Monday, April 27, 2009


I looked at my blocks again, and I don't like the big one. I love the little pinwheel, but the big one is not pleasing to the eye. I need to make another 14 inch block. Maybe this weekend.
I'll also begin on my sunrise quilt. I picked the fabrics for it, and I'll start putting everything together. Right now, though, household and family obligations call me. *sigh*
Oh--I took a pic of a teeny moth on my window this morning. Just for fun.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

No more rain! No more rain!

Remember those words from Woodstock? (oop I really dated myself right there...) We have had rain 5 out of the last seven days; a lot of it!! It's getting old. The backyard is a lake, and the dogs haven't been out for any length of time for days and days. But--I did get to the workroom for a while today.
I worked on the sunrise quilt for a short time, but I really felt the need for some good old fashioned piecing. I just wanted to get re-acquainted with my sewing machine.
So I worked on an old UFO--the Flower BOM from the Quilts Your Way Forum.
It was started in 2007 and was conceived by one of the members there, Lisa from Texas. She did a great job of finding blocks for us to make--all of them flower-themed. All my blocks were done, but I decided to do a different setting from the one she suggested. I found a nice sampler quilt setting in an old magazine, and worked out a similar one the blocks I had made. But, I needed more of them, so today I made two more, and started another one. That one is paper pieced, and I couldn't finish before it was time for The Amazing Race. I know, lame. But true.
So here they are. They look to be the same size, but the pinwheel is 6", and the other one is 14"!

I also took a pic of this interesting little pile of schnibbles left over from trimming units for another quilt I made last winter. I love the colors. I'm not sure what I will do with them, but I don't want to pitch them just yet.
Maybe I can make even more schnibbles and do an impressionistic quilt a la Noriko Endo.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Rainy Saturday

Perfect for working on a project without feeling guilty about not being in the garden.
This is a picture of a February sunrise in our backyard.
I decided to manipulate it a little with my trial version of Photoshop. Before this, I was a Photoshop virgin, but I must say I'm hooked. I've been trying all sorts of stuff with it. I thought about simplifying it a bit by taking out some of the trees, but I kinda like the chaos of them.

So here's the pic after I played with it and got to where I really liked it. I really just saturated the colors a bit; warmed up the sky and cooled down the snow. Then I printed it on a piece of fabric.

Now comes the really fun part where I get to expand on it. I'll add more fabric, paint some stuff and maybe add some beading or other embellishment to emphasize the contrast between the hot and the cold.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I goofed up...

I had a personal deadline to get some stuff done to be shown at the Art & Soul Gallery for the West Side Art Walk, which happens tonight and tomorrow.
I did not make it. In fact, because of family obligations, I haven't been in my workroom for over a week. It's very upsetting. I feel as though I let myself down, along with my friends at the gallery. I mean, they certainly have a huge array of beautiful art and jewelry and useful things there, so my contributions will likely not be missed, but it was a small goal that I did not reach.
I just need to shake it off and get back to work.
There are, however, two wee art quilts swirling in my head, and I've done some preliminary work. Bluebirds and sunrises. Stay tuned.
Also, I've signed up for a few challenges at various websites and forums, so I need to put on my thinking cap. Or just go for a walk. I get such great ideas....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Online Quilt Festival

Even though I did go to the IQF in Chicago, I'm participating in the Online Quilt Festival on Amy's Park City Girl's blog:
Here is my old Hearts wallhanging, one of my favorites. It was one of the first quilts I made, back in 2004, maybe...
I hand-appliqued the hearts, then did some free-motion quilting with red thread. It was the first free-motion I think I did, and I was hooked from then on.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Split Personality

I've decided to create another blog on which to post all my musings about life and love and family and all things personal. It's called It's me, Toni! , something that I usually say when I call someone on the phone. I'll record any significant (o insignificant) family events, thoughts, happenings, etc. Here is the link:
I will keep my Under The Dining Room Table blog for posting my art works, works in progress, events I attend, exhibits I see...that kind of thing. Artsy things.
So I invite everyone to read and follow both blogs. I'll try to make them both entertaining and interesting.
In my art world, I finally finished my small "Mushrooms" quilt. I added the words "ma istun seene otsas" (I'm sitting on a mushroom) with a stencil I made and some bronze paint. I like it.

