Friday, September 27, 2013

TV Quilting Shows

Today I decided to try and figure out when the 'quilting' shows air on my cable tv. Having been a working gal most of my adult life, I never really made the time to check out quilting shows on TV.
So, I looked at the channel guide and figured out that the primary channels that might air these type of craft shows would be HGTV, DIY network and Create channels. I know that some of the PBS stations might also have a few possibilities.

I was really disappointed to find out that the majority of these networks do not have an abundance of shows regarding quilting that air on a regular basis. Am I missing something here? I know that several big names in the industry have online shows and channels where you can catch shows, but I think they must be something you have to pay for in order to watch them.

Does anyone that live in the NJ area and has Cablevision, know if there are shows that air on PBS or other channels? Have we become a society where reality TV rules and no one wants to do quilting on TV anymore?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Time to Reflect

As the sound of the "you can never look back' runs through my brain, I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to meet some friends and ex-colleagues for lunch today just to catch up. I am excited about seeing them again because I very much enjoyed working with them both and we used to lunch together once a week or so. I also want to turn in some paper work so I can get paid with my final expenses and severance that is due to me at the end of the month. I believe I am now in a better place than I was just one month ago, being self-employed and working to establish my own business instead of trying to keep someone else's company afloat during turbulent times. Part of me is reluctant to sign the agreement because it truly favors the ex-employer. However, I just want to walk away from them and move forward, not having to look back on this part of my life again.

I'm happy taking a walk on the wild side at this point. With the beautiful weather outside and a few miles to be spent in the car, the next week has a lot of appointments and meetings with friends scheduled. Each of them has new meaning for me and I intend to make the most of them.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

I Love Autumn

Autumn is my absolute favorite time of the year. The cool, crisp nights, clear skys, and low humidity make for perfect weather. The trees begin their annual colorshow, turning brilliant shades of orange, red, yellow, greens, golds and browns. The crunch of the leaves on the ground, with the acorns littering the sidewalks means that longer dog walks are in order for the time being. As my plants begin their passive transition into hibernation, the hosta leaves slowly wither and shrink up until the gardens subside their brilliant variegated foliage. I love being able to leave the windows wide open day and night in order to allow the cool breezes to play with the sheer curtains in the windows. The ground is drier now so it makes weeding the garden easier and faster to finish.

Apple picking, pumpkin patches, spiced pumpkin coffee and lattes and craft shows abound. Have you noticed how many pumpkin flavored recipes and items come out this time of year? Every day my Facebook contains recipes for new things made with pumpkin. I am in heaven because I love pumpkin anything. There aren't enough hours in the day to make and enjoy them all. Soon the Halloween and Autumn decorations will give way to the year end holiday decorations. I will think its too soon, keep the oranges, yellow, burgundy and brown things around a bit longer. That reminds me, I need to go in search of some mums to decorate the front of the house.

Its also football season. You can watch football on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and even Mondays right now on TV. I miss going to the Giants games with Mike, but as we have aged we are more comfortable watching them play from the comfort of our own leather couch cheering as we see fit and not having to stand after every play to see the action. I miss the crowds, the noise, the kickoff music and the tailgating. But I love being able to cook during the commercials and watch the game without being squished into a hard seat in between two other people. I prefer watching the game with either dog on my lap or next to it.

Autumn is a time for transition. The days are getting shorter, cooler and more beautiful. The nights are great for sleeping with the windows open. Its time to air out the heavier quilts and feather comforters for the colder weather and service the furnace, well before it is needed.

Off to the garden for me!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Photoshop play

Today I decided to play around a bit with Photoshop to learn how it works and see what I might be able to do to use it in my quiltmaking for images.

I'd used it to edit, mostly enhance the colors and cropping of photos I'd taken before posting them. But I have never really played around with the paintbrush options.

OMG! What fun it is! Easy to use and the possibilities are almost endless.

I started with a closeup shot taken with my webcam.

I cropped the photo to include just the eye area.

Then I tried the different artistic options.

First I clicked on the colored pencil option. Geez! I thought, "I can't use that my family will worry I am suicidal.." Nothing could be further from the truth.

Next I clicked to try the Cutout option. I really like this one and think it can be used to create a self portrait.

Here is the Watercolor option. Mmmmm...what do you think? I think I have a lot more photoshop play to do....

The next option employed was the Drybrush tool. I also like this one very much.

Neon option was the next image I created. Its pretty cool, don't you think?

