Sunday, September 27, 2009

Busy Busy!

I've been so busy this week that I haven't even had time for major haunting. I have been too busy haunting my sewing areas. I managed to find time to finish a few projects. Here is a picture of my design wall with all the projects I finished. Two paper pieced blocks, a crazy log cabin bag, and the Applique BOM that will be up in the store by Monday. I've finished a few other things too, like three apple blocks for our guild's BOM, and yet another tomato quilt block. I'll show those when I get them all done and the top finished.

Meanwhile today I've also been paper piecing for the guild's new charity project. Yes, guild members who read this, I am doing 9 of these blocks! NINE! Count them NINE! Only one person I know of has done more and that's Evelyn who did 12 of them. So what about all of you, are you nearly finished with the one two or three that you took to do? I will be calling for them soon. I thought we could start putting them together at the November Saturday Sew, those that are finished at least.

So let the badgering commence! Ok, so just a friendly reminder as of yet!

On my list of todos for this afternoon are: finishing the rest of the blocks for the Lovable Huggable mystery, Machine quilting "Dancing with Bats" wall hanging, and finishing the Applique BOM, crossed hearts for guild.

Now for the shameless plug: Go in and see that projects we are planning for Saturday workshops at Interquilten. There is a simple fun raggy scarf that would be perfect for a kid to make for her grandma! Also have Tawni show you the easy "smart bag", a travel bag for jewelry, and a spiffy notebook holder. All of these are easy and able to finish in a couple of hours.

I did manage to get to Border's this week. We saw this woman who had a cool bag. She gave us the name of the website where she got it but it went straight out of my head! Go figure. I also found a neat book on Halloween ideas for my Sister-in-law's big party. So that is going in the mail this week along with Ann Nelson's yarn and my brother's birthday card!

Oh and for those of you who asked, here is a picture of my movie expert at Cherryland Family Video, His name is A.J. and this week he suggested I watch "Observe and Report" which is similar to the previous film on the same topic "Paul Blart: Mall Cop". I had not seen either of them so I rented them, and as you can see I'm not recommending them.

But he's pretty cute anyway right? And he always calls me "My Dear" when I come in! Makes an old lady smile to have a young man say that to her!!!

OK, so this week Jeff has off and we are planning to take a trip up to Marquette. No doubt I'll see some sites to report on up there. I hope to see some color even though it's a little early for it here yet.

That was my boring week. I'll see if I can take some classes up in Marquette. There is a great little fabric store up there.

See you when I get back from my Marquette haunts!

Cindy K-K
The haunter!

Monday, September 21, 2009

How was your weekend? Mine was gruelling, thanks!

How do you like this guy? His name is "Dancing with Bats" and he is available at Interquilten. Come in to the shop and take a closer look at him.

Now that the shameless plug has been accomplished, I'll tell you about my grueling weekend.

It started out on Saturday with a quilt-a-thon to benefit QAC (pro. Quack) the Quilters Against Cancer. It's a Michigan based group geared toward raising money for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer who do not have insurance. The quilt-a-thon was sponsored by Interquilten and was attended by members of three area quilting guilds. I got action shots of the cutting,


and ironing.

We managed to make at least a dozen quilt tops and over the next few weeks we intend to get them machine quilted and bound in order to send them off so they can be sold on the QAC website. I will keep you informed of when and how to bid on one of these quilts.

Sunday morning I rose early and met Tawni at her house in Interlochen. (For those of you who don't know, Tawni Gilmer is the owner of Interquilten which I guess makes her my boss, although she doesn't act like it. She treats me more like a valued friend whose opinion she respects. Go figure!)

Anyway, we drove down to Chicago for a little thing they like to call Fabriganza! The Troy Distributors opened up their warehouse and store owners were allowed to walk through and pick up whatever bolts they wanted. We were able to get some batiks as well as some Halloween panels that we had been out of for a long time. We'd had lots of fun cutting kits for these little Halloween panels and we had been out of them for some time. I'll get a picture of it and post it for all of you to see.

When we arrived it was a gorgeous cool sunny day. As you can see, the sky-line of Chicago is just lovely.

The Troy Warehouse is in a very nice neighborhood filled with these little brownstones. This one had a particularly lovely garden out front. There were a lot of Spanish signs in the window fronts, which was probably indicative of the local ethnic make-up.

