Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Reveal-My Patt Blair Class Project Including Grip & Stitch™ for Free Motion Quilting Giveaway

I could not help but hold my piece for this post because I also wanted to share with you a new tool I've learned about that I really like... the Grip & Stitch™ Quilting Disks for Free Motion Quilting.  I knew Free Motion Quilting would come into play while taking my class at Alisomar so it was the first opportunity I had to give them a test drive.  The ole two birds with one stone trick :)  On with the post.....

You may recall this post, when I shared my project inspiration....

I immediately fell in love with Corina's art and wrote to ask her permission to use her piece for my class.  Much to my delight she granted me permission and included words of encouragement as I embarked on my first art project.  Keep in mind I had great trepidation and came close to backing out of the class because I can only draw stick figures and have no other art training since kindergarten. 

With the assistance of a great teacher, Patt Blair, this is what my piece looks like......

For my very first time, I think it looks pretty good.  Thankfully Patt was there to keep encouraging me...Thank You Patt!  The dribbles next to my piece were stains on the mat board my piece was pinned to...not on my design.  (I didn't scribble....just needed to clarify...giggles.)

While on the subject of artists, all of their work, including what you see here on my blog is copy written and you can not copy it...that includes using your snipping tool...without Corina or Patt's permission.  It is so very important to get permission before use.

 I was contacted by Ellen Holder from Clever Craft Tools and she asked if I would be willing to review the Grip & Stitch™ Free Motion Quilting Disks.  I agreed and asked if she would also include a  set to be given away on my blog....I'm so tickled she said yes.  Those of you who follow my blog will have extra opportunities to win a set of the Grip &Stitch™ Free Motion Quilting Disks so keep reading :)
I was practicing on a scrap, shown above, that I used for ink blotting before I went to quilting on my elephant.  I used the Grip & Stitch™  was surprised that using the disks were so much easier on my hands and wrists.  Typically I grip the fabric with my hands and they will cramp and my wrists get a bit sore.  I know many people use their hands flat, but I'm not comfortable unless I can hold on to the fabric.  The disks do the "holding" so my hands don't have to.
As you can see here,  I'm holding the disks and keeping the fabric taunt so there are no ripples.  Since I'm not hanging on to the fabric my hands are much more relaxed and my wrists are straight, not bent.  Sometimes it takes encouragement to try something new and teach this gal a new trick!

I don't know about you but I can get a bit tense when "trying" to do a good job when Free Motion quilting.  My shoulders can get tight too.  With the Grip & Stitch Disks I was not pulling or pushing the fabric through because the Disks were holding the fabric for me and I could glide the fabric instead of pushing and pulling.  It was an overall very positive experience and I would highly recommend you give them a try if you have not already tired them.
I hope you take the time to look at this you tube video showing how the Grip & Stitch Disks are used.  I didn't have a video camera with me so I could show you myself.  You'll get the idea.

One very lucky IHAN® blog reader will have the opportunity to win a set of the Grip & Stitch™ Disks compliments of   Ellen at Clever Craft Tools.   All of the details are below in the Rafflecopter widget.  Best of luck to everyone!!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Patt Blair's Students at Alisomar (Empty Spools Seminars)

All the while we are using our inks to create, this is the landscape at Asilomar....a slice of heaven for sure.

Patt Blair, our instructor,  said if you can trace and see, you can create something beautiful and I had to take that leap of faith because I didn't share those thoughts before this class.  I thought you had to be an artist with the ability to draw to create art....guess I was wrong!!!  Using Patt's E-Z Drawing Method we were all able to trace and ink our way to our own art quilts....

In many cases, textures were added using rubbing plates.  This gentleman's shirt is an example of a rubbing plate used behind the fabric to create the design. 

These are some samples from the students work in Patt's class.  None of them are mine, I'm saving that for the next post....yes I'm very naughty!!!

