the Races at Auteuil (1893) by Alfred Smith (1854-1936) ~ From the description "Horse races were among the Parisian elite's favorite pastimes, providing opportunities for wealthy ladies to don their finest brightly colored summer clothes, which stood out against the darker shades worn by the men."

Portrait of Madame Rene Prejelan (1903) by Antonio de La Gandara (1861-1917) ~ The subject of this painting is the wife of painter and illustrator Rene Prejelan. The artist "focuses on her large feathered hat, a fashionable accessory around 1900. The revealing neckline of her long ball gown shows off the curve of her shoulders, and her S-shaped silhouette exemplifies the style of the period - a corset attenuates her waist, rounds her hips and emphasizes her bust."

Whew! One more installment of this little (?) exhibit. I got tired while putting this post together; I hope you haven't grown tired as well!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Lake Effect Report

Happy St. Patrick' Day! I won't be doing any celebrating of the Irish this year, but I can share with you what I was doing one year ago! It was a fun, memorable day, for sure! Go have a look here!

It  has been some weeks since I last reported any progress on my EPP project, Lake Effect. The pattern is by Minick and Simpson, and I have been working on it for about a year and a half. Mostly I stitch on the Friday's when the Frankfort Girls meet, but I try to work on it at other times, too, especially while watching television. Here's a link that shows the quilt and refers to the next step - applique.

Individual hexies have been stitched together, and I am getting close to the point at which I could make this start looking like a quilt. I will soon cut the white (or off-white) strips for the appliqued panels, and will then need to do the applique - still a giant question mark as to my method for that.

In the foreground of this picture, you can see the stack of 6-unit hexies that I am using to build the various sections. I still have a good bit of work ahead of me, to be sure.

Seeing all these parts gives me hope that my quilt will come together much sooner than the 10 years I originally predicted. *grin*

I have linked up to Kathy's Quilts and her Slow Sunday Stitching blog party. Go take a peek at some awesome handwork!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Giving Back

Often here I have spoken of the wonderful quilting friends I am lucky to have in my life. One of them, Sheryll, has been trying to pare down the fabric stash that she acquired from her elderly mother. One way Sheryll thought of to do this was to make pillowcases for charity. Much of the fabric is dated and out of style for what Sheryll typically likes to work with, so she knew she would not be using the fabric for quilts, yet she had to do something to use this yardage.

Enter the Frankfort Girls! When we last met at Sheryll's house, we saw the giant stack of prepped pillowcases - WHOA! She had been busy! There was easily 50 in the stack. So each of us grabbed a few to help her out. If each of us made some, the job would be finished lickity-split.

Many hands, quick work, as the old adage goes.

I finished mine this week, and I thought you'd like to see. From the stack of fabrics to the finished product, here is a picture-story.

I took the stack of greens. Sheryll had prepared each pillowcase with the cuff fabric folded inside the body fabric. This is the makings of 9 pillowcases.

I watched the Jenny Doan video from Missouri Star Quilt Company on how to make a pillowcase. I've done it before, but I needed to refresh my memory. The video helped and it is a super-simple method. I went to work in assembly line fashion.

Five of the nine ready for stitching.

 All 9 sewn and ready to be turned inside-out.

When I sewed the sides, I pinned to match seams, and worked through them all by chain-piecing.

I could have cut them apart, but I wanted to see what 9 pillowcases would look like smooshed up behind my machine. It was quite a pile!

After I sewed the sides, I trimmed the seams a tad, and then I zigzagged the seams to finish them. After a thorough pressing, they looked pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

Next time I see Sheryll, I can hand these off to her. She told us the charity she would be donating these to, but I forget what it is. I know some of the other girls already had theirs done, and I don't know how many more are left to do. I would love to know the total when all is said and done. I think Sheryll's mom would be quite proud of how her fabric is being put to good use.

Have you sewn or quilted for charity? As a part of the Frankfort Girls, I have done a few. We each made quilt tops that we donated to the James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State. Then, we made three patriotic quilts for a local family who lost a loved one in Afghanistan. Now we can add these pillowcases to our list of efforts toward giving to others.

Hope you are having a great Saturday! We are leaving in the morning for a week in Florida! I need to finish packing!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Cultural Experience - Paris Exhibit - Part 1

If you are here to see quilting pictures and read quilt-talk, I will not be covering anything of the sort today. I'm offering up some bona fide culture today. (You can bail out now, if you like.)