We got in and started shopping. Periodically they announced a speaker and we went to hear three of them. The first two had fairly good talks on how to boost sales in the store through display and book support and other good ideas. But the third one, a young lady from a distributor of quilting books, was showing very creative ideas on embellishing and how to sell new idea type books. This is one of the quilts that she showed.

The idea of course is to have the display model up on the wall and in front of it have strips of fabric cut with the Triangles on a roll. The customers take the bundle of triangles home with them and sew them up and then they bring them back to trade with other triangles that you have in a bin in the store.

Interlochen is the home of a music academy as many of you know, so Tawni and I are always looking for musically oriented fabric and patterns. This quilt was on display also at Troy.

While we were in there the weather changed a little. It got warm and muggy and started to rain on and off. I still wanted to take a few pictures of the architecture in Chicago though.

We were planning on spending the night somewhere on the road but we stopped in South Haven for dinner and felt pretty good so we kept on going and got home by midnight. So in case anyone wants to know if you can make it to Chicago and back in one day, YOU CAN!

You're friendly neighborhood Haunter
Cindy K-K

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Haunting at Mackinaw and Indian River

I DID IT!!! I Actually walked the entire length of the Mackinaw Bridge! It was not the ordeal that I was anticipating either. I nearly backed out several times remembering what happened last time I tried. But I am 100 pounds lighter now and I am in way better shape than I was last time. This was a true mile stone in my life!
I am very proud of myself!
Walkers from left to right are myself, Joann Day, Terise Gavar, Anne Nelson, and Suzy Bouwsma.
There was a record crowd there, the five of us that walked had a contest with a Fat Quarter at stake each as to how many walked. The total was almost 50,000 people. The winner of our pool was Anne the only non-quilter! But she's a knitter, so we are all going to find her a ball of yarn to send anyway. It was right that she won, it was her birthday and all we got her was some cupcakes and a card! I didn't get to know her very well because she was in the very back of the van and I was in the front next to my driver (read husband). But Joann described her as one of the kindest people she had ever met. Jeff was a real sport that day. He drove us up there and waited in traffic jams that were miles long to get us to the other side of the Bridge and to pick us up afterward. Jeff is in good with the parking gods, not the traffic gods so this was especially trying for him. He really deserved this cupcake.
Everyone who meets Terise loves her (I hope your reading this) because she is so funny and bubbly and in her own way wise about life. She is genuinely interested in people and she listens to them even if what they are saying is nonsense.
After the walk we needed to get the heck out of Dodge (Mackinaw) so we got back on the freeway and drove down to Indian River where we had picnic lunch and visited the the Cross in the Woods. We learned that we were all very spiritual and this little pilgrimage was just the right thing after that grueling feat! Suzy, my best friend, is the one who planned it and made most of the wonderful potluck picnic that we ate.

By the time this photo was taken we were hanging onto each other for dear life. We could have all stood there and posed for hours as long as we were holding onto each other. Posers are from left to right, Suzy Bouwsma, Anne Nelson, Terise Gavar, me, and Joann Day. I had met Joann Day when Suzy invited her to come to Borders. Then I ran into her no less than twice at her job when I was undergoing all that surgery last year. Joann is a recovery room nurse. She took care of me when I had my stomach surgery. There were only two words to describe how I felt, Pain--Heat! Every single thing that Joann did for me that day relieved me in some way. I love Joann with all my heart not because of what she has done for me, but because she is who she is!
For those of you who have never been there, Cross in the Woods is a giant crucifix. It is made from an Oregon Red Wood Tree and is 55 feet high and 22 feet wide. It has the figure of Christ cast in bronze which is 28 feet long from head to toe, and weighs 7 tons. The cross was completed in 1959. It was designed by Michigan Sculptor Marshall Fredericks. Several very interesting things have been built around this monument and the grounds have been decorated with many more sculptures and statues, including the three I show here.
The Blessed Kateri, a Native American of the Algonquin Nation who was converted in 1674 at the age of 18. What attracted me to the sculpture was the depiction of turtles at the base. Her father was the chief of the Mohawk tribe, the Turtle Clan. She was declared "Blessed" by Pope John Paul II in 1980.
Saint Francis of Assisi is a most beloved saint. His sculpture is located in a wooded grotto surrounded by pine trees. I could easily imagine the night time when the animals come out of the woods and I wonder if the animals are drawn to the this lovely place where the saint who so loved them is present. St. Francis is the patron saint of ecology.
This lovely sculpture of the holy family is placed within easy view of the outdoor cathedral. It carries with it a blessing for the family and a prayer to keep our own families safe and strong. Joann said she always gets emotional when she sees this sculpture. We discretely did not take any pictures of her after her visit to the Holy Family.

