September 13, 2014

Addicted

Hi, my name is Anne and I'm a quiltaholic . . . and a fabricholic . . . with a heavy dose of computer addiction thrown in for balance. Ha!

This past week, my daughter and I were both going to go computer free for most of each day in an attempt to get more done. Once a day email check for business purposes only. What was I thinking?


I really do need to go computer free for most of each day so I can actually get more sewing done.
But . . .  this week I had quilt instructions and illustrations to write up for a magazine deadline so I couldn't go without the computer. Honest. It's done and sent off so that excuse is off the list now.

Tomorrow my husband and I are leaving for a few days away. We haven't been to Taos since his folks moved away about 18 years ago so we're heading back to see the art and soak up a little southwest attitude. We both really need a break from the day to day routine. Sadly vacations are not a regular part of our lives so this trip for just the two of us will be wonderful.

Here I sit however, getting quilts ready to take along for photo ops and wondering if I could design in the car on my computer. Seriously. I need to rebalance my life.

I will take a sketchbook instead of the computer to record a jolt of inspiration here and there. A camera to record even more inspiration. And a head full of ideas. I will enjoy the time with the hubby. Time to talk about our individual art aspirations and where the next year might take us with the right plans and commitment.

Hopefully next week I'll have a couple of good photos to post of quilts in Taos. I'm sure I'll have plenty of other inspiring images to share as well. Maybe even a leaf photo or two if you know my other addiction . . .   : )

I did manage to play with some of these fabrics during the week. Nothing definite yet but I'm liking the possibilities.





Hope you played a little too.



September 5, 2014

Wildlife Alert

This post has nothing whatsoever to do with quilting but I hope you'll enjoy it anyway. Nature is always inspiring to me even if my quilts don't directly reflect it, so today I just wanted to share some nature photography in the form of wildlife sightings with you.

To start off, I must say this is not what we normally see in the backyard in the morning . . .


Yes, I know cows aren't wildlife, but when we found thirty plus cows grazing in the open space and four of them right behind our fence yesterday, it was kind of wild and crazy. Turns out the gate to the field was left open and they just found the grass a little greener on our side of the fence. Wish they could have stayed and eaten even more of the weeds.

The last few nights, we've also awoken to the sound of climbing on the tree just a few feet from our bedroom window. Peering out the window with a flashlight I came face to face with a raccoon looking back at me. She went on up the tree and then another . . . and another . . . and another. Mama coon and her three young ones all scampering up the tree. And each taking a turn to stop and look at me. They seem to be coming and going most nights shortly after we go to bed. Its not the first time we've had a family come round and they are so cute when they are little. Much better than the skunks that also like to wander across the deck at times. I could do without them.

Three Raccoons in a Tree by garyjwood - flickr

In addition to the raccoons, skunks and an occasional deer, it's also very common to hear coyotes during the night. They roam the field hunting and when they all start howling in the middle of the night it's pretty unnerving. We sometimes see them trotting along the trail behind the house but thankfully they haven't come up too close. Some neighborhoods have trouble with coyotes and small pets.

There is also a domestic bunny gone rogue roaming the neighborhood. His name is Mustache and he escaped from a backyard across the street. They tried to catch him a few times and then gave up and now refer to him as a "free range" bunny. I think several people along the street are looking out for him with water and food. And for the first time we have several wild bunnies roaming around too. The little ones are so cute and tiny but destructive to the gardens and flower beds.


Of course we have lots of birds and it's always fun to watch the babies being fed. One year we had robins, bluejays and Downey Woodpeckers all nesting within a very small proximity to each other. This year there's been mostly baby bluejays and robins. A sweet little hummingbird has also been visiting the flowers on our deck from time to time. I feel tired watching how fast her wings go.




We usually have lots of squirrels too which are fun to watch but hard on the landscape and our cushions and umbrella. These pics are from a few years ago when we had three babies in the yard in the early fall-winter. We made a ledge right outside the kitchen window to feed and watch them. Our kitty Shadow found them quite entertaining even if she couldn't quite figure out how to get at them.





But probably the most fun wildlife sightings I've had over the summer have been the frogs. Yes, I said frogs. Every morning my daughter and I go walking and often take a loop around the city park near our house. The little pond there is THICK with American Bullfrogs. We have been able to see all stages of frog development over the summer. Early on there were lots and lots of tiny tiny tadpoles. Now the pond is full of froglets. Many with tails still fully visible. At one point earlier there were several males making their deep croaking calls. We even saw a couple of them wrestling. They looked like little Sumo wrestlers . . . chest to chest up out of the water trying to push each other over. Too bad I didn't have the camera with me. We recently got a new camera with a great zoom and I went a little overboard taking frog photos, so I'll end my wildlife post with a few froggie pics. Enjoy.




  





I'll be back soon with a more quilty post. Thanks for stopping by.






August 29, 2014

Fabric Play

The end of summer . . . I used to think that by the time my kids were done with school the end of summer wouldn't be so full of angst. You know the feeling. How can it be over already? What about all those summer plans? Even with grown kids I still feel the same way. How can it be over? I had lots of plans and ideas and didn't get half of them done. All the more reason to refocus and get busy.

