Wednesday, February 29

It's Leap Day!!!

In the year 2000, I made a series of small quilts that celebrated a holiday or event for each month in the year. I designed the quilts and taught the classes in the Prior Lake Community Education program and have shared all of them in my Monday "What's on the line?" feature. I don't think I have ever shared this quilt which was also made in 2000. The year of 2000 was also a "Leap year" and I wanted to celebrate so I designed this simple wallhanging. If memory serves me correctly, I taught the class on Leap Day, February 29. And the measurement for the finished wallhanging............29 inches square, of course! Have a good day today! And happy birthday to all of you who were born on this day and only get to celebrate every four years!!!

Monday, February 27

What's on the line?

A breath of spring is on the line today!! ......................
Isn't this one lovely? I adore the pink and green four patches that connect the rings. The fabrics look like they are from the 30's, 40's and 50's and the quilt appears to be "vintage". However, it's machine quilted but not in the typical way that someone would "stipple" a quilt nowadays. So, I am not sure of this quilts age. I only know that it's one of the quilts my folks bought at auction. Oh, and I know I really like this one a lot!! Do you think this one would be called a "Double Wedding Ring" or is it a "Pickle Dish"?

The weather here in Minnesota isn't exactly feeling "like a breath of spring". It was very windy all day yesterday and the big news is that there is supposedly a big snow storm coming on Tuesday!! I'm ready for it. We have had brown grass too long and need some snow so it will feel like winter. The ground needs the moisture so that when spring gets here things can turn green and the flowers will bloom!

Have a good Monday!!!

Monday, February 20

What's on the line?

This is one of the last vintage quilts that I took photos of last fall. It has a soft, sweet spring look to it.................

It's just a simple Dresden plate but, oh, so pretty! It's very worn but still brings a smile. The pink binding is just the right touch for this vintage charmer.  I enlarged the photo and cropped it for the above shot. Below is the original photo taken when the leaves were still green in mid September.
Once again, I wish I had an idea of who made this quilt but it's just another one bought at a farm auction. I picture this one in a small bedroom with white eyelet curtains at the window. They blow in the wind in summer and in the winter you can pull them back and see the frost diamonds on the windows. There's a dressing table next to the bed and it's made from an old table with mismatched legs. The legs are hidden by a pretty cotton skirt made from gathered feedsacks. A small mirror hangs above the table and a satin covered jewelry box holds a locket and other treasures. The room is small but tucked in the corner is an old bookcase painted in a soft apple green. I see a copy of "Gone with the Wind" sitting on the shelf  and postcards from Hollywood stars like Loretta Young and Bette Davis. You may think I'm just imagining all this because I didn't grow up during the 40's. But my mother-in-law did and I have her copy of "Gone with the Wind". And my mother can remember that movie stars would send you penny postcards with their autographs. Over the years, they shared lots of memories and I only wish I written more of them down or recorded them. Now, my mother is writing things down as she remembers the "good old days", and when we chat on the phone and talk about the old days, I take notes. :-)  Ah, yes, simpler times, and simply beautiful quilts.
Have a lovely Monday!  And for those of you here in the U.S.......Happy President's Day!

Friday, February 17

"Ladies Night In"

That was the title of a really lovely event hosted by the Scott County Historical Society last night at the Stans Museum in Shakopee, MN. I mentioned the event in a post a couple of weeks ago. You may remember that I ordered my ticket right away. :-)  The opportunity to meet Christopher Straub, the special guest for the evening was too tempting. Toss in chocolate and I was going for sure!
Christopher was a Season 6 contestant on Project Runway and I remember cheering him on for two reasons........I liked his designs and,....... he was from Shakopee just 15 miles from the town I lived in back then. It was like cheering on someone I knew just because he was also from Minnesota. :-)  Obviously, a lot of other women were watching him, too, and wanted to meet him because almost 100 ladies attended the event.  They enjoyed wine, chocolates, and conversation with Christopher as well as viewing the two latest exhibits that are currently on display at the musuem......  Marking*Time*TheRitualsofLifeAndDeath and Under*Where*UnmentionablesExposed.  Yes, it was a lovely evening and I have pictures to show you just what a fine night it was! 
Here is the special guest.......Christopher Straub and Lisa, his friend and long-time model for his designs...........
She's wearing a cotton knit mini that Christopher designed. The fabric is also his original design. He took a digital photograph of an abalone shell and that photo became the inspiration for the fabric!  The little shrug is gorilla faux fur (loved it) with leather epaulets with metal studs. And then there's that "one-of-a-kind" handbag she's carrying. Christopher designed that piece and I had serious "purse envy" of that handbag. Seriously, it was so perfect!  There was more "purse envy" over this little "Petal Clutch" designed by Christopher. As guests entered and purchased their tickets for the event, they could also buy a raffle ticket for this gorgeous handbag.  I bought a ticket and ...............
 I'll tell you who won it in a minute.

