Saturday, December 31, 2011

Adios, 2011!!

Not that I have any particularly bad memories of the year, it's been ok.  I think it will go down in my memory as the Year I Learned to Control the Dyes, thanks to a week with Carol Soderlund.  Worth all the other fabric related classes I've taken, and then some.  I'll be taking Part Two with her in July.

I've work short hours since Christmas, and have been BUSY!  Shannon and I made scrubs to give as gifts:

Pumpkin spice brown sugar scrub (smells yummy!)

Sweet orange salt scrub- another heavenly smell.

All nicely packaged and ready to gift- Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrub, Sweet Orange Salt Scrub, Lavender Salt Scrub.

We made kolache, a scrumptious, highly caloric cookie I only make at Christmas.  Butter, cream cheese, flour, and apricot filling- that's it.  But they are to die for.

I decided it was time to get the mis-dyed color swatches done for my Dye Bible.  These are the last of the dozen or so I did, ready for the washout.

And I decided it was time to clean up the studio, I have a Tangled Textile piece I need to get started on this week.  And, what better way to usher in the new creative year?  Wow, I can see the floor of my fabric closet!  I managed to get rid of one plastic storage bin that was taking up valuable storage space, and get other stuff better organized.  And yes, I threw out stuff too!!

Woohoo, Utah just pulled off a win in overtime against Georgia Tech!!  (Sorry, Judy!!)  What a game- BYU won their bowl game yesterday, which meant I really wanted Utah to win theirs.  College football and New Year's- what better combination!

I'm wishing everyone a happy and prosperous New Year, with blessings and creativity.  That's my prayer for the year!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's All About the Food

Because that's pretty much all I did this weekend, play in the kitchen!  We had our family party with DH's sisters and their families today.  We supplied scalloped potatoes and salad, one sister supplied a ham.  Another brought pies- and I had to make cupcakes!!

And, just for the heck of it, I also made cookies and bread, although it wasn't out for consumption at the party.

The bread is a Christmas stollen I make every year.  It's a yummy sweet yeast bread full of almonds, dried cherries, apicots, and blueberries.  Not the traditional fruit, but it's what I like.  I got an early Christmas present of an electric cookie press, so I had to try it out making lemon butter cookies.

I ended up making three kinds of cupcakes.  Gingerbread, because Jaden specifically requested them (and he doesn't request my food very often!).  I also made tiramisu cupcakes, and lemon blackberry cupcakes.  The last ones were the biggest hit.

They all tasted fantastic, but I definitely need practice with the decorating tips.  Fortunately drizzled blackberry puree and cocoa powder can cover a multitude of sins.

We did an inexpensive gift exchange- I ended up with kitchen towels and a fabric bread bowl.  Seems fitting, somehow, doesn't it?

We drank, ate,  played games and just enjoyed the time together.  A lovely way to end the weekend!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Therapy Sewing

Rayna is right, it's the best prescription for the creative doldrums.  Or just the doldrums, in this social worker's opinion!

It started with a Christmas project with Shannon, but I now have a small stash of freeform strips started.  What fun to just grab fabric and start stitching.  Since I started with Christmas, I'm still doing a lot of green and red and gold.  But I have a stash of Easy Pieces blocks that are every shade of purple on my radar.

So the studio is in disarray, with piles of fabric sorted by value.  

My pile of strips is growing.  And think what I can do with those blocks!  Not all the Easy Pieces blocks are purple, I did have some with green so I took those out to play with now.
I am loving how my hand dyed and printed cloth is playing with my commercial fabric stash.  I have enough smaller pieces to keep doing this for quite awhile!!

My first two free form blocks, started with squares that I just kept dividing and adding to.  

 I have no idea how I will end up using these blocks and stirps.  I just know that it is relaxing and fun, and it is something I can do even after ten hours at work.  I am way to tired at night to even think about quilting, which is why 'Grace' is coming along so slowly.  A couple of strip sets or blocks?  No problem!

So thank you, Rayna, I feel like I've gotten two early Christmas presents!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

An Early Christmas Present

I haven't been blogging much lately- I haven't had much interesting to say.  Not a lot of quilty work going on- I did do some more on 'Grace', but it is far from done.  Maybe I'll get to it this weekend, I can only hope.

I did get two lovely presents in the mail this week.  I have three quilts published in two books!!

First came Charlotte Warr Andersen's second book on geometric quilting designs.

  I've used several of the designs from her first book in quilts, including one of the first I did for the Interpret This! online challenge group.  That's the quilt that found its way into this book:

I know I want to use a geometric design in parts of 'Grace', so I have been thumbing my way through both books trying to decide.  The jury is still out on that.

Then a few days later this showed up in my mailbox!

I read the book cover to cover the day I got it.  If you don't have a copy, run get one!  Rayna is fun to read, and I love her approach to design.  This may be just the jump-start I need this winter to get the juices going again.  Heaven knows I have enough stash to sew strips and play with them!! 

'Green' and 'Pinks on Parade' are the two in Rayna's book.

'Pinks on Parade' was gifted to a friend in Grand Junction; the other two are hanging in my studio.

Although I haven't done a lot of dyeing since I took Carol Soderlund's workshop last summer, I played with a scarf last weekend.  I wanted to dye it to coordinate with a sweater I got. The dye bible is worth its weight in gold- I picked the color I wanted, and got just that.  Even the fact that I was dyeing silk instead of cotton didn't seem to make much difference.  Today I got two dye colors from Pro Chem, so I have every color I need to dye from the book.

Winter has definitely rolled into Utah- we missed out on the high winds that blasted a lot of people in Salt Lake northward, but temperatures have dropped and snow is in the forecast.  A good reason to keep warm in the studio!