About two weeks ago, I joined the ladies in our book club for an outing to the Cincinnati Art Museum as a special exhibit called "Paris 1900" opened. It is a magnificent show, and I definitely would go again. The pieces selected for this exhibit include some of the most famous artists of the day as well as depictions of various aspects of Parisian life at or near the turn of the 20th century.

I took some photos of particular pieces that caught my eye, and have whittled the number down to share here. I will add details when I know them. Some of my pictures are less than stellar, but you will get a thorough flavor of the show. Let me add that the exhibit is huge, so my few pictures here leave many fantastic pieces out. Some were hard to capture on camera because of lighting or crowds or reflections. I know there were several I wanted to photograph, but I just could not get a proper picture that did justice to the piece.

Because I took so many pictures, my plan is to divide the material into parts. Today's part consists of paintings of both cityscapes and landscapes. Occasionally people appear, but largely, the focus is on the location. I suspect that clicking on the pictures will help to get a clearer, closer look at the details in each piece.

An Evening at Le Pre' Catelan (1909) by Henri Gervex (1852-1929) ~ This was the first picture I saw as I entered the exhibit. It is massive in size, and the way the painter created the shimmering lights of the famous restaurant is, as the description says, "particularly seductive." When standing close to it, I was able to study the striking beauty of the street and building, the stunning dresses, hairstyles, flowers, decorations - all in all it is quite sumptuous.

The Pont Royal and the Pavillon de Flore (1903) by Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) ~ Impressionist paintings like this are what I think of when I think of French artists. This was done in the last year of Pissarro's life. The description points out the "focus on the effects of light and water."

Fine Weather at Pern (Ushant Island) (1901) by Henry Moret (1856-1013) ~ Again, I was taken with how the artist depicts light; the description focused on how the artist painted alongside Paul Gauguin and other young artists in Brittany/Pont Aven.

Fall in Honfleur (1906) by Othon Friesz (1879-1949) ~ This painting shows the ever more radical use of color and abstraction by young artists. Apparently there was a break from the traditionalists who were "offended by the lively palettes and free brushwork" of artists such as Matisse and Derain. Critics called these artists "les fauves (the wild beasts)."

The Promenade (1897) by Henri-Edmond Cross (1856-1910) ~ Nothing was noted on the description other than this is a color lithograph. I was captivated by the manipulation of brushstrokes and how they were applied to create the various elements in the painting. I suppose 'promenade' could refer to the boats, the trees, or the women - or perhaps all three.

The Statue of Liberty by Bartholdi in the Workshop of the Gaget Foundry, Rue de Chazelles (1884) by Victor Dargaud (1850-1921) ~ I was fascinated by this painting when I recognized the subject and then when I read the description, I was further intrigued. Here are some highlights "...the foundry rented a large plot of land near its Parisian workshop to assemble this extraordinary statue, mounting thousands of copper sheets to a metal armature designed by Gustave Eiffel...When the Statue of Liberty was completed, throngs of people came to see it before it was disassembled and shipped to New York." The people pictured in the foreground are all gazing up at the imposing statue.

The Grande Palais and the Petit Palais Under Construction (1899) by Georges Souillet (1861-1957) ~ The two buildings under construction here were built for the International  Exposition of 1900. This painting depicts the right bank of the Seine, near the Champs-Elysees and opposite the Esplanade de Invalides. If and when I ever return to Paris, I will be sure to observe this spot - hopefully from the location of this view - to see what it looks like today.

Pont Alexandre III (1917) by Auguste Leroux (1871-1954) ~ Since there is so much to note in this piece, I'm just going to share practically the entire description. "The bridge that connected the Petit Palais and the Grand Palais to the Esplanade des Invalides was built for the 1900 International Exposition. It commemorated the recent alliance between France and Russia and was named after Czar Alexander III...With a single steel arch spanning more than 350 feet, the bridge was an extraordinary technological achievement. Its rich sculptural decoration was particularly well received. This view from the right bank shows the two Renommes (allegorical figures of Fame) by the sculptor Emmanuel Fremiet atop the pylons on either side of the bridge. The silhouette of the Eiffel Tower is visible in the background.