Grins and Smiles,

Monday, March 17, 2014

Patt Blair at Alisomar

I believe I mentioned previously that my class here at Alisomar is with Patt Blair, textile artist, quilter and teacher.....and really fun and joyful person!

Patt is an artist who has many years experience painting beautiful pieces of art.  She also  has a gentle way of inviting those with no experience (NONE) to enjoy becoming familiar with textile painting in a safe and encouraging environment.
While enjoying these photographs, keep in mind these are Patt's original designs and therefore carry a copyright!  You may not copy any of them without her permission.
Now that I have you captivated with Patt's wonderful artistic tallent...I bet you want to know how she creates these beauties right?

Tsukineko Ink!!!  Yes, all of these were created with ink and not paint.  Amazing ay?

Several students have chosen Patt's lion pattern to do while many others have brought their own photos or art to re-create during this "oh so fun" class.   I've been amazed so many times watching what can be done with  Tsukineko Ink.
 That eye was not drawn on the was put there with ink.  I looked a little funny while my mouth draped open as I watched Patt create this eye.  The real "wow" factor is then watching my classmates do the same thing...can you believe it?  Patt's knowledge, teaching style and fun gentle spirit provides a bridge for others to join her in the pleasure of creating beautiful works of art.

Sorry I have to stop this post here...I've had no coffee and I'm hungry this morning.  I'll post about my work and I've also gotten the permission of other students to post some of theirs as well.  If you are requiring a bib so as not to drool on your clean've been forewarned...go grab your bibs!  Giggles :)

Joyful Smiles,
PS...Happy St. Patrick's Day and a special shout out to my lovely girlfriend, Micki (Irish Muses) who lives in Ireland!  Big St. Patrick's Day to you Micki!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Trip to Alisomar

Southern California is so beautiful.  I narrowly escaped the snow storm and arrived in San Diego Wednesday afternoon.   Thursday morning my girlfriend and I started our trip north to Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove California.  The photos I'm posting are of the scenery along the way. 
Mountains!!!  Something the area of Ohio I live in doesn't have.
We stayed the night in Morro Bay last night in a lovely hotel directly across the street from the Cotton Ball Quilt Shop but we arrived after it had closed and left before it opened.
Wildlife...up close and personal....

....otters playing in the fun to watch.
 friendly squirrels....a gaggle of them....(is there a word for a group of squirrel Gene?)
 Elephant seals deliver their pups on these beaches....between Morro Bay and Pacific Grove.
A real treat for the eyes of a winter toasted Ohioan for sure.

Amazing views all along Route 1 going up the coast.
A rare site on the beach....that winter toasted Ohioan...yep...I went for a brisk walk on the beach after unpacking here at Asilomar.  All I can say is I'm so incredibally happy to be here and I'm tail wagging excited about my class tomorrow :)

Thanks for sharing the road with me today!

Big Warm Smiles,

Friday, March 7, 2014

International Quilter Weekend

Did you know you only have one week before International Quilter Weekend Begins?  Do you have any big plans? 
Graphic from Stamping Julie...CLICK HERE to visit and download this page for yourself

I made BIG PLANS several months ago and I'm so excited my toes are even tickled!  I'm headed to an Empty Spools Seminar at the Asilomar Conference Center in California....yep, leaving the snow behind for awhile!  

I'm going with a dear friend and I'll be celebrating my 50th birthday while I'm there.  This trip has been in the works for months and it is intended to nourish my creative soul.  I have never taken a 5 day quilting class and I'm really venturing into scary territory....I'm taking an art quilting class with Patt Blair, Textile Artist and Quilter.  I'm going to learn how to take a photo and turn it into an amazing art quilt.  I love art quilts and have several of Susan Brubaker Knapp's pieces. 
This is Vanity, a Susan Brubaker Knapp work of art that I own and absolutely love.  You've probably seen it on the cover of Quilting Arts Magazine a few years back.  I have dreamed of taking a class with Susan but my schedule and her's has not worked out as of yet so I'm tickled pink to be taking an art class with Patt Blair.  

