Monday, April 21, 2014

Austen Family Album Update

Yesterday, as I discussed in a previous post here, another quilt block in the Austen Family Album "quilt-along " was introduced. This was number three and honors Jane Austen's father, the Reverend George Austen. It's called "Cross Within Cross". You can check it out on this blog.

So, how am I doing? You may well ask. I realized last week when I needed to finish up the first block before starting on figuring out the second, that I could easily and quite quickly fall very far behind!

The first block, "Bright Star for Jane Austen," which I paper pieced, turned out like this:















                                                      The second block was "Sister's Choice for Cassandra E. Austen." I needed to piece it conventionally as I said in last week's blog. Here is a photo of the the un-trimmed block. I finished it this morning. Once I committed to conventional piecing, the color/fabric choices and placement took longer than I imagined.  The center and the dark half squares are a Japanese cotton fabric called kasuri, that my friend Julie blogged about a couple weeks ago in this entry. This piece came from a recycled yukata. I still need to "square up" but am happy that the piecing is completed.

Onward to the Rev. George!
                                                                                            

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

And a Finish!

I wrote the other day about working on the Austen Family Album. Today I'd like to show you a finished project. Like most sewists I get requests from all sorts of people for help on different kinds of projects. I try to really limit my acceptances to really close friends for things that I know a little bit about. You may know that I recently moved to an apartment. It so happens that two friends moved from houses to condos near me at about the same time.  I benefited from extra furniture and the use of larger vehicles to mention just two things. So when one of these friends asked if I could re-cover the seats on dining room chairs I answered in the affirmative. We shopped for fabric last week and today was set as the day we'd start the project.

I'm happy to report that the project is completed and it's only mid-afternoon!  All of us are really pleased with the finished projects. Here are some photos:
These were originally covered in a brown tweed fabric. The grey really seems to "go with" the black metal of the chair frames.

The "fire" is a modern device using water vapor and lights. No heat; great for Florida.


This is the kitchen set. The seats here were well worn black vinyl.










Great choice of fabric and great cooperation of friends to get the job done.



Sunday, April 13, 2014

Current Works in Progress

I have all of my things moved into my new apartment. I continue to shift and re-pack and place things daily. One of my friends, after asking me what I had been doing that day and hearing my reply said something like, "Honestly, how much more can you shove that bed aside to fit another piece of furniture in to the bedroom?"

Some days I take some time to sew something in my sewing room.  It's a pleasant experience to be able to have both machines and the cutting table set up in the same room and to have a closet where the supplies can be kept. I also unpacked my "new" iron. It's actually a refurbished Rowenta that I bought several months ago and decided to keep for the new place.

I follow several blogs written by quilters and sewists. Recently Julie wrote about an excursion with my lovely Japanese Quilting teacher. It made me think I should be continuing to use the things I learned in her studio all of those Wednesdays in Ichikawa. Along came an interesting challenge in the form of a blog about a quilt-block-a-week project. I must confess that I have not been a lifelong fan of Jane Austen but have recently realized that part of my literary education may be lacking.  So, this seemed to be an interesting way to kill two birds with one stone. I have subscribed to http://austenfamilyalbumquilt.blogspot.com/ On Sundays (this is the second week, so it's not to late to join in) a blog post is written about some aspect of the Austen Family and also contains directions for a quilt block. The patterns are historical ones the blogger has researched.

The first week was a "Shining Star" for Jane Austen. Great! It was easily translated into a paper piecing
pattern.  I have nearly 3/4 of that block sewn. This week, a tribute to Jane's sister, Cassandara called, "Sister's Choice." Oh dear, it's divided into five rather than four so becomes more difficult when making a 12" square. Looks like I will have to bite the bullet and actually cut and piece that one.





I'm using some Japanese fabrics in traditional woven designs. So far browns, reds blue-grey and taupe. I can see that I will need to be a bit better at finishing each weeks' block in that week, or I will soon be hopelessly behind. Still who could resist such an inviting environment to practice and experiment with this special area of sewing skills?


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Exploring My New Neighborhood

This afternoon I took a walk to get some exercise. (Don't want the occasional Twistee Strawberry Sundae to ruin my regimen.) I am just up the street from a large housing area called Timber Oaks. I drive through it quite frequently to get to other places, but this was my first walk.  I was very surprised that very near to an intersection I use often is a Nature Area that includes this little lake. The reason I missed it from the car is that it from the car is that it sits in a large depression in the landscape.  I walked around it in a few minutes.  It is shaped like a doughnut, round with an island in the middle.  There were a few Muscovy Ducks which were no big surprise.  The really big fish I saw was a bit of a surprise.  I think it might have been a catfish, but I'm not sure. There were also some smaller fish of a different kind and some tiny minnow sized ones as well.

I think my friends Laura and Ashley would like the neighborhood.  There is a fenced in area where this fellow sat sunning. There are lots of other visible burrows in the same area.  One wonders if this is where gopher turtles were evacuated to during the construction of Timber Oaks?

Then when I got back home I looked over the railing on the landing of the stairs an saw this fellow (or gal?) strolling across the yard munching on plants as it went.



Thursday, March 27, 2014

Long Time, Nothing New to See

I have been busy. I'm now living in an apartment complex about 7 miles north of my previous abode. I wish I could say I'm totally settled in, but alas I can only claim to have 99% of my "stuff" moved and probably 60% of my things are where I'd like them to be.

The apartment is large by the local standard and reasonably priced. I was fortunate that friends who were downsizing have given me lots of furniture. It's been an exciting time and occasionally quite exhausting. I looked at lots of places that are for persons "over 55" and decided that at least for now I'd rather live in a more natural mixture of ages and stages of life.

You might remember this post showing visitors in my old neighborhood. Here are some year round residents that I see several mornings a week:

I see on the Internet that the designation for a group of peacocks is an Ostentation. How appropriate is that?


(Sorry about the piece of lint on the lens.  I thought I had gotten rid of it!)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I think it's finished :-)

Today I sewed the label/pocket to the back of the vintage quilt I've been working on from time to time since last spring. I made the label in the form of a pocket so that I could insert a brief synopsis of what I know of the quilt's history and the repairs I effected, and a couple pictures of the process.

As often happens, when a large project is finished, I feel a mixture of joy and sadness. It was a good project and I learned a lot. I met some nice people along the way

Friday, January 10, 2014

Asian Influence

I was furniture shopping with a friend today and spotted a bunk bed that made me laugh. Here's a photo:
Anyone interested in Japanese antiques has probably come across this type of steep narrow staircase with drawers built into the steps.  They look impossibly small for one with rather larger feet and taller stature, but such staircases were common in older Japanese houses. Here a replica provides the steps to get to the top bunk for American children. I just think it's interesting. (The sheet of Plexiglas is fixed in place temporarily to keep customers' children from climbing up.)