Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Some new cards

The first card follows a sketch (like a recipe, to be modified by the user) on the Stamping 411 site. Here's the sketch.

And here's my card. I used only Stampin' Up! tools and materials for all three cards shown here. For this card, i pretty much used the suggested layout, although the center is cut out with the new Bigz Lattice die in the Big Shot, layered over a piece of Bashful Blue cardstock that i ran through texturz plates on the Big Shot. The lattice, background, and belly band are all from the Tea Party Designer Series Papers. At the center is a square icy blue rhinestone brad. This is a get well card for my friend Violet, who tripped on her front steps and fractured her foot in two places this weekend!

Next i needed to make a congratulations card for my friend Janet, who is retiring on Friday. I had so much fun using the Bigz Lattice die for the previous card, i used it on this card as well, cutting the center from a piece of lilac Designer Series Paper. Different patterns of the same paper form the background and the oval that the sentiment is printed on. The sentiment is mounted on a scalloped oval of the same Tea Party Designer Series Paper as the layer under the lattice. That scalloped oval punch is one of my favorites! The ribbon is the brand new Crushed Curry polka dot grosgrain ribbon...yummy. This card also has a square rhinestone brad in the center, too...this one lilac rather than blue.

This third card i just made because i love how it looks...i saw this design or something very like it somewhere, but i don't remember where now...whether it was wandering on the internet or in a magazine. It uses all new "toys" from my most recent Stampin' Up! order...the card is on Crushed Curry card stock (gasp, so different than my traditional Whisper White card bases), the stamp is from the new Razzle Dazzle set. I stamped the whole design in Soft Suede, then cleaned the stamp off and colored in the flowers with Stampin' Write markers, stamped them on a scrap of Whisper White, cut them out, and mounted them with mini glue dots on top of the Soft Suede version. I double-matted the white layer on top of Rich Razzleberry and Melon Mambo cardstock. The ribbon is Rich Razzleberry polka dot grosgrain ribbon, the sentiment is stamped in Crushed Curry and mounted on Melon Mambo cut out with my pal, the scallop oval punch.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Mom Meme

I've been tagged to take part in a meme by Jan, Milo and Alfie's wonderful mom. I love reading about Milo and Alfie's great adventures (and they are beautiful kitties) and Jan's answers to this meme are so interesting that when she tagged to me to join this meme, i couldn't resist.

The rules are simple: Either 1) post 7 facts about yourself AND photos OR 2) post 10 facts about yourself with no photos, OR 3) post a childhood picture of yourself.

First, the picture:

This was my freshman year in college 1) at Oberlin College. (Can you see the teddy bear on the bed? He's the same one i posted about in November!

2) This was my first cat. Her name was Franki. Actually, i think it was "Franki Farren Puppy" or something like that...she wasn't really my cat...she supposedly was my roommate Patty's cat, but i "somehow" became her main person. She was one of the kittens born outside in the cold Ohio winter to a college cat who was probably abandoned once her owners discovered she was pregnant. We weren't supposed to have cats in the dorm but i'm so glad that we took Franki in. She was a great kitten! At the end of the school year, i wasn't allowed to bring her home and Patty wasn't allowed to bring her home, so my boyfriend (at left in picture) took her home. He wasn't allowed to keep her past the summer, she went to live with his cousins on Cape Cod and i think (fervently hope) that she had a very happy life as a companion to their black Lab who totally adored her from the first day.

3) On the bed is an afghan that i crocheted during one of my classes (education testing and measurement, i think). I learned how to crochet from a book. Then i had one of the girls in my dorm teach my how to knit because i wanted a ski cap with ribbing, and couldn't figure out how to do it from a book *g*. It turns out the style she taught me was "Russian," so i've always had to adapt directions to get the right gauge.

4) I was an archaeology major and went on a dig in New Jersey the summer before i started college (we camped out in tents all summer on the banks of the Delaware River; we excavated one of the first known Native American house sites in New Jersey) and in North Carolina the summer before my senior year in college (we lived in some cabins near the old dairy farm on the grounds of the John C Campbell Folk School; in cooperation with the Eastern Cherokee tribe, we excavated a contact period Cherokee village).

5) I discovered a newborn calf while taking a walk looking for wild blackberries on one of my days off on the dig. Its mother had left it safely curled up in the tall grass, just like does do with their fawns. A few days later, i helped a calf get born...the cow was having trouble pushing out the calf so the farmer attached chains to the calf's feet. As the cow pushed, we gently pulled...and soon *pop* out came the calf.

6) My advisor at Oberlin suggested that i really should consider majoring in social-cultural anthropology instead, because i didn't have the hard science background archaeologists need to succeed these days. He left Oberlin for another school and there were no anthropologists left there. I really wanted to drop out of college...Oberlin was starting to feel way too small (it's in the middle of Ohio farm country and in the interests of fostering community, no one was allowed to have a car on campus, so there was no way to leave other than getting on my bicycle and pedalling to nowhere a few miles out of town), the Vietnam war was on, and i questioned what possible good i could do for the world. My parents were extremely unhappy that i wanted to drop out of school, so we reached a compromise...i transferred to another college.

7) I transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, a school about 7 times larger than Oberlin, in the middle of urban Philadelphia. Of course i missed Oberlin-type people! But academically it was a very good decision.

whew...that's enough about me and my ancient past! I hesitate to tag anyone in case you're too busy...but would love to have my regular commenters (and any visitors, too) do this meme, too!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Now a Few Words From the Cats

The poor little guys feel that i haven't posted enough pictures of them lately...bad enough that i went off to Rhode Island and Vermont, but then i posted all those quilting pictures...