First, though, here's the wine table with Teresa Norman pouring wine. She's the museum's Curator of Exhibits and Collections. Volunteer, Fran Bohlke, encouraged guests to try the chocolates from Abdallah's.  And, oh, were the ones with the peanut butter centers ever delicious!!! I know because I ate three of them. :-)
The ones wrapped in red foil had the peanut butter filling. :-)

The Stans Museum where the event was held is, in my opinion, a little treasure right in the heart of Shakopee, MN. There have been so many wonderful exhibits since it opened in 1994. In addition to special exhibits and events, there is a permanent exhibit of papers and artifacts from Maurice Stans who was born and raised in Shakopee. He was Secretary of Commerce during the presidency of Richard Nixon. His boyhood home sits next to the museum and can also be toured if you visit the museum.
The view below is from the entry and looks down the long hall where the paintings of local artists are on display. To the right and left of this exhibit, you will find the artifacts relating to Maurice Stans. In the second room, you can see Christopher Straub with arm raised as he chatted with guests. That areas is where the "MarkingTime" exhibit is located.
 I walked down the hall and found these happy guests who were near the entry to the research area and the room where the "Unmentionables" exhibit is located.
I could see Christopher surrounded by guests.......
 and engaged in conversation with guests!
Christopher was a true delight. He shared lots of stories about his time on Project Runway, his designs and more. I was surprised to learn that the entire season of Project Runway was filmed in five weeks! This meant that one ate, slept and dreamt design for all that time. Wow, what focus one would have to have!!! All in all, it was a great evening! And for one lucky lady, it was even better when she won that clutch..........
The lucky winner was Mary Keohen and can you believe how perfectly that bag matches the scarf she is wearing? I think she was definitely the right winner!! She's pictured with her friends and it was fun to listen to them laughing and having such a good time. I love to see people have a good time. :-)  On Mary's left is Barb Weckman Brekke (Chris' second cousin), and on her right is Jean Marschall and Alice Weckman.
After the drawing, there was still time for more wine, more chocolate and more conversation. That's museum director, Kathy Klehr on the left and in the background is the museum entry area...........
And, last but not least, in the background of this photo is Allison Drtina, Program Manager at the museum and this event was her "baby". It was her first special event since joining the staff at the museum and I say "very well done"!!

I had to lighten the photo quite a bit to get Allison's face to show up. I am great at taking pictures. I'm just not so good at the actual photography.  There is a real difference in the two!
That's about all except for this.........I may not have won that cute petal clutch, but as I was leaving Kathy handed me that pretty bouquet that was on the wine table as thanks for helping with the flowers and a little wine-glass washing. It occurred to me as I was driving home that I should have had someone take a photo of me at the event. I am so often the one with the camera in my hand at Christmas, birthdays, etc. You know how that goes. Soooooooooo.....proof that I was there is in this photo.......When I got home, I did a little "self-portrait". I have flowers in hand and right after this, I got out a vase and put them in water. Nice to have a little reminder of a lovely evening!!!
I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

A bit of an afterthought here..........I remembered a post I wrote about a year ago on my own dreams of being a fashion designer. If interested, you'll find that post here .........written exactly one year ago today!  

Tuesday, February 14

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!

I bought this little Valentine at an antique shop a couple years ago. It's a Whitman Valentine but no date is listed on it. It is cut along the edge of the umbrella and the inside is folded in......

and when you open the card, the puppy pops up with his bouquet! Cute!