La Place Clichy (1896) by Edmond Grandjean (1844-1908) ~ The exhibit was categorized to help viewers understand the significance of both the time period and the individual pieces. This painting appeared in a section devoted to transportation, and with that in mind, onlookers can see all the common methods at the turn of the 20th century. The description explained that the first subway line opened for the International Exposition in July of 1900. This painting "depicts a Parisian woman confidently riding a bicycle through the traffic of pedestrians, carriages and omnibuses."

Nighttime Festivities at the International Exposition of 1889, Under the Eiffel Tower (1889) by George Roux (1855-1929) ~ This description was full of interesting history. "The International Exposition of 1889, planned to mark the hundredth anniversary of the French Revolution, celebrated progress in science and technology. A tower that was nearly one thousand feet tall, built by the architect Gustave Eiffel, was the centerpiece of the Exposition. Here, the painter and illustrator George Roux shows a crowd assembled beneath the tower to view the illuminated fountains along the Champ-de-Mars. The central dome of the Exposition and the roof of the Palais de Machines are clearly visible in the background. Unlike the Eiffel Tower, which would remain in Paris and become its preeminent symbol, the dome and the palace were demolished soon after the Exposition."

Enough for today. In a day or two, I will share paintings in which the subjects are people. After that, I will group all the dimensional art - sculptures, pottery, jewelry, furniture, clothing, and miscellaneous ephemera.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Sharon's Chock Full O' Charms

Back in the middle of February, Sharon came for a long day of sewing. Our time together has taken a backseat to other priorities in our lives right now, so the occasions when we can schedule some sewing time are special ones!

We both worked on our Chock Full O' Charms quilts in late 2018. I finished my quilt top at our Veterans' Day sewing, while Sharon still had some work left to do on hers. The link shows where we both were back in November. Below, she is reviewing her pattern to see where to mark and cut the parts. Look at that concentration!! *smile*

And all that concentration paid off, because take a look at what she was able to accomplish!

The fabric she used is 3 Sisters/Moda Luna Notte; it has always been a favorite of Sharon's, and this looks spectacular. She brought two choices for borders. Take a look.

Either option would have been wonderful, but she chose to go with the blue paisley. This look was softer and more subtle. It lent a gentle, cottage-y look to the whole quilt and was exceedingly romantic. I hope I can get a full-size picture of the finish to share with you. I am sure it will be spectacular.

I have said, I think, that both Sharon and I are all about fast, easy quilts this year. We have such massive-sized stashes that we simply must work more quickly to whittle away at them. We are good at encouraging each other, so we should have some success at our goals.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Clean-ish Space

When the year began, one of my main goals was to clean, purge and organize in my sewing room. That's a big order, for I am known to work amongst the clutter and piles and messes. Tidiness is not my forte, in other words.

The picture above is a typical look. This hinders productivity, doggone it. I know this, and since the key part of that is "productivity," the need for some serious clutter-busting has been necessary.

The best cure for a messy space is to have company, and last month Sharon came for a day of sewing. She told me beforehand what she wanted to work on, and I knew she needed table space. So take a look at this!

That clean table was the result of a lot of hard work, and already I have it somewhat cluttered up again. (But not so bad that a few focused minutes couldn't take care of the existing stuff.) A table as clean as the one above simply screams of project creating! A mental weight is lifted when a space is tidy and organized. I would do well to remember this.

The space does show areas that still need to be addressed; I have marked them with arrows. The first arrow points to a stack of empty tubs, baskets and boxes that have been freed up in recent weeks. I need to find a place to store these for future use.

Number 2 arrow is the top of a dresser where many pre-cuts are stacked up. I need to put these in a drawer of the dresser, or use one of those empty tubs. Whichever route I go, the space needs tidying and it would be an easy, fast fix.

Number 3 arrow will be an involved endeavor - a pile of scraps that should be sorted, pressed and cut to a useable size. Of course, 2.5-inch strips or squares is the preferred size, and that will always be my go-to for dealing with scraps. But oh lord, how time-consuming it will be!

Seeing these pics with the clean table make me realize I have never shared the Chock Full O' Charms quilt that Sharon finished when we were last together; perhaps that will be coming up this week. Stay tuned!

Happy Quilting, Friends!