And finally, this one is the Paint Duabs option that most things look like to me sans eyeglasses....LOL

I encourage you to play around with photoshop and see what kinds of wonderful images you can create using simple pictures taken with your webcam. I believe you will find many new quilts hiding inside.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Selvage Quilts

After having been home for more than two weeks and making fabric covered clothesline baskets like crazy, I decided it was time to sew a quilt instead yesterday. I set out to make a selvage quilt because I have been saving up selvages for a long time and the pile is quite large. It not really a pile, its more a pile of large gallon size zipper plastic bags filled with the selvages cut off fabric ends. The selvages are quite interesting in themselves, they come in all colors, sizes, widths and prints. They have printed words on them, some of them are quite funny to read. Often they have color dots to show the colors used to print the textiles themselves. Example below:

I took numerous selvage edges and sewed them down to a muslin strip. It went pretty fast, because I did 4 strips at a time in a chain piecing fashion. Once I had the strips done, then I trimmed them up to the same side, with nice even edges. Next I needed to decide what to put in between them to set them off. I used dove grey shot cotton jelly roll strips from MODA. I really liked the way it turned out. I decided it needed to have borders, so I created 4 more strips on muslin to use outside the grey inner borders and sashing. I had to make these outer strips longer than the original strips due to the inner borders, but eventually I got them to the right size and here is the resulting quilt top.

Now I just need to quilt it, but I am waiting for my Gammill to get back from the spa. I may end up quilting it on my home machine in the interim...

Monday, September 9, 2013

My Plan B

Those of you that know me have probably heard me talk about My Plan "B". Plan B refers to my own business, a quilting, teaching, crafting, writing and creative business. I have been working on developing and moving towards my plan B for more than 12 years now. Here is how it began. I found myself unemployed after 9/11/2001, almost 12 years ago to the day. I decided I was done with the corporate life and purchased a long arm quilting machine to start my own business. I was single, financially comfortable and well, looking to be self employed. That lasted about 2 months because my former boss came after me to join a new company and work for them. At first I said no to the request because I wanted to live my dream. Then my practical side kicked in and I realized I could work a 3 month gig full time, pay for the machine without touching my retirement savings and get on with it. Long story short, the 3 month gig turned in to an almost 12 year job at an internet portal for ocean shipping. I enjoyed working there because of the people, but in the background in my spare time, I still longed to have a more creative job and not work for someone else. Two weeks ago, I was downsized from my job that 'was eliminated for cost savings'. And I welcome this change. I have been getting tons of things done that I put off to make Plan B a reality. I purchased websites to be used to create an online presence, I've been cleaning and organizing my workspaces in the house, and looking at changing my expenses to more economical means. In addition, I have been networking in the creative arts with like persons who are successful with their own businesses and brands. Its been a very fun adventure so far. My long arm is having a spa visit, to be serviced and upgraded so that I can put it back into quilting for myself and others. I have been working on writing a couple of books and gathering ideas on whether to publish e-books, online, hardcopy or all of the above. So many choices. The world is my apple and I look forward to springing forward into the autumn season with a sense of renewal, creativity and flexibility unlike anything I have felt in the last 12 years. Life just keeps getting better and better.

Stress - Does it affect your quilting? or not?

I am just pondering how many of you feel or believe that stress in your life (job, family, health, financial, etc.) affects your ability to quilt or not? For me, I have found that the more stress I am under lends itself for me to quilt more! I guess quilting is my escape from the things that cause the stress and the actual physical movements and concentration on the art of quilting allows me to put those situations out of my mind and body while I am quilting. Many of us think of quilting as our therapy. Taking needle and thread to cloth, albeit an electronic needle, seems to melt away the strife in my life. The time passes very quickly and I find that when I am quilting, I eat less. I know that I am also a stress eater, and quilting allows me to stop that unwanted behavior. I often find that some of the most beautiful quilts I have created were done during some of the toughest spots in my life. I really began serious quilting many years ago when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time I was working two jobs, going to college full time and helping to take care of her while she battled and recovered. I am lucky to be able to say that she is still with us over 30+ years later and I am still quilting. Perhaps that is one reason I quilt, it started then and I realized how much I enjoyed it, all of it. Back then I was not a good quilter. I learned via the lap quilting method by Georgia Bonesteel. I checked a book out of the library and found a way to take the quilting with me. I worked on it everywhere I went because it was portable. I was really proud of that first big quilt, slept under it for years in fact. It has seen its better days by now, but as a sampler that was hand quilted, I learned alot and haven't looked back.