Entry deadlines are coming up for QuiltCon and since I'm actually going this time I thought it would be fun to enter a couple of quilts. Now to get them done. The main problem is making up my mind which ideas to pursue. Never a shortage of ideas in my studio.  : )  Just an inability to narrow down the choices and get started. Here's a glimpse of the fabrics I've pulled and played with this week.





I did cut and sew several HSTs for an idea I've had for ages. It's so nice seeing it begin to take shape for real. This is just a peek.


I guess it's rather obvious I love cool colors. What are you playing with this week?

August 20, 2014

WIP Wednesday; Color Choices

My primary WIP of the week is to get everything ready for a workshop I'm taking this Saturday taught by Latifah Saafir. It's called Perfect Puddles and is a lovely sampler quilt based on inset circles. Inset circles is something I've wanted to learn for awhile now so this is the perfect opportunity.

Photo from Latifah's Pinterest Board.

She gave us a great handout with instructions on several different patchwork designs to choose from for the circle centers. Each circle uses a different patchwork method and the finished quilt becomes a patchwork sampler. In my usual way, I wanted to do something a bit different and Latifah was very ok with my plan. Rather than a patchwork sampler, I decided to use a single fabric for each circle and turn the project into a free-motion sampler. I can use all the practice I can get with my free-motion skills and the simplicity of the design seemed like the perfect place for some practice. Here's my plan.


Selecting fabrics is usually the fun part, but of course can also be the challenging part, of designing any quilt. I first considered using an assortment of dotted/striped fabrics from my stash. I thought it would be a fun play on the circle theme. But instead, I decided to stick with solids so I would better see the free-motion quilting I hope to try in each circle and background area. Pulling a good mix of greens was a challenge though. I love green and have several green solids but once I starting pulling colors it became obvious I needed more. Can you believe I found an excuse to buy more fabric?

Here are the colors I plan to take to the workshop. Something to keep in mind when making color choices, especially solids, is that your perception of each color is relative to the other colors surrounding it. There was a point in my selection process when I felt like I didn't have a single green that was green. Of course that wasn't really the case but when you put several greens together they take on all degrees of green interpretation. Some will seem blue, some yellow, some not green at all. I'm taking more colors than I think I'll need and will create pairs of circle/background colors once the circle/rings are done.


Another problem when choosing colors is not pushing the values enough. It's easy to settle into the middle value range but the end result can be flat and mushy. This is totally fine if it's the effect you're after but quite often a quilt will be improved when the values are pushed more. We're comfortable in the middle range and don't notice the lack of contrast until the quilt is done and then feels flat or dull.

For my concept, I plan to keep the rings all the same blue color and I'm quite tempted to use the first blue shown above simply because I like the underlying slight green color. But I don't think it's as dark as it should be to really give the final blocks some punch and contrast. Here's another option that would probably be better. Again I'm going to take both and decide when I start. What do you think?


This will be the first workshop sponsored by our Boulder Modern Quilt Guild and should be a fun time. Latfah will be doing a show and tell and talk afterwards that is open to anyone for a small fee. Check out the guild Facebook page for more info.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

August 10, 2014

Inspiration in Chihuly

I had the pleasure of visiting the Denver Botanical Gardens this week to see the Chihuly exhibition and it was a most wonderful experience. So much so that I plan to go again before the exhibit ends in November. If you are not familiar with Chihuly's work, please visit his website and learn about this amazing glass artist.


I think natural settings like botanical gardens are the absolute best location for viewing his pieces. The juxtaposition of glass art set amidst the various plant forms is striking to say the least and brings the plants to life in a whole new way. Each piece is carefully placed in such a way that it accentuates or contrasts with the surrounding landscape in a very deliberate way. Nothing seems left to chance. Each composition of glass and plants is both thoughtful and beautiful.

An added bonus was attending in the late afternoon and staying till dark. The glass takes on an even more remarkable quality at night when lit amid the gardens. There is a glow as if each piece is lit from within. I would highly recommend going in the evening so you can get a bit of both the daytime and nighttime experience.. The Denver Botanical Gardens are even having special Chihuly Nights in October and November with extended evening hours and special admission prices.

Here's just a glimpse of both the art and foliage that I found inspiring. In some cases the art is juxtaposed next to plant photos just for fun. I love the similarities of line and shape. Enjoy.













And here is my favorite of all. Monet Pool Fiori placed in the Monet Pool of course. The purple spikes contrasting with the curvy green shapes are absolutely beautiful. Love the reflections.




Visiting any botanical garden is always inspiring to me. You will most likely find me taking close-up after close-up of as many different leaf patterns as I can find. No surprise there is it? Leaves make me happy and I'm also happy to report my daughter has the same addiction. It's quite interesting to compare photos after we get home to see the different perspectives we each have. This visit was intended to be all about the art but I managed a very healthy dose of leaf photos as well. Confession . . I actually used all the available memory on my camera and couldn't take any more photos.  : (



Have I convinced you yet to see this exhibit?  I hope so because you definitely will be inspired.