Wishing you all a Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Monday, February 13

What's on the line?

It's a re-run!   LOL!
I was busy watching the Grammy's and
almost forgot to do a blogpost. 
It's almost Valentine's Day .........
and I wanted to share a heart-themed quilt .........  
Soooo, go here for my favorite little hearts quilt.........
And then there's this one that you've seen before...................

One of the vintage quilts that my mother and dad bought at auction.
I have gathered up a stack of red fabrics and
plan to start making a reproduction of this vintage quilt.
I need a "carry it along with me" project and I think this will be just right. :-)
A couple night's ago, my husband came into my sewing room and
observed that I have a number of "started projects".
I told him that "yes, I sure do" and then ........
I recited a couple things undone in his shop. :-)
I might as well start another to add to the pile. :-)

All for now.........Have a good Monday!

Monday, February 6

What's on the line?

"Pretty in Pink" is what's on the line! And isn't it lovely? And even if you don't like pink, isn't the design simple and pretty?!! 
Take a close look at the lay-out in the photo below and you can see how easily you could make this quilt - basically the Drunkard's path pattern - in your favorite colors..........
This is another quilt my dad bought at auction and it's fairly worn but still has such beauty. I dearly love the old quilts. They are full of stories that we don't even know. I so often wonder why someone chose a particular pattern or where did the fabric come from that was used in a quilt?  Oh, yes, how fun it would be if the old quilts could talk!!   As I look at the close-up, I wonder what it would look like to pick a pretty leaf green for the pink fabrics and then some lovely floral for the white fabric areas? Hmmm.......another project I can add to my "to do" list. Boy, is it getting long or what? LOL!

Just want to say thanks for all the comments in my "Chase away the winter blues giveaway". I really enjoyed reading all of them. I find myself wishing that I could give away fabric to all of you, and I probably could gather the fabric..........I just couldn't cover the cost of mailing. LOL!

You all have a good Monday!

Saturday, February 4

Are you a Project Runway fan?

If you answered "yes" to that question and you live here in Minnesota then you might be interested in this.........

.............specifically in the tickets you see there. They are for a very special event on February 16th at the Scott County Historical Society called "Ladies Night In"!!!  The special guest for the evening is former Project Runway contestant Christopher Straub!!
One of the tickets above is entry to the event and the other ticket is for a chance to win that lovely little Petal Clutch designed by Chris (the one you see on the ticket, not the vintage one in my photo). I ordered up my tickets as soon as I learned of the event.  I'm a Project Runway fan (and also a big fan of the Scott County Historical Society!) and grew up dreaming of a career as a fashion designer so I am looking forward to this fun evening. If you'd like tickets, too, just go here for the details. The event is hosted by the Scott County Historical Society at the Stans Museum in Shakopee, Minnesota. It's a great museum that currently has two exhibits you might enjoy.........."Under Where? Unmentionables Exposed" and "Marking Time: Rituals of Life and Death". 
Be there or be square!!!

Thursday, February 2

Eyes made out of coal.......Snowman features tutorial!

