Friday, August 17, 2012

Have you ever completed a large project and when done, you just don't want to start another large one yet? I've been in that frame of mind for about a month, since I finished Secret Identity (see previous post). So, while cleaning up Secret Identity's mess, I ran across several things. (Amazing, I finished four projects in less than two weeks!)

Years ago, I read an article in Quilting Arts magazine in the Fall 2004 issue called Art Quilting Made Easy that caught my imagination. It incorporated vintage photographs, vintage looking fabrics and embellishments into small wall quilts, measuring 9"x14" or so. Of course, I scanned the article and paid no attention to the actual instructions, but ran with the look of them and made my own.

Here are my efforts. I really like them. They were very easy to complete, the hardest thing to do is figure out the best embellishments to use. (Sorry that the photos make them look misshapen, they really are correctly proportioned!)

 Ancestors I, 8"x10", fused applique onto stiff, thick stabilizer (like Timtex). Lace, buttons, couched pearl cotton, photo transfer onto Electric Quilt's Printable Fabric. Vintage photo of my husband's grandmother.

 Ancestors II, 10"x14", fused applique onto stiff, thick stabilizer (like Timtex). Lace, beads, my handmade tatting, photo transfer onto Electric Quilt's Printable Fabric. Vintage photo of my husband's great grandmother.
So, after I made those, I was rummaging around in a bag of things my friend Shirlee had given me. This bag originally came from another friend, Betty Bryant's stash. After Betty had passed away, her husband gave permission for her friends to go through her things and most of her fabric was sold by our guild as a fund raiser. Shirlee had taken this bag of unfinished items home and recently found it when rearranging her studio. She offered it to me, knowing that I like to make art quilts, as Betty did.

In the bag, I found many fun things, but all would take more effort than I was willing to put in at the moment. I dug deeper until I ran across a sample block that Betty had made for her quilt Confusion. Confusion was made for a Loose Threads (art quilting group) challenge, in which each participant was given an emotion to use to create a quilt. 
I recognized it right away. Betty had used this block to test her quilting idea. She did random lines of stitching, interspersed with a couple of decorative machine stitches with a varigated thread in primary colors. There were scraps from her borders, a black and white and primary colored narrow inner border. I used the scraps to piece a new back, since she had used muslin for the sample and the back is just about as confused as the front! I added a primary colored stripe from my stash for the front border and bound it in black. I love how it turned out, I didn't have to work hard to do it either!

This last one is a project done for a group on Quilt With Us by Connecting Threads. It is a fun community of quilters, who share their work and their lives with others, whom we may never meet in person, but who are friendly and giving. 

There are many small groups to fit anyone's taste. I belong to several and recently a new group called UFO Swap was formed. Diane, the group leader, assigned partners and we were to trade UFO blocks and each create something new and return it to the original owner. 

Gwen sent me these (I had already partially dismantled the left block before I remembered to take a pic): 

And I created this: 

It is 4" wide and about 28" long. The poem says, 
Apple Pie
Sweet, tart apples 
and cinnamon spice,
with love and sugar, 

Secret Identity

Every other year, Tennessee Quilts in Jonesborough, Tennessee issues a challenge called Mountain Messages with a theme to inspire the creation of a quilt. This year the challenge was Outside the Box. Our Blue Ridge Quilter's Guild also uses this theme when the challenge is issued, in order not to conflict and make quilters choose one or the other.
This is my entry:

Mysterious and exotic, this girl is peeking out from the foliage. Is it her hair or the leaves that caress her face? Secret Identity is a study in transparent camouflage using batiks. Raw edge appliqué and seemingly careless free motion quilting add character and texture to the hair and grasses.

For me, Outside the Box meant trying something new, so I challenged myself with making an opaque fabric look transparent. Using two copyright free photographs, I placed the flower over the face in Photoshop and reduced the opacity of the flower to create a transparency and then traced a pattern. The hair and grasses were all cut freeform and placed for a pleasing effect.

Here we are, Secret Identity, her ribbon and me!

I am so thrilled to have won Best of Show in my guild's challenge!
It is a viewer's choice, so to be honored by my peers was really great! 

A couple of weeks later, she was entered in the TN Quilts challenge. I was so excited to see her hanging with a lot of other wonderful quilts.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Avacado Smoothie??

Have you seen all the pretty pictures on Pinterest? From A to Z, there is something for everyone. This morning, I was looking for a breakfast recipe that I pinned a while back and ran across a green smoothie pic that caught my eye instead. I had a package of spinach that needed to get out of my fridge or turn to slime...

I tried to follow the link to the recipe, but somehow that didn't work. So, I just winged it, throwing things into the blender and I think it turned out pretty good! I'm not a stylist, so the photo has wrinkled towels for a background, otherwise you would be looking at my 70's orange counter top and other cooking paraphenalia that always sits by my stove. It was the only open counter space. Oh well.

Anyway, a recipe like this can be adjusted according to taste or what you have on hand, but I think the basic ingredients are what made this taste good.

Green Smoothie
2 servings

1 frozen banana
1/2 avacado (peeled)
2 cups loose spinach
1 tablespoon cashew butter (or nut butter or your choice)
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 tablespoon agave syrup (or honey)
1/2 cup orange juice

Run that blender on high until smooth. Stir down as needed. Mine came out with the texture of yogurt or pudding and I ate it with a spoon, but if you want to drink it from a straw, you will need more juice. I'm thinking of adding frozen strawberries or peaches next time. I'm saying this is 2 servings, but if you are hungry, one could eat the whole thing!
The flavor is delicious, neither the spinach, avacado or banana take over the flavor, but you can taste each. The nut butter is optional, I'm sure I can't taste it, but you might want the protein and possibly peanut butter would have a stronger flavor. I can't eat that, so I tried cashew. I think I'll leave it out next time.