rocket tracking


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Surprise in the Garden: Parrotia persica

 This week one of the many tasks I had was to prune a few trees in my garden. Without a little help, sometimes poor growth, crossing limbs or just congested growth takes place. While this may not be major, pruning it and working to make the tree the best it possibly can be is a good thing.

I was dumbfounded when I came to my Parrotia persica, or Persian Ironwood.  I've written about it before, especially since it has pretty fantastic fall foliage.  In my tree's case, it is brilliant yellow with streaks of intense red.  You can see it here on my older blog post.
I knew it was related to the witch hazels (hamamelis species) but other than the leaf shape, and the growth pattern (prone to congestion...sometimes people describe it as the "green wall") I didn't really clue in.  This week changed all that. I didn't even remember it had blooms! But like witch hazel, it is blooming now with the spectacular deep red blooms.  I will have to watch to see if they open any wider, but they are about 1/2" in diameter.

If this isn't good enough to sell you on the tree....take a look at this photograph by Vibernum Valley....Mine is only now beginning to show this patterning. I planted it about 6 years ago, and it is now about 4" in diameter.

Way cool.  I'm glad I planted it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Bouquet from Debbie Black

Debbie Black's antique shaker bouquet, detail.L

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to be able to go to our Batty Binder's retreat at a nearby Girl Scout Camp.  It's always a lot of fun.  Debbie Black is a Batty Binder who loves antique and vintage things and she's always working to incorporate them in her house.  Here is a "bouquet" of button flowers which stand in an antique shaker.

Debbie is great for buttons...she always has lot of really fun and interesting ones, and she's really generous and often shares with me and others.

Debbie Black's button bouquet, overall

Here you can see the overall piece.

Debbie also loves working with wool, and making primitive style pieces.  She draws very well but never gives herself credit for it.

Here is a needle case she made...I'm not sure what she's going to do with the mitten..unless that's a second needle case.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Heart throbs and Mistyfuse

Last month, for Fast Friday Fabric Challenge, I hosted the challenge and wanted people to explore texture.  For my submission, I did a realistic sort of heart.... I took some strange braided Mylar tubing which I purchased on clearance after Christmas.  I think it was intended for specialty gift wrapping.  I machine appliqued it down, then made the various parts of the heart, hand stitching the blood vessels with perle cotton, then adding machine stitching over the top.  Each segment was stuffed to give it dimension.  I added an EKG line which I based on a "normal" EKG I found on line...(only my nurse friends said that if they saw a line like that, they would be very concerned about the patient.

Hopefully, you can see it a bit better in this version.  This isn't completely finished, in fact the tape you see around the edges was to help me stop quilting at a quarter of an inch from the edge.....but for some reason, my Bernina was having fits....I broke three needles (size 100) trying to quilt through a layer of monk's cloth (the background) fused to Decor Bond, a layer of warm and natural and a backing of plain cotton.  The needle went down on the stroke, hesitated then broke the needle....and I wasn't moving the quilt sandwich.  So, I wasn't able to finish it and off the machine went to see what was wrong with it (according to the Bernina shop....nothing....).

One of the FFFC participants suggested that I add more lines of ekg....which was bobbin work with blue perle cotton. I have added lines in Photoshop (none too well I might add) to see what it looks like.  What do you think? Should I add more lines? Inquiring minds want to know.

Since my hands are not being very happy or useful, I wasn't able to hand applique these pieces preferred method.  Instead, I used Mistyfuse to help me out.

Here's what I did....

I took a little strip of left over Mistyfuse....I know it is hard to see, but you can really get an idea about how thin this stuff is.  You really can't feel it if you are hand quilting through it and it doesn't stiffen the fabric much at all.

I took the piece I wanted to applique, and ironed the freezer paper template over the top, on the RIGHT side.

The freezer paper gives me an edge to turn the fabric against.

I tucked the piece of Mistyfuse under the turned edge, which I am holding here with a chopstick, and ironed the edge down with my little Clover iron.

I know you can't really see it against the Reynold's Baking Parchment...and I apologize...I was using a friend's ironing board and I didn't want to risk leaving anything behind...and I had forgotten to tuck my Goddess Sheet (Attached Inc.'s teflon sheet) in my work bag.

After a few seconds, I pull the "tail" of the Mistyfuse melts and is quite easy to do, leaving the adhesive behind.

If I were really doing this, I would go around the entire edge, but this is being held well.  When I finish fusing the entire thing, I smack it down flat one more time.

Iris says she is working on bringing out some smaller "rolls" of Mistyfuse.  I'd love it...I think I really want 1/2" and 1/4" rolls....This would also be great for fusing bindings...

Once again, I am participating in Nina-Marie Sayre's "Off the Wall Fiber Friday"  and for once, I'm actually posting on a Friday! Yay!

You can see everyone else's posts if you go to her blog here.

Please also keep on checking Pozible's listing for the fund raising for the Tent Maker's of Cairo!  We're almost there, but they still have a bit to go!

