Wednesday, October 31, 2012

100 BLOCKS, Volume 6 IS HERE!

My advance copy arrived yesterday and again I feel honored to be among so many talented designers!  Next week the blog hop starts and I look forward to chatting with you all again...My day is Wednesday, Nov 7th.  You will be able to find the links to all the hop participants here, plus comment for chances to win wonderful prizes.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fused Glass?

My husband knows I like shiny things....So, for Christmas last year he bought me a beautiful pair of earrings that were made of fused glass. The second part of the gift was a Groupon for learning to make your own fused glass. How cool is that?
The pic above shows my Poinsettia pattern that I have used in a couple of different quilt patterns.

Here it is in glass. This really solidified my love of fabric.  In fabric I can layer bits upon bits but in glass it is more puzzle like.  It is taking my brain a bit to follow which I am sure is good for the neurons but can be a bit frustrating.  I had all my pieces cut out before the class helper told me that wouldn't work because of the melting process-duh!  
So I recut pieces until they fit together better leaving me with all these leftover bits.  I don't know that using quilt designs in fused glass is the way to go-would have been better with stained glass.

The leftover bits are useful though because they get crushed into finer grades called Frit (don't know how they came up with that word).  These can be sprinkled around in your background to add color or texture.
Here is the final piece ready for the kiln.  I tried using frit to fill in underneath pieces I didn't want to bend downward in the firing process...Now I see the mistake in that!
It is hard to tell by the pictures but I had chosen a clear piece that had a great texture in it not realizing that if I wanted a full fuse the texture would melt away.  Therefore I had to choose a medium fuse to keep some of that texture and in doing so, the flower didn't quite melt the way I wanted.  Plus, using some of the frit to fill in made the petals look a bit globby.  Note to self-next time use clear bits OR just let the petals melt down.  This was class #2.

For class #3, I chose to try my hand at earrings with a full fuse.  We shall see!  Here they are ready to go to the kiln.  Hope they are done next week:)  I only have 3 more classes and need to focus on what I want to accomplish.

I don't think glass work is for me.  My fabric work is just so soft and fun and easy and, did I say soft.  My hands are starting to look all chopped up but I do like working with power tools again!!  :))  I am glad I tried it-it was a great gift!  I can appreciate the jewelry more now when I see the pieces at shows but I will keep my fabric obsession!

Today is Off the Wall Friday so don't forget to peek in there to see what others are working on!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fall in NH part 3 ~NYC

I have always loved going to NYC!  Most of the excitement is probably sentimental from being taken there as a kid with my mom and grandparents, but the energy of the city is so invigorating to me!  I have taken my children a few times as well.
I don't know if I ever knew that they turned Rockefeller Center into a wonderful restaurant area in the off season.  I only ever remember seeing it as a skating rink.  I would totally eat here if I had the money:)  We opted for wonderful NY pizza for dinner since I can't seem to find any here in FL.  This boggles my mind with all the New Yorkers that live here!!
This was just fun since it has my mom's name...NOT the Stardust part:))
 In all my years to NYC, I hadn't ever been to the Statue of Liberty.
She is under construction now so you can't go up in her but you can take the ferry out to her and you get pretty close!  She is amazing and I am in awe of how someone created her in panels, shipped her here, and reassembled.  What a great feat for the times or today for that matter!
I didn't feel a need to go inside anyway but I did want to see her closer than my usual view.....
The picture above is of the Verrazzano Bridge from the Statue of Liberty.  This is how I normally saw her.....MAYBE!  Many trips to NY as a kid took us over this bridge and mom would try to get us to find her as we drove at highway speed with the steel beams rushing past and she is a mile, or more, away!  Kids have no real perspective of size or distance and you better hope there wasn't any haze or fog to get in the way too.  I think it was a ploy to keep us busy so the driver could concentrate on traffic!  I must admit doing the same to my children on our trips:))
As the ferry rounded Liberty Island, you could see Manhattan in the distance with the new World Trade building going up (it is the tallest one with the black top).  The windows are still being added and I personally think it is an ugly building.....Opportunity wasted!
My real goal for the ferry ride was to go to Ellis Island.  What an overwhelming experience!  I have moved many times in my life and it can be daunting going to a new place, not knowing anyone.  With that said, I can't imagine going through what these families went through.  Their desire for a new, better life brought them much heartache.
 View of Verrazzano and Statue of Liberty from Ellis Island.
I was surprised to find Graffiti on the walls of Ellis Island.  There were many people who had to stay on the island for health reasons, etc. and they would leave drawings and writings behind in various languages.  When the rehad was being done, these were preserved.
 This just jumped out at me because I live here now:)