Finally....the promised tutorial for making eyes of coal, a carrot nose and a raisin mouth for "Charlie's Snowman"!
I've worked with polymer clays for more than 25 years. I began making tiny items for my miniature scenes...... fruit and vegetables, donuts, cookies, fudge, flowers, birds, etc. etc!! I also liked to make jewelry and that led to classes in clay-crafting at Frank's Nursery and Crafts. Boy, does that date me!!! Franks was bought by Michael's Arts & Crafts and I taught classes there and in our local community ed program in Prior Lake. Kids really enjoyed my after-school clay classes and it was while I was teaching those classes in the late 1990's that I made "Charlie's Snowman" and gave him clay features for a three-dimensional look. The clay is easy to work with and if you have ever enjoyed playing with old-fashioned modeling clay, then you will enjoy working with polymer clay products. The great thing is that whatever you make can be baked in your home oven!
Let's get started..........
First, you will need clay. I use a variety of clay products. I began using FIMO, then Sculpey, then Premo. All have a different texture when you are working the clay and they all have a slightly different look when baked. For the snowman features, I used for the eyes, orange for the nose and a purple mix for the raisin mouth. The orange for the nose is also a blend.  You'll need a little pan or cookie sheet for baking, a couple of clay tools, and some wire.
Step 1. The eyes. Break off bits of the black clay about the size of a pea.
Step 2. Roll them just a tiny bit between your fingers but do not make them perfectly round. Remember that coal chunks are just that .......... chunks. :-)  You will make the "raisins" the same way. Note that I have taken a purple mix of clay and added some black to it. Blend this well and you will get sort of a dark burgundy that reminds me of raisins.
Step 3. The wire is needed so you can string your "coal eyes" on it so that you will be able to sew them to the Snowman's face. The raisins are a bit tiny and a bit of a challenge but make a bunch and you will get the few you need for the snowman's smile. :-)  In the photo below you can see that I have placed a string of eyes and a string of raisins over the top of the little pan. This is so they don't bake "flat" on the bottom. I always do this when making beads for jewelry, although it probably isn't necessary for this project.
Step 4. In the photo above, you can see that I have five chunks of clay ready to make into carrots.  A chunk about the size of an almond is a good start. Begin by rolling the chunk into a ball. Then squeeze one end with your finger as shown in the photo below. The next step is to take the shape and stand it up so that it is flat. Notice the little bit of wire that I shaped that will be inserted into your carrot nose. I am using the clay tool to score lines on the carrot to make it look more real. When you think your nose is just right, push the wire loop into the carrot.
Step 4. Place your carrots in the pan and get ready to bake. Follow the directions on the clay package (generally 275 degrees for ten minutes).
Step 5. Let the pieces cool after you take them from the oven. Your features will be hard and durable when sewn onto your Snowman's face.
If you have any questions, please e-mail me and I will try to answer. I'm not an expert, just have had fun making stuff with clay for many years. I haven't worked with my clay in years. The last time I had it out was about three years ago when my grandson and I made lots of fun critters and stuff. I almost forgot I had this tray of pieces that are "jewelry-in-progress".  I should really finish these! Several years ago, I earned blue ribbons at the county fair on a couple of pieces.  I should enter again. Add that to my "to do" list. :-)
Working with the clay is very relaxing, often therapeutic. For several years, I taught clay-crafting at the Women's Correctional Facility in nearby Shakopee. One student was extremely talented. Most of us can recall playing with modeling clay as children and it was always fun to create some great piece of art!   Next fall, I'll be sharing the how-to for making Christmas ornaments from clay and will share a tutorial for clay Christmas trees here on my blog.
When it comes to tools for working with the clay, I use a little bit of everything..........tiny cookie cutters, a mini grater, scissors, toothbrushes, old hair curlers (great for adding texture to mini oranges), rollers, knives, and a wide assortment of dental tools that my dentist gave me. :-)  I keep it all in this fold-up make-up tote.
When I was teaching, I had a number of books that I would recommend to students. There were over a dozen that I used to have but I gave a few away and kept these favorites..........
Most of these are from the late 90's and early 2000. I am sure there are new books on the market that are just as good. However, these are really good with beautiful projects, great instruction so you could look for them on Amazon or e-bay if they are of interest to you.

That's all for this little tutorial but again.......if you have questions, e-mail me or leave a comment with your question.
Just want to say......Thanks for your well-wishes for my husband. He had a bad flare-up of arthritis in his knee and he's finally better now. He went to work today and I got caught up on stuff.  If it was me......I'd have gone to the doctor.  But.......that's kind of a guy thing I think to "tough it out". Anywhooooo, having him home from work kind of interrupted my project plans. Then a couple other family things needed doing and you know how it just happens. :-)
One thing that's not happening around here is snow. The mild Minnesota weather continues and tonight it is foggy which means it's fairly warm!!  Going to be in the 40's this weekend. Snow and ice events are being canceled because there is no snow and the ice is too thin for safe skating!  Oh, my but Mother Nature is really mixed up this year!  Going to enjoy it as travel is very easy when weather is this mild.
Have a good Friday everyone!  Next post I'll be telling you about something really special going on locally. Back soon..........
"Peace can be found in the piecing of a quilt."
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