I also recently made this tote bag using a pattern from a magazine, and some pre-cut strips of shabby chic fabrics. I was lucky to have just the right piece of ball fringe in my stash for a cute accent. I carried this all thru the IQF, and it served well.
Is it art? No, but it took a little creativity and some workmanship, so there you are.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I Do the IQF

Yesterday was the first time I went to the International Quilt Festival in Chicago, IL. I drove down in the morning, finally found a place to park my car (to the tune of $13!) and went to the show.
The first thing I did was find the "Make It U" and check out the workshops. I was lucky enough to see Ms Pokey Bolton demonstrating some art quilt techniques, so I had my picture taken with her.
I was kind of star struck...
my first quilt-world celebrity!

And no...I usually don't smile in pictures...
I smile with my eyes. ;)

Anyway, then I shopped the show. I picked up some dye kits, some patterns, and a few things from Betty Blais' Embellishment Village. It was a pleasure to meet her, and we chatted a little about the list. It was nice to put a face to a name.
I also met the nicest woman while sitting outside having a little lunch. Her name is Beth, and she was working at her mom's booth, Mary Flanagan's Woolens. They have a huge selection of hand-dyed wools, patterns, kits, etc. I bought a selection of pastel-colored fat-eights. Gorgeous! Here's the website:

I also ran into Terri Kirchner from MArQ working at the BBD Creations booth. It was nice to chat with her, too.
Later in the day, I looked at the SAQA exhibits, and all the other quilts. I was absolutely blown away by the fabulous art. Its really hard to describe the variety and the excellence, and how inspirational they are. They just have to be seen...

Finally, I attended the SAQA/ Wine & Cheese Reception. Two more MArQ artists were there: Casey and Kasia, with whom I had a nice chat. I also participated in the Tiara Parade while wearing my old Esto "muts"--the embroidered hat with ribbons I used to wear while folk dancing. I'll post some pics soon.
I'm already looking forward to next year.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our Dory 1995-2009

Dory, the big dumb chocolate lab that belonged to my MIL, was put down today. I will not pretend that I liked that dog a whole lot, but it was sad, nonetheless. For all her neuroses and bad habits, she was a very sweet dog and was a great friend and companion to my MIL for 12 years before she had to give her up. Once she came to live with us, she was still neurotic and her shedding drove me nuts, but we liked to play out in the yard together, and she always sat outside with me while I worked in the garden.
We had an understanding.
Even though Dory lived most of her life in Morton Grove, IL, she spent a lot of time at our house over the years. Every time my MIL went into the hospital for one reason or another, Dory came to stay with us. She was a spirited, out-of control pistol of a dog for the first few years. She'd annoy and bother us for hours on end, until one of us would take her out to the big field next to our apartment building and throw a stick for her to fetch. Over and over. For an hour. Till she fainted, sometimes. That dog lived to play fetch.

And today, Tom took her out to our yard for one more game of fetch before we drove to the vet. Dory's arthritis was so bad that often she would just sit down before bringing the stick back. She was in such pain all the was hard to see her that way.

Well, I hope she's running and playing freely and pain free in the huge dog park of the Great Beyond. We'll miss her.
These are pics of Dory last autumn in our yard. Georgie will miss her, too.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Need to get my camera back!

Since my last post, I've seen the quilts at the Anderson Art Center in Kenosha, had a couple of doc appointments, gone on a quilt retreat and attended the fun wedding of a woman I've never met.

The quilt exhibit in Kenosha was beautiful. Kay Sorensen's "Colors of My Life" quilts look deceptively simple, yet are really very complex. The color and value placements of the fabrics is brilliant!
My doc appointments were very successful. I've had facet injections in my lumbar spine that have been helpful. It's been such a long time since I've had no pain--I'm not quite sure what to do!
The Reedsburg quilt retreat was great fun. I love getting together with all my quilty friends. Most of them do very traditional quilts, and, frankly, I am getting bored with that. But not with the fellowship we have. We talk and laugh and giggle and stay up late and just relax, all while sewing. What could be better!
I have a group of internet friends with whom I've corresponded for the last 7-8-9? years. One of them lost her husband to cancer a few years ago. However, she was able to get her own life back together, and found love once more. She was married last weekend up in Marinette, WI, and I had to go--even though I had not met her face-to-face. But--when we did meet--it was like we'd been friends forever. It was a fabulous wedding, and a fabulous weekend.
My other friend did take pictures, so she needs to send them to me so I can post them.
Oh--and I need to finish the couples' wedding gift. I just didn't get the chance to finish it before the wedding. I guess it'll be a surprize for them after their honeymoon!

With all of this--I haven't had a minute in my workroom. I worked on a couple of things while at the retreat, but they are traditional projects--a tote bag and a regulr pieced quilt top.
Pictures will be up the moment I get the camera back. I promise.
So--here's a pic of good old Beau--just so there's something to look at!