Fear?  Oh yes...tons of it...and it got so bad I actually e-mailed Patt a few times.  She is so sweet and has answered every question with wonderful detail.  I'm not an artist...and when I say that....I really mean it.  I draw primitive stick figures and houses....never had a class in art in my entire ...almost 50 years!   This is a huge step for me and I have not chosen my photo yet.  A few weeks ago I surfed the internet for all sorts of images that might inspire me and I found this one:
Isn't it absolutely amazing?  I fell in love instantly.  Naturally I can't take her photo and make an art quilt without her written permission...guess what????  I have her permission!!!  She was so kind in granting me permission to use it as an inspiration and I'm really considering using it too....except I'm still scared.  Do you think I can do it?  Make an art quilt that looks something like a real elephant? 

Do you know about the Empty Spools Seminars ?   Just in case this is the first time you are hearing about their seminars I'll give you a quick bit of information.  They have five 5 day seminars and there are 11 teachers and you get to take a 5 day class with one of them.  Click on the link above and check it out for yourself.

So...what do you think?  Do you have any recommendations for me?  Have you taken a class with Patt Blair before and what did you think?  I hear she is a great teacher so that helps me relax somewhat.  I'll be honest with fear is having a piece of cloth that looks like I poured ink or pain on it without any form or reason.  Perhaps I should take a piece and do that when I get there so my fear is cleansed and I can get on with it...


BTW....Have you been voting for ASF Lightware Solutions each day?  CLICK HERE to vote until March 16th.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Packing and Using the RIGHT Tool

 Guest Post by Karin

Hello there peeps!  Karin here....Didja notice I didn't start off with my usual "Hey there y'all....?" That's because I'm not in Texas at the moment.   I'm in Florida, in the camper... hence, this blog post about having just the right tools...WITH YOU.  Ha - that was around the block a little, you still with me?

Kelly is kinda swamped right now, busy doing that chore that all good American citizens do - figuring her taxes.  And if she's anything like us, that's gonna take a while, so she asked if I could pop in and chat with y'all a bit.  She knew I was in the camper, but she's never seen it in person, and she has no idea just how much stuff I can actually cram in here.  Let me just say, it's a whole lotta stuff. Trouble is, it's scattered throughout all the cabinets, all the cubbies, and even in the underbelly.  Not to mention, taking up valuable (and limited!) floorspace:
Here is  a small glimpse for you - note the 6 x 24 ruler and bag of fabric in the chair, the ironing/notions station, the green tote filled with batting and other products, the toolbox of sewing tools next to the box of Kleenex under the TV (beside the all-mighty popcorn popper), the other box of notions on TOP of the green tote box, and finally, the yellow cutting mat, standing upright in front of the cabinet under the TV.  Yes, the cabinet holds mailing supplies, so, really, that's more sewing stuff too.  This is ONLY the back end of the camper!  What's that silver box?  Oh, that's the portable ice maker.  Which I have yet to even turn on, 2 weeks into our little excursion.  That's weight and space I could have used, darn it!
Oops, there I go digressing again.  Back to the importance of having the right tool at the right time. See those colorful strips I've got laid across the ironing station?  My neighbor, long ago, asked me to make her a table topper just like the one I'd already made her, but in different colors.  She wanted lighter, more summery colors.  (yes, she asked me to do it last summer, but life happens, ya know?)  I figured this would be a great time to get it done for her, so I packed up all the fabrics and batting.  Of course, I just grabbed extra batting, 'cuz I might need more for something else, right? I knew we'd be on the road a few days, and when we reached our destination, there were no stores close, so I had to take everything I thought I might need.  Apparently, I didn't think it through, because I didn't bring the pattern.  Arrrgh.  But, hey, I brought the ice maker, and if it ever warms up enough, I just might want ice in my's really not likely.

