A window of inspiration

A neat window that inspired me.
Window frame with iron scroll work

This interestingly shaped arched window was purchased at a garden center in the heart of Gruene, Texas, about two years go. I thought it would look magnificent in my bathroom where I had a vertical blank spot. Actually all the walls were quite barren as I hadn’t decided what to decorate with in that bathroom. I couldn’t stand the idea of sea shells or a water related theme. It seems so mundane and overdone to me for a bathroom. I wanted something else. At the time I found this frame, I thought it was unique and one of a kind. Since then, I have seen this window and some that are very similar at different gardens and nurseries in Texas. They are really interesting to me though. I love the idea of a window and the concept of framing things in the imagination. With a blank window on a wall, you can put anything you imagine in your mind into that window. Being a romantic and a reader, I would imagine all kinds of things in that window each time I looked at it.

Why Quilting?

I learned to sew as a kid. My mom was a sewist and made my new blue jeans. Okay not jeans, but she did make me some clothes and also those irritating frilly underpanties that they made little girls wear in the mid to late 60’s. I still detest those things. Made my butt itch and the thought of them still does. I think they are coming back in vogue, brought back by mommies who were not subjected to the discomfort and indignity of those horrid little ruffled torture devices.

Talk about getting off topic! Anyway Mom sewed, cub scouts sewed, brownies sewed, I sewed some in high school. I actually took metal shop and woodworking because it was fun and interesting. I took home economics because the cool boys took it (cause they were told the cool girls took it) and there were cookies.

I even made a –gasp– batwing hippie top out of bandanas. Lets just say my foray into clothes sewing was a spectacular failure. But my Mom wished I was less of a tomboy and more girlie so she gave me a sewing machine of my own anyway. I dragged it across 28 states from Nebraska to Maine and back to Texas. I think I used it maybe 5 times to fix a torn something or other. The last 10 years it spent in a box in the garage. I was just not a sewist. I was gonna say sew-er but just couldn’t due to the pun.

Then I joined a non profit group and one of their things was a quilt show. I learned a lot about quilts and saw a lot of quilts. Didn’t feel particularly drawn to them though. They looked like they would take forever to do. But the history and stories about them fascinated me. So, due to,that exposure I started to notice them a lot more. I noticed how completely different people seemed to come together when it involved quilts. I noticed that quilts didn’t have to made of billions of perfectly pointy similar shapes. Then I saw a Jenny Beyer quilt, the one made of hand dyed fabrics with a dancing flowing woman who looks like,her soul has been freed. I saw more artist interpretive quilts…I was fascinated by them. Now this was something I could dig my mind into. I decided it was time to try it out.

Here I am three years later, two new sewing machines, and on my second longarm later, with a fabric sluts anonymous membership.. A quilter.

My first blog post

If you have seen my facebook page, you’d know I’m pretty honest. My mother doesn’t like my choice of language.. or more specifically the choice of words in my native language that I prefer to use. I find some words are just so juicely expressive that one must use the to fully ellucidate their meaning. So, yes, you’ll perhaps be exposed to some choice words if you choose to read or follow my blog. Not a lot, but certainly a few may slip out once in a while.

 

Design considerations

I decided this year to learn more about “design”. So I bought a highly rated book about the topic. Though I decided instead of paint, that I would use my scrap fabric. This lesson was on how tone and color can affect the brains initial interpretation of size and depth (near or far location of an object). Also about how texture can do the same.
Also on how color can disrupt those impressions or distort them.

Look at the next three samples. They have elements laid out the same of the same size and shapes. Ask your self which element is nearer to me? Which element is biggest, which one is smallest? Do this for each image.20130604-014052.jpg

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20130604-014410.jpgThe idea that texture can affect perspective is because naturally we can see more details when objects are closer to us. So lots of texture is interpreted as being closer physically than something that has no texture. Something to keep,in mind in a landscape quilt. You could use two to tonally equal fabrics, but have one with more texture, or denser more complicated patterning in the print. Your brain will ‘think’ its closer.

Making Gurwustraminer Vino

So, the French Cab I made in the spring has turned out absolutely fantastic. My wino friends say it is every bit as good as a 50 buck bottle at a nice restaurant.

With that success under my belt… Thought I’d try a white…

So here I am… I started this batch back in hmmm maybe June… I put the juice in the bucket, added the yeast, added elderberry dried blossoms, and measured specific gravity and all that.