This great day is something I will remember all my life.

I'll go back to reporting on projects for next week. Have a good one!
Cindy K-K
The Haunter at Mackinaw! LOL!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

What's wrong with my Brain?

I've been asking this question all week. It's almost as if all those surgeries last year sent me into an early version of senile dementia! This week was a prime example.

Last Sunday my good friend Sharon and I got together for a Girl's Day IN! We shared a bottle of Bubbly, and well, I guess I've already told you most of what happened. But my point here is that for a day or two after drinking that heavily I don't quite function properly.

The next day I had a taught a class on Dimensional quilting. Two of my tried and true beginning students took the class. (I really need to start taking pictures at my classes.) Anyway, I showed up at my regular time for class, a little after Five pm. The time I usually get there. They were there and set up. I walked in and said, "Oh heck, this class was scheduled at five wasn't it?" I had totally forgotten that I had scheduled that class earlier than the others.

So the next day, Tuesday, was the guild meeting. I was determined to be organized for it. I had spent about four hours on Saturday on the phone confirming with people that Maria has signed up to teach classes and Saturday Sews. There were a couple of other leads too that I wanted to follow up and I managed to get a hold of a couple of them as well. So I thought I was prepared.

I spent most of the day Tuesday working on a project called Discharge Dying. This is an interesting technique of making images by removing dye from an already darkly dyed fabric. I used a solid black and also a dark red and a navy blue fabric and then I experimented with a bleach pen and also bleach straight from the bottle applied with either a Q-tip or a paint brush. They both worked fairly well. The fabric with the curly-q's on it used a bleach pen and at the bottom you can see the bubbles where the pen was starting to run out.

The face was a picture I got off the Internet of an album cover of Paul Simon. And the words I used were song lyrics from his Graceland Album. I saved the picture to my hard drive and then brought it up on Paint Shop Pro. It was only about 2 inches square so I blew it up to 4 inches. The resulting picture was very pixelated so I put a piece of regular typing paper over my computer screen and traced the light parts of the image making sure to make complete shapes and not just lines, because I knew that I would have to fill in the shapes with the bleach. It was still too small for a t-shirt so I put the resulting drawing in my copier and blew it up another 200%. I then had the size I wanted. I got out my light board and traced the image onto the test fabrics and onto the front of my shirt.

I used a brown 100% cotton T shirt. There was no way I could test the t-shirt fabric ahead of time without ruining it. But as luck would have it the brown beached out to a wonderful peachy pink. If I had known that color was underneath that yucky brown I might have tried beaching it out sooner. I didn't really like that t-shirt as it was so I wasn't overly concerned about wrecking it. Now of course I think it's my favorite t-shirt.

You can see the results of the two test fabrics. The red one has a pretty nice image even though you can barely see it. The black one ran into the fabric and I ended up using a Sharpy pen to re-define the image. (I think that one ended up looking less like Paul and more like Barack! But oh well, thems the breaks!)

I then threw everything in the washer and washed it up. It was dried in time for me to wear my new t-shirt to the guild meeting.

I was very overwhelmed at the guild meeting and stuttering more than usual. During my program on discharge dying someone (Clover McKinley, I think) asked me if people should be concerned about the fumes? I said, "You mean I should have been in a more ventilated area? You mean the fact that I've been breathing in bleach fumes all day is probably why my brain isn't working properly tonight?" Everyone was laughing hysterically, point made, I went back to the questions!

The rest of the night went great. We now have yet another Applique project to do.

OK, since I have a little time, I want to talk about Applique this week.

I have made a solemn vow to work on Applique this fall until at least January. To that I have also added hand work of any sort. I have a list of applique and hand work projects to finish which is now up at the left hand side of this blog. I have also signed a contract to finish the Grandmother's Flower Garden (GFG) quilt before the January guild meeting as well. So I have my work cut out for me.