Generally, when I buy fabric for an intended purpose (as was this fabric purchase), I stash the pattern in the bag with the fabric, along with any necessary notions or trims.  Then, when I'm ready to start the project, everything is right there at my fingertips and I don't have to waste time hunting things down.  Generally.  Apparently, NOT this time.  No pattern in sight, and I couldn't remember stashing it anywhere inside the camper by itself.  No sweat, I have a friend in Canada, who originally taught me how to do this, and she'll have access to HER pattern and she can remind me what I need to do.   Oh yeah baby, it pays to have friends!  She got right back to me that night, with some pictures and sketchy instructions.

I could figure that out, knowing my strips needed to be 1.5" wide, and width of fabric.  And I'd brought the can of starch - I did remember how important starching the fabric was (should you try to do this on your own, let me just say you want that fabric to be as stiff as cardboard, if at all possible.).

But I needed to know the size of those triangles, or it would come out all wonky.  Wonky's just not my cup of tea, and math is just beyond me, so once again, my friend came through for me:
Cool beans.  I got my strips cut and I got my strips sewn together.  
They don't look too bad - that little wrinkle is simply from being folded, it's not a distortion in my sewing or anything.  So it's time to grab my rulers and cut those puppies up!  Wait...where's my ruler? You know, my special Creative Grids 12.5 Square ruler that I bought just for this project and has the tape markings on it already and I've never used for any other project.  (That's a big deal because, living in a camper for so long, I got used to items serving multiple purposes, and that ruler has only been used ONE TIME, for ONE PROJECT, and it's kind of a sore subject with my tightwad frugal self.)

I started looking high and low, in and out.  One whole wardrobe drawer is crammed full of sewing stuff - stabilizer rolls, stabilizer and topping BOLTS (yes, bolts of it!), more thread (not counting the THREE cases of thread stashed under the sofa - oh, wait, there's another place my ruler might be!'s not), 2 quilt tops in differing stages of "put together," a plastic bulk-salad greens box full of cut-up squares for one of those quilts, 2 bolts of FABRIC for said quilts, and my other 6 x 24 inch ruler (2, because just 1 wouldn't be enough).  Now, if you're getting the idea that maybe I packed more sewing stuff than I did clothing, don't get me wrong...I did not.  My closet is crammed full of just about every stitch of clothing I own - we were going to be gone about a month, maybe two, and I didn't want to waste valuable time doing laundry. 

Hmmm..closet, maybe the ruler's in the closet?'s not there, either.  Under the sofa, in the cubby under the TV, where I stashed the mailing supplies, in the wardrobe, in the closet, in the ironing station, in the green tote, I looked everywhere.  Even in the under carriage, where I knew for a fact it wasn't.  Arrgh...did I mention that we were out on a little peninsula and everything is at least a 5 mile trek back to a main road?  In a diesel truck, at 10 miles to a gallon, at $4 a gallon.  So, just to get to a shopping center (that contains only a small grocery, a dollar store, a beauty salon and 2 restaurants), and back to camp, it would cost $4.  Needless to say, my cheapskate self was not about to just hop in the truck and go searching out a bigger store (such as a quilt shop or Walmart), so my strata got put on hold.  Surely, in all that other stuff, I could find something else to make.  Or maybe, just maybe, I could come up with something else I could use instead of a square ruler.  I considered using my 6 x 24 ruler, but, well, there's math involved, and I just couldn't figure out where my marks were going to be.  And, since I was planning to use a rotary cutter, paper templates were out, as was cardboard.  I'd considered cutting up a cereal box, but then there was that math again, and I had bought (and brought) only just enough fabric to do this topper, so I couldn't afford any cutting mistakes.  I considered getting a couple of pieces of plexiglass cut to measure, but then I figured if I was going to search out someone to cut plexiglass, I might as well just go on to the big-box store and see if they had a ruler like I needed.  I mulled it over for the rest of the day.  The next day, when one of the campers asked me to make a bib for a new baby boy, out of fabric I didn't have on hand, I decided to go ahead and venture out after all.  I found a quilt shop about 13 miles away, and luckily enough, they had both fabric and a Creative Grids 12.5 inch square ruler.   And here is how the table topper turned out:

It's not yet quilted, but I'll wait till we get home to do that, so I can drop my machine into its cabinet.  In the camper, I have the machine sitting on the dining table, so the bed is pretty high and the fabric is not supported or anything, so it pulls and is really hard to keep a straight-line stitch going straight.