Around the first week of September, I transferred the wine from the fermenter to a glass carboy. Tried to not get the gooky yeast paste from the bottom, and tried to not get the floaty flower blossoms. A bit of sludge and a few blossoms made it through the siphon , but no big deal breaker there, not enough to let it settle and do it again. Plan was in about 10 days to check the specific gravity daily and when it stopped changing, to clear the wine. Yeah!

Then… I forgot about it… As in really forgot about it. This morning Morning, the 29th of October… 8 weeks plus later, I went into the bathroom we never use… And saw my vino…. I’m not sure how 8 days tuned into 8 weeks… But it did.

So today is the day we add isinglass to clear the wine. Awhile back I bought this really cool wine whip gadget that you use on an electric drill. Last time I used it… Well I didn’t follow the shopkeepers instruction of go slow…

when using a wine whip….

Go slow longer then you need to, cause once the wine starts spinning… The CO2 will come out in a rush… After the initial offgassing, you can speed it up.

And, I found out that wine shop guys do know what they are talking about… oh boy, will it ever rush out. As a result of my first whipping attempt last January, I am now the proud owner of a designated wine making T-shirt complete with Custom Cabernet modern art splotches all over it.

Not wanting to add to my custom wine art tshirt collection, this time I drilled my whip slow, and slow… And slow… Then faster…faster… Nothing, no rush of gas… Just the wine is staring to look cloudy and muddy. Oh gosh, what did i screw up? I thought this was “clearing the wine”. I check my directions, check the Internet and call my store guy expert. Turns out that I’d left the wine sitting so long that it had off-gassed by itself. And the cloudiness is great and desirable at this point. The isenglass needs those old yeast particles floating around in order to make the tinier floaties bind to the big globs to make even heavier bigger blobby clumps which will soon sink to the bottom. This is how you get the wine really clear. Or, the wine guy suggested that I could buy a mechanical filter and skip the clearing. It only costs… (didn’t hear this part as I was admiring his ability to smoothly cross-sell and musing about having him train my shop employees on that very great and little understood art form.)

So I’ve whipped, isenglassed, and put the carboy back into the never used bathroom to sit for yet another indeterminant amount of time, before I rack it… I wonder if I’ll be able to give bottles away for Christmas?

[Republished with permission from myself, from Wine on the Porch, Oct 29, 2011]

Textile Artists and Jacobean Laundry Hampers

I’m drinking home-made cabernet sauvignon wine and thinking…

Funny thing happened today in my store. A nice lady came in and brought her daughter. I knew the nice lady was a potter and after much chatting I had the opportunity to ask the daughter what she did. She said she had a studio. She told me she was a textile mixed media artist. I thought that was a cool way to say “I like to make things and I don’t limit myself to just one kind of thing”.  I do too. My computer geekazoid cum sewing room with surround sound and an easy chair with shakers mounted on it serves as my World of Warcraft throne.

The wine has made me mellow and reflective. Three months ago, I got a new sewing machine. “The Husband” says I bought a new car and it looks like a sewing machine. Probably cause I bought the best. Best doesn’t come cheap you know! But what is a 40 something, no kids, good income, compulsive multitasker personality supposed to do? Why give some to charity and also give some to myself of course! I gave myself a Bernina 830 LE with all the bells and whistles to go with it.

I’ve been playing with all the cool gidgets and features. I took a class to get to know my new baby inside and out. Then I made two hawaiian shirts for me and my husband. I made a couple of little passport size purses for quickie outings where you don’t want a big heavy purse (like going to the bars or dancing).

The Bernina “car” embroiders, so I embroidered the employees names onto their Saturday shirts. I made photo frames for a baby shower coming up. I made a present for the bride for a wedding coming up (won’t post the pics of those until I give them away). I started a quilt.

And, I bought a LOT of fabric for a lot of things I want to make along with sewing accessories, patterns, notions and frew-de-fraws.

A “frew-de-fraw” is what my grandmother called the neat interesting stuff that you don’t really need but you want cause you just know you will be able to use it somehow and so it fills the draws.. and lo and behold you sometimes really use it. Once in a blue moon.

But my total justification for having bought this fine useful peice of high tech equipment for my tech toy geek room is… practical! useful! and need I say beautiful! I fixed, nay made, a hamper. I’m so dang proud of myself.

Fancy replacement laundry hamper
Jacobean Laundry Hamper

This was a fun useful project. The old store bought hamper liner blew out (literally clothing went pffft and popped out the side when the side seam blew out). Instead of making a boring old muslin replacement. I decided to dress this up a bit. Upholstery fabric in a great jacobean pattern fit the pattern. Now I won’t mind leaving this out when company drops in unexpectedly.