First off, though, a bit of a rainbow seen on my return trip from Vermont. I had stopped at the New Baltimore, New York, rest stop on the NY Thruway. It had been raining off and on since i left Burlington, and had just finished pouring...and there was this beautiful rainbow in the east across the highway.

When i came home the boys showed me how cute they are...looks like they were practicing synchronized snoozing!
Fuzzy wanted to show me that he fit quite well in my suitcase.

Back to telecommuting Fridays, Louie tries to get my attention by hopping up on the box next to me and tapping at my leg.
Gingy taking a rest on the desk.

Fuzzy "supporting" me (or at least my notepad) while i work.

Me trying to conduct a teleconference while Fuzzy is on my lap, giving me kitty kisses.

Another snoozing Gingy shot.

This morning, Fuzzy hopped up on the bed, walked over to where Louie was snoozing, plopped down next to him, and started patting at his tail and feet.

The next thing you know, it's a wrestling match between two 16-pound kittens!

I'm off to New Jersey for the weekend, for the unveiling of my mother's gravestone...back Sunday night!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Vermont Quilt Festival (part three)

One of my favorite parts of going to VQF, other than seeing the magnificent quilts that are hung with care in the show, is visiting all the vendors and making some careful purchases of fabric, thread, patterns, embellishments, jewelry....the temptations are huge! And seriously, when the vendors bring their best and newest goods with them, it's a joy to see what they've got.
One of my favorite vendors is Usha at Handloom Batik. She has family in India who hand block print and batik most of the fabric that she sells. She had these two cool patterns "Quilting Bee" and "Laundry Day" by Bunny Leighton, made up in a rainbow of ethnic fabrics. Here's a close-up of the Quilting Bee pattern.
I just had to buy the patterns, as well as some of Usha's Indian cottons to use in this or some other project. (Gingy was snoozing on the ironing board and didn't mind modeling all of the fabrics and goodies.)
Here are some batiks that i got with the Quilting Bee project in mind from Batiks Etcetera, all the way from North Dakota....well, the vendor came from North Dakota, the fabric came from Indonesia!
Some yummy sparkly fabrics that i got from the guys at Woodstock Quilt Supply.
This is a lovely calligraphy and quilt design transferred to fabric by my friend Kathi Giberman of Nova Scotia. She has a great selection of lovely sayings like this set in quilt blocks, as well as many Celtic designs, Nova Scotia scenery, animals, and geometric designs. Her calligraphy and ink work are quite outstanding. I think last year was the first time she brought her designs transferred to fabric...i had to buy several with the idea of making up little wall hangings for some special friends.
Speaking of special friends, my friend Betsy and i always give each other some cat/quilt/book related addition to being a very talented quilter in her own right, Betsy is also a cat mom, a professional librarian, and an author. We met years ago at a B&B in Northfield, Vermont, when the Vermont Quilt Festival was still held there and now every year we look forward to sharing a suite at VQF. Here's some really cute ceramic "buttons" that can also be used as stamps.
Unique handprinted cat designs on hand dyed fabric from Marit Lee Kucera of Artspoken Yardage.
Really cute ceramic cat buttons.
A cute pincushion from her local quilt show...picked out especially for me because of the cat fabrics on it.
Last but not least, a kitty cookie cutter Betsy picked up at the King Arthur Flour store on her way up to the quilt festival.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Vermont Quilt Festival (part two)

On Saturday, June 18, i took the "Wee Willow" class with Jane Sassaman. "Wee Willow" is one of four small seasonal quilts that Jane designed. "Wee Willow" is the summer quilt, and it's a much much smaller version of Jane's famous "Willow" quilt, which was named one of the Best 100 Quilts of the 20th Century (she made it in 1996 for her daughter, who was 12 at the time).
Jane Sassaman is well known for her use of forms derived from nature...lots of curves and squiggles, lots of flowers, leaves, thorns, her own inimitable graphic style. Her technique involves cutting the basic design out of a piece of fabric that has been backed with lightweight nonwoven fusible interfacing and then layering on other pieces that are backed with a fusible (except for the pieces that overlap a dark/light intersection where you don't want the color to show through, and those pieces are backed with the nonwoven fusible interfacing as well). The advantage of having the whole quilt backed with nonwoven interfacing is that she heavily machine embroiders her quilt tops and the interfacing stabilizes it without having to use tearaway stabilizer.
Here's all i accomplished in a 6-hour's the foundation on which the rest of the quilt will be assembled (this is a small piece, about 18" square. (The white piece is also backed with nonwoven fusible interfacing and is set in behind the black, which is all one piece.) Here's the pattern envelope, and some of my many little pieces of flowers, all traced, fused, and ready to go. There's a lot of work left after they get fused to the background: Jane edges each piece with a straight stitch, with a medium zig zag stitch, and then many get some sort of fancy edge stitch. The quilting should be fun...she uses a thick (12-weight) topstitching thread with fairly long stitches, so it almost looks like hand quilting.
Jane brought a whole pile of her quilts to class which were great fun to look through. This is the class sample for her other class at the Vermont Quilt Festival that i didn't get into, called The Personality of a Leaf. Students made a sampler with multiples of pretty much the same leaf and stem, but they're all embellished with different stitches, which changes their appearance a lot. Here's a close up. What fun! I think the cute moth is from one of her fabrics.
And here's a huge moth quilt...the quilt is big (maybe 50 inches square) and moths are big, too! I read somewhere that she made this quilt when she and her family moved from the city to the country and exchanged the wild city life for the wildlife and clear night skies of the country.