Because I have this promise in place, I am now looking at all kinds of new Applique projects as being possible. Yesterday, while working at the shop, I noticed a nice pretty little project with appliqued circles that looked somewhat oriental. I realized that we had the perfect fabric for that project there in the shop so I decided to make it for Tawni as a surprise. I got the fabrics all cut out while I was there (waiting for customers) and last night when I got home I managed to applique all twenty circles onto the blocks. Today I will put the top together by machine.

I also have to finish another fused applique wall hanging today. If I get it all done I'll report on it next week.

My work is cut out for me today so I had better get to it!

See ya next weekend. I'll be haunting up near Mackinaw tomorrow.

Cindy K-K
The Haunter!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

I'm Haunting Again

Hey everyone,

I am getting ready for the big Bridge walk this coming weekend. It's a 6 mile walk. I've only attempted it once before and I didn't make it. I had a stroke of Arrhythmia about 4 miles into it and the ambulance drove me the rest of the way back to Mackinaw City. But this time I will make it. I am 100 lbs less than I was that day, and I now know for sure that I can walk 4 miles, because I did it this past week.

Here are the pictures of what I saw on my walk.

This is a little garden yard in my neighborhood, on Boon Street. I've been watching this little yard for years but this year I noticed this lovely Cairn standing there, with the piece of volcanic rock topping it, just like in the movie "Shawshank Redemption." Interesting I thought. And I wondered if the owner of this property was as big a fan of that movie as I am.

Next I saw this lovely metal statue of a praying mantis. This was in a little roadside garden next to a health facility on Hastings Rd. Here are two more pictures of this same garden.

It's in a kind of industrial blighted area so it's totally out of place and I don't think it gets noticed much, but it was worth stopping for a look.

My weekend got very busy, so I apologize for being late with this blog. Sunday was fantasy football draft day, and so us two "girls" got together to talk, knit, and share a bottle of bubbly. Man did we talk! I'm not even going to go into what we talked about, our lives, and our husbands, and our gossipy little innuendos. Nothing worthy of mention here! We had a great time and even got a little knitting done. Sharon is a spinner, and she had three skeins of a bulky gold yarn that had been in the shop and didn't sell, so she gave it too me. She kept insisting I take it even after I had decided I wanted it! So I borrowed some needles from her and started a pair of mittens and I may have enough left for a hat. I'll keep you posted as I get the components done.

Anyway, Here are a couple of things I actually did get done this week.
This is the latest applique block for my Applique Club. I got it done and in the shop so people can see what the next project is. I have the third project well underway as well. I intend to get one done every month from here on out.

This next project is a top that I'm starting. This is the background and I'm not sure what's going to go in it yet. I think I am going to try a scrapbook quilt of some sort.
I bought a couple of pieces of shiny object type things to put in it. I think I will have to call it my ADOSSO project. (ADOSSO=Attention Deficit, Oh $hit, Shiny Object!)((This statement was told to me by my friend who designed this blog template and fellow suffer of the ADOSSO syndrome, Feeby Coats, AKA Spirit.))

I will keep you posted on the progress of this particular shiny object.

Last but certainly not least is the pattern for the Mended Hearts. I have written up my version of the pattern and it will start to be available for sale at Interquilten in the next few weeks. Anyone else who would like a copy of this pattern can e-mail me. I believe they will be retailing for about $8.00. Here are two views of one quilt I made from this pattern. I have made about four of these quilts in different color schemes but somehow, they have all disappeared.

There is a story behind this one and why I still have access to it. I was finishing it up at a quilting retreat and my BFF Suzy kept saying, Oh what a beautiful quilt, you're making that for me right? Normally I would say, "Yeah sure," or "Sorry, you don't mean enough to me," or some other sarcastic remark. But this time I'm thinking (and expressing) how tired I am of doing these particular blocks and projects, and I'm so not enamoured of finishing this one. Well, By Saturday night my shoulders were so tight and pained from all that heavy quilting, I started complaining and thinking I should quit and go to bed early. Suzy came up behind me and started to give me a neck rub. It felt so good that after about ten minutes I said to her. Oh, OK, it's yours. I grabbed the quilt and threw it at her. She has kept it ever since and just loves it. So when I needed a new picture of it for the pattern I asked her to bring it to Borders and had two of the gals hold it up for me.

More has happened since the weekend already, yes I live a very busy life! But I will detail those things this coming Sunday in my next post!

Thanks for reading! And go rent "Shawshank Redemption" this week if you haven't seen it recently.

Cindy K-K
Haunting again!