 Views from Ellis Receiving room: Statue of Liberty above and Empire State building below.

There were display cases full of antiques that were found when the rehab was done in the 80s.  Instead of throwing these broken bits away, the cases were built and the items are now there for visitors to see.  I took many more pictures than I can possibly share here but this one had sewing machines in it:) 
Then there is the wall of names!  I heard a tour guide say that not all names are here only of the families that donated money to the reconstruction project.  I am not sure if I am related to them but I did find my Father's family name and my Mother's.  More so, I found her specific name which made a little chill go down my spine.

What do you know of your history? 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall in New Hampshire Part 2

While in NH, I made a trip to Keepsake Quilting. What a great shop.  It is a lot bigger than I anticipated and I also didn't realize that Knitworks is a part of them.  My mom would have loved that:)

We spent an afternoon in Meredith, NH and that was a cute little town....  Very picturesque on a lake!
At Loon Mountain they hold the largest Highland Games in the country.  We were there for the 37th annual games.  The setting was beautiful, the food was good, and the music was just wonderful!
When we arrived that morning, the mist was still hanging in the mountains and it was chilly and overcast.  By 11am the mist had cleared and it was sunny and 70's---Beautiful!
Here is the Caber Toss.  It is pretty amazing to see them run and throw this huge telephone pole! There was much grand standing:)
This was the moment that brought me to tears!  There were hundreds of pipers assembled and annually they pay tribute to friends and loved ones they have lost during the year.  This is done by playing Amazing Grace on the pipes:
One lone piper starts the song followed by a dozen more in the second round with the rest joining in on the 3rd round.  That song gives me goose bumps normally but hearing hundreds of bagpipes in unison put me over the edge. It is extremely moving!
So I wanted to go north for the color and although not peak, it was still so beautiful and invigorating to me!  I love taking rushing river pics too so I had a fabulous afternoon doing just that.

I can't possibly explain how much this environment does for my brain and my creativity.  I always feel like someone put me into high gear.
This particular river only had one lone red tree but it made a great focal point.  And it wouldn't be any fun to be here and not climb out on a rock in the middle of the river and take some action shots, right?  I could have sat there all day listening to the water!!!
Our day finished off with some real Maine Lobtahs that our friends had done for us when we got back.  This was my first lobster as an adult.  I didn't think I liked lobster......I DO:)

Monday, October 22, 2012

I love birthdays!

Somehow I can't truly believe people that say they don't like celebrating their birthdays...What? A whole day devoted to you by people who love you-what's not to like??
My husband's gift to me this year was a trip on the Seminole Gulf Railroad Murder Mystery Train.  We boarded the Gin Lizzy for a 3 hour Prohibition Murder Dinner. What a fun night!  You board the train and enjoy a 5 course dinner while being entertained between courses by the Shady Ladies and Irish criminals.  Guess the murderer and win a prize at the end of the night.
Gorgeous Roses from my daughter, Lauren! She also sent me the DVD of South Pacific-the original version. I have been wanting to update my musical collection and she is very willing to help out!