Thanks also to Lynn Mosher who took the photos while my hands were otherwise occupied.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Please fund the Tentmakers of Chareh El Kiamhiah

You may recall that back in August I attended the AQS show in Grand Rapids, Michigan and was delighted to be able to see the show Jenny Bowker first brought to England.  While in Egypt, Jenny had met the Egyptian tent makers who were making fantastic pieces of fiber art.  She brought them to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England.  When she wrote about this, I thought I would never get to see them, and was spectacularly impressed by the show which the American Quilter's Society sponsored.  I wrote about it here .

Since that time, Kim Beamish began working on a full length documentary movie about the tent makers whose art is slipping away through modernization (printed textiles replacing the handmade pieces) and from the result of the fewer tourists in Egypt after the Arab Spring.

John Hopper has written a wonderful post on his blog about this.  You can see it here.  You can also see more on Kim Bemish's Facebook Page for the Tentmakers.

In order to help fund the film, you can help by donating through Pozible.    There are only 9 more days to make donations and the film is 80 percent funded.  While it may be the cost of weeks worth of a basic  cup of coffee at Starbucks, this can make a difference in the lives of these men as well as getting the word out about their wonderful art.  I just think of the many times I have squandered $10.  Here is an opportunity to pay it forward.

Please donate. Your account is only charged if the total amount necessary is met.  They are only looking for a total of $20,000 in order to cover production and the "hard costs."

This is my birthday month....and I choose to make a donation in honor of me to this worthy cause. How about you?  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Miami County Court House, Troy, Ohio

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sometimes You are Pleasantly Surprised.

Things have been REALLY nuts around Casa Quintana lately....things like flying to Atlanta for a training session 2/7; coming home late afternoon 2/9, going to Erie, PA for something for my husband, coming home, taking care of things (and recuperating  and going for a weekend quilt retreat on 2/15.  Add in there working on Taxes and my daughter's FAFSA report.....and things have just been a tiny bit nuts.

On Thursday of last week, I got a note from a friend telling me about an exhibition to benefit a cancer clinic.  I'm always up for doing things like that..even if I was leaving for the retreat the next day...and that was the deadline for the show.  Add in that they were looking for things which were bright and cheerful....and well...I had to think a little bit.

This particular piece is one I did in 2007 as part of the Kaufman "Life, Love and Hope" challenge which Luana Rubin of eQuilter put together.  This is my submission..and I suppose it is close to being part of a series as it is based on a poster by Alfonse Mucha, just like "In Orchid Paradise."  The title is, "Life, Love and Hope."  When I look at it now, it seems to me to be a bit...simple.  Too simple.  I can't  pull up a closeup of the faces right now, but I think they are a bit pallid....and of course, I don't like the idea that I pulled so strongly from Mucha.  I'd do it differently now.

They were asking for pieces in particular which would be offered for sale....and I thought I would be happy to part with this one...but something in the back of my head said I should check with my daughter to see if there were any of my quilts she was particularly fond of,  as she has never said much about any of my quilts.

Much to my surprise, she said that this was one of  her favorites....Maybe because I had her pose a couple of times so I could get the arm/hand placement correct...something I often have her do. (At first she would balk, but after a while, I think she began to understand what I was doing and was a more compliant model.)

So....I then asked her about the other I sent them....the Sun Fish I showed earlier this month...and to my surprise, she wanted that one too.  The one which she suggested I offer them was my "Voice of the People"  The frog done in the North West Tribal tradition of Button Robes, or robes of power.  Why? It scares her.

So, I hope to get back to working on new pieces....I have many running around in my head..and fabric and pieces gathered....but this weekend was spend working on a traditional bed quilt for my niece who requested this of me....I'm going to have to institute a new schedule!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Well, Shoot!

Hmm...I suppose that lately this brings up all sorts of concepts.  Mine is just a comment.  I've been away, and back...and while I was away, I tried to blog...only something about the ipad blogger ap sent the posts into the netherworld.

Tonight, I was going to share some things and went to download the photos....only...I can't find the cables.  They're here least they were before I went away.... 

I've been madly working on taxes so I can get the stuff off to the accountant AND fill out my daughter's FAFSA forms...(Free Application for  Federal Student Aid).  That is annoying.  Even if  you don't get federal aid, you need to fill it out.....especially if your child is eligible for scholarships, including academic ones...and once you've filled them have to do it each year the kid is in school.  I just finished the taxes tonight and I plan to fill out the FAFSA either tonight or tomorrow.  

Soo....Here's a share for you.  It is a great PBS show showing fiber artists in Florida.  One segment shows Marianne Williamson.  I had the great pleasure to meet Marianne last year at the Studio Art Quilt Associates Conference in Philadelphia.  She was kind enough to let me tag along as we visited the galleries.  I admire her work and it is great fun to see her actually working in her studio.

The program is about 30 minutes pour yourself a favorite hot (or cold) beverage and enjoy!