Blogtoberfest Day XIV–Midnight Serenade

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My latest finish (which you may have seen here, unfinished, last year) a wall quilt for my sweetie, a banjo & guitar player (his youngest daughter also plays a little banjo). Yeah, I’m a lucky gal…I have access to banjo … Continue reading

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming…

I managed to get a half hour of sewing in this week to make my May bee block for Mrs. Schmenkman, Amy

Love her fabrics and her choice of block…super easy to assemble!

Then, last night I went to the meeting of the Des Moines Area Quilt Guild, our traditional guild which has a membership of somewhere near 500.  Our speaker was Karen Eckmeier of Quilted Lizard designs.  She talked about freeing yourself to include raw edges, collaged quilting (her term), and letting yourself play for a 15-20 minutes every morning before you start to create–ignore the quilt police!  Her talk was very much in line with many modern quilt bloggers.

Some of the quilts she brought to share…

I love how her quilts incorporate hidden photographs from her family, travels, etc, that essentially go unnoticed until she points them out to you:

And my favorite pieces of her’s are her wavy log cabins, sort of in line with wonky log cabins you see in the blogosphere, but she takes it even further with embellishment:

Her “doodle quilting”, and appliqued triangles and shapes within her logs:

I’m definietly inspired to do some creating this week!!!

One more change this week…I decided to get rid of that extra hair I’ve been dealing with the last several months, and go with a short pixie for summer….ahhhh……  My hair just seems to be happier when it’s short, what can a girl do?

Have fun creating, dear reader!


Motorbikes and Meadowsweet

I thought I’d show you a snippet of what I’m working on this week… A draft for a new art quilt, that I’m actually helping a friend create of her husband’s bike from the 1970s…I have the drawing ability, she claims not to, even though she is an amazing long arm quilter. If she can create lovely custom quilt designs (and she can!), I’m sure she can draw! We are trying to create it in the style of this one….from a 2009 Love of Quilting issue:
Unfortunately, all I have to go by are these fuzzy (small) photos from 1971-2, which don’t include a true straight-on profile shot:This is what I finished Wednesday evening, and sent home with her to the hubby who once owned the bike to edit/approve:Then last night, I got busy choosing fabrics for a new quilt:
Love the new Meadowsweet collection by one of my fave designers, Sandi Henderson…
Can’t wait to cut into this one!

Farewell, Summer…

So, yes, packing up my life, moving across town…to the western ‘burbs actually…but it’s not healthy to be all work and no play, right?! And, besides, I have obligations to swaps and such that I signed up for before I knew I’d be moving this autumn…

So I pulled out my fabric last night and whipped this up for my swap partner in the Good Ol’ Summertime Mini Quilt Swap:
The blues in the ocean all came from my “blue” scrap basket, and I did the free form curved piecing to give the effect of waves rolling in. I’ve loved that cabana fabric ever since I first saw it, and until now, it just sat in my stash basket ’cause I couldn’t think of a use for it. Then this swap came along…
Now, my Iowa summer bears no resemblance to this quilt whatsoever…yes, we do have beaches here and there, lakeside beaches, but I haven’t made it to one of those in years. This is how my summer “in my head” looks. dreams of being in a lounge chair on the beach with pretty, bright colored cabanas dotting the horizon. If only… Need to add a label tonight and send it off in the post tomorrow! John, your blocks are next!

Spring 2009 Virtual Quilt Festival

Amy is hosting a virtual Quilt Show this week. Here is my entry…sure to win Best of Show. (Just kidding, I’m really not that cocky! But since it’s a virtual world…a girl can dream, right?!) I chose this quilt as my entry into Amy’s “Festival” because it was my first true “art quilt” and I truly love how it turned out. The batiks blend together beautifully, I used alot of thread painting and quilting techniques I had not tried before and the overall product is, in my humble opinion, stunning. Here is it’s story:

My sweetie is a major fan of Django Reinhardt, a gypsy jazz musician from Belgium, who died in 1953. In addition to idolizing Django, he plays the guitar (a Martin that he refers to as “The Grail”) and the mandolin. I made him this art quilt for Christmas 2005. The name of the quilt is “Gypsy Django”.
The guitar in the quilt is created from the jazz guitar that Sweetie owned at the time, prior to purchasing The Grail and selling all other “inferior” guitars in his possession. The two mandolins are also his, the inlay one was his grandfather’s, and the “triangular” one he made himself.
This is the mandolin his grandfather owned and played, it’s beautiful, with a mother-of-pearl inlaid butterfly, and m-of-p inlay around the edges and on the neck. It’s a true work of art and is proudly displayed on the mantel.
We aren’t sure how old the mandolin is, or where it came from, but he has this photo of his grandfather (on the left) playing this very mandolin in the very early 20th Century:
The mandolin he made himself hangs on the bedroom wall when not in use.
I used a batik on the back and binding as well. This was my first foray into “creative” quilt labels. Now, go see Amy and enjoy the rest of the “show”! Oh! One more thing…go check out this birthday giveaway:


Artists talk a lot about what inspires them to create. The musician/songwriter often has a muse of some sort, or a heartbreak that inspires a great ballad. The visual artist takes inspiration from nature, the environment, society…just about anything around them might inspire them to create a visual expression of the mood or feelings evoked.

I was a Art & Design major as an undergrad, and an Art History major in graduate school. My studies focused alot on inspiration, my own as well as that of the artists I studied. I’m not sure I could always pinpoint just what my own inspiration was (nor can I always put my finger on it now), but I was always curious about what truly inspired some of the great works we studied.

My favorite artist, hands down, has always been John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), an amazing portrait painter and watercolorist. He was an American, born in Florence, Italy. This one, Madame X, was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1884, and caused such as scandalous uproar (a woman’s bare shoulders?!? Heavens!) that he was forced to move to London to get away from the gossip. I believe he sold it to the MET a few years after this. This was the artist’s personal favorite of his works.
My personal favorite is this one, which I forget the name of right now, but I so wish I was the woman in this picture, she’s outside, in the sun, enjoying the perfect day with her companion, painting casually on her canvas, next to a fountain. The brushstrokes that make up this image are fascinating, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing it in person…it is amazing.

I have a small copy of this one hanging in my home, it is named Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, and was his first major success at the Royal Academy (in England) in 1887. It is a large piece, painted on site, of two young girls lighting lanterns in an English garden. The painting was immediately purchased by the Tate Gallery in London, where I had the pleasure of viewing it in the 1990s. The colors are breathtaking.

During the greater part of Sargent’s career, he created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolours, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings. Now that is impressive. It makes me want to go get my paints out and start painting. It makes me want to start creating more “art quilts”, painting in fabric. It inspires me to find more time, to create something, anything…just for the sake of creating…

What inspires you?