My other baby girl, Devin, sent me an antique butter mold...How cool is that?! The etching is great! This is a beautiful piece full of inspiration for me:)

Mom worked her magic with yarn and knitted this beautiful shawl/ scarf for me.  I hope when you click on the photo, you can see the fantastic beadwork she added as well.  Now I just need the weather to cool a bit here!!!
Two very lovely friends sent me these goodies above.  Susan sent me yardage of fantastic orange batiks!  Oh what to do with them???? There were other fun things in the package as well, including homemade Snickerdoodle cookies (really for my husband:) and this little notebook that actually contained many sizes of sticky notes...She knows me so so well:))) 
Kathy sent me some of my favorite pumpkin cookies that only come out this time of year along with some of her artwork.
Lastly, I treated myself to a class to learn a double reverse applique technique by Ellen LindnerI took the class with a local friend, Rhonda, whose birthday is this much more fun to take a class with someone.
I was able to actually get the top done in class (plus I stayed a bit longer:)  Not sure what I will do with it but the technique works and Ellen is a wonderful instructor.

Next time your birthday comes around, embrace it!  It is YOUR day!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Off the Wall Friday

Here we are at another Friday and what has gotten done?  On my design table is some beautiful Northcott Stonehenge for an upcoming project that I can't disclose yet:)  It is exciting!

Next I have a test of a very geometric design that I am playing with.  It is soooo NOT me but I am enjoying having a new challenge.  I am shooting for a Frank Lloyd Wright-esque look and hope to accomplish it with some softer colors.

This one I am really enjoying.  I love handwork and what better hand work than a Cathedral Window block.  Does this look familiar to anyone?  It is the Pittsburgh Steelers logo and, yes, the pic isn't rotated correctly.  My daughter and her boyfriend are fans so this will be part of a pillow set. 
Stay Tuned!

Since it is Friday, if you go here, you will see more wonderful works in progress by creative wonders.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall in New Hampshire Part 1

This year for our 24th Wedding Anniversary we took a great trip north.  Autumn was just arriving and I was lighthearted and merry.  Those of you who know me well, will understand that Autumn is my absolute favorite time of year and I sorely miss it here in Florida.  The mornings were crisp and humidity free-it was wonderful! We packed a lot into 2 weeks so the adventure will be broken into parts with today being part one.
Florida to New Hampshire is a LONG drive so we broke it up over 3 days stopping in Savannah, GA and Baltimore, MD along the way. 
The stained glass was in Savannah and it was lit so beautifully.  I really should have taken a picture of this earthquake bolt I saw.  Have you heard of these?  They are the decorative stars you see on really old buildings and I always wondered what they were. In Savannah I saw one in the shape of a spiderweb-very cool.  Of course the question is were they real or a scam??
The Baltimore stop was convenient but also sentimental.  Jim and I met and were married there as well as our first daughter being born there.  Whenever we stop there we can't help having those, "remember when" conversations.  The Harbor has really grown and it looks like the city is making a real effort to bring it back. Yay!

While in NH, we stayed with some dear friends.  They own a wood turning gallery there by the name of Birch View Barn.  The work is phenomenal! 
Back in September I showed a piece I was working on here.  Now here it is in the gallery waiting for someone to come purchase it.  It looks so beautiful in that setting.
Our friends had a few days off so that we could get the complete tour of New England including Nubble Lighthouse in Maine.  It was perfectly picturesque!
The lighthouse is out on a rock island and the only way the caretaker could get there was on these lines you see.  At the far end you can see a small boat that the caretaker would get into and wench himself back and forth from main land to island.
I love this picture partly because it is so hard for me to get Jim into one:))  He is the love of my life and I am thankful he let me have this one for our anniversary!
We also took a day to head into Portland, ME.  There was a time we were almost stationed there and we had some curiosity about what we missed.  All of New England is so pretty in summer and fall....just not sure if we would have loved winter there.

Of course you can't go to New England and not do some antique shopping.  There couldn't have been a more perfect antique for me to find than this wonderful whalebone needle case.  The needle case part is obvious but I also love the basketweave design that reminds me of the Irish Belleek porcelain.  Plus, I have been fascinated with scrimshaw, etc. ever since 6th grade history class when we spent a portion of our year studying whaling.  What a perfect treasure for me:)