So now I've got the table topper done, I've moved on to other sewing projects.  Yesterday, I made an Easter outfit for my youngest granddaughter...I still have the same outfit to make for the older, bigger one.  And two bow-tie/suspender sets, because we can't leave out the grandsons, can we?  Of course not.  And if there's any fabric left over, what little girl wouldn't like a place to keep her hankies or stash a couple of chocolate eggs?  So a purse or two is definitely in order.  Then there's the matter of those 2 quilt tops.  Oh, Lordy, I'm getting tired just thinking about it all.  Maybe I'll just walk the dog then take a nap.  After all, searching for rulers can be exhausting work.  You'd think I'd have just remembered to bring it along in the first place.  Well, ta-ta for now!  Thanks for paying your taxes, Kelly, and doing your part to keep this country afloat!

Kelly it me or did everyone else notice Karin has a lot of words and energy?  LOL...I just adore her and wouldn't mind having some of her energy :)

Taxing Smiles,

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pure of Heart

A child here in Toledo with a pure heart....proof it only takes one person and one deed to turn something into everything.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Wouldn't It Be Wonderful.....

and it can be WONDERFUL with your help.... if AFS Lightware Solutions....AKA one of my FAVORITE notions the Beam N Read Light were to

receive $5,000.00 worth of marketing from Intuit Quick Books to help their small family business grow.  Small businesses thrive on those who know their products and who believe in them as people.  I believe in Bob Friedman, the son of the inventor of the Beam N Read Light.  Why do I believe in him?  I believe in Bob because he has remained loyal, very loyal to those who use and purchase his family's Beam N Read LightsAFS Lightware Solutions is really Bob's parents and Bob....yep...just like IHAN®.   Not only is Bob loyal, he is assessable and available to receive feedback.  There is no recording that says "press this if you want that"......I just get a, hello.  That's what is the beauty of small family businesses.  It's Bob's mother who calls me to verify my order.  Just like old times...wonderful times when business was about people serving people. 

AND did I mention....their Beam N Read Lights were a huge surprise to me because when I first saw one I gave it no attention.  I thought, another gizmo light...ok.  I was wrong...and much to my surprise it is one of my very favorite must have notions. 

I am personally asking and encouraging  each and every person who reads this post to VOTE for AFS Lightware Solutions by clicking HERE each and every day.   I have my fingers and toes crossed that you will share this with everyone you know....friends, family, groups....set the social media networks ablaze with requests for people to go and vote each and every day so that one of our small family businesses will has the opportunity to have a better platform from which they share their mission and their amazing Beam N Read Lights.

If I had been invited to the Oscars last evening....Ellen called but I was at my sisters house and couldn't make the last minute flight to be her assistant (it's always something...eyes rolling with laughter) I would have worn my Beam N Read and every last one of those "beautiful people" would have been jealous of my fashion accessory....the twitisphere would have included selfies with bright lights shining from their chests....ahhhhh all in my favorite dreams anyway :)

I'm running late for an appointment so I've got to stop typing...but before I do...I just want to say that Bob forwarded me the link so I could enter IHAN® for this opportunity, not so I would or could vote for them or share about their entering...he was wanting to support me/ IHAN®  Another feather in his/their cap!

I've only had a few minutes to write this post...if there are errors...refer to my disclaimer below.

Bright Beaming Smiles,

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