Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Flowers

Last weekend, in kind of a post institute haze of exhaustion, we drove up to Naperville to Anderson's Bookshop so I could pick up my copy of Diana Gabaldon's new book, Written in My Own Heart's Blood.  On our way home, we swung by the Oak Park Conservatory to visit the flowers and birds there.  It is a lovely haven that always lifts my spirits. We ate our lunch on their outdoor terrace and then wandered in the conservatory.

This is actually a lemon, a Ponderosa Lemon.  There was a yellow one above it but I couldn't get a photo. They lemons are about the size of a softball (huge) and are used for lemon oil.

These leaves are all one plant--they change colors dramatically as they age.
View from the bench where we ate lunch. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer Institute photos

 It's very quiet at work this week, without our summer institute participants.  We were having a quiet morning conversation near the classroom when a friend offered to take our photo with my iPad. It came out pretty good, given the birght backlight. Each of us on the bench is from a different country.
 This was at the formal banquet.
 Most of their time was spent in the classroom in intense study.  Most of my time was spent next door keeping things organized and running.
This photo was taken at our opening mixer event. Chicago style pizza, salad, and fruit.  We had similar lunch buffets each day where I got to sit with and get to know the participants.

Now I'm paying bills and getting the planning for the fall conferences underway.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Institute

For the past two weeks, I've been running our Summer Institute. Once it gets going, it's lots of fun--grueling long days, but, still, fun.  So not much needlework to show (one finish at the end).
To relax, last weekend we went to the Antique Power Steam Show at Crown Point. It's one of the highlights of our summer--kind of a low key county fair.
 It was lovely weather (we went Sunday, after Saturday's deluge was done and gone).
 Most of the biggest steam tractors weren't there because the ground was too wet for them, but there was still loads to see.
 This little engine really could--it went all around the grassy area, to the delight of the passengers.
 Hubby in the grandstand, waiting for the Parade of Power.
Here's my second monogram, another gift.  It's finished, framed, and wrapped. I have a third underway.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

EGA Challenging, getting under way

I have a treasured large pad of heavy vellum that I used to make the detail to size tracing for my final piece. I chose the beach scene. I plan to frame it over stretcher bars so I extended the sides to cover the sides of the bars.  So the inner border is the top and the outer border includes the sides.
At the International Quilt Festival I shopped for the project, looking for texture to add to all three images I have in mind. I found hand dyed cheesecloth and some lovely loosely woven cotton that will unravel nicely.
Each of these cards has two different fibers. 
I found some subtle hand dyed cottons for backgrounds.
A bundle of silk remnants. I buy one each year just for fun. I saw some leaves and bark in this one.
And I got to work.  On a piece of old sheet I drew my outlines.  For the sky I used a plain cotton but I colored it on the wrong side with crayons. Just a hint of color comes through.  The water is layers of tulle and netting.
The sand is pleated rust dyed fabric I made a few years ago.  I sewed the seams across and basted it around both the inner and outer borders.  Next, begin to embroider the water.  I'm going to leave the sky unstitched.

I'm still debating on how to do the figure. Applique? Satin stitch? (My recent side trip into monograms has me leaning in that direction.)  fused fabric?

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 4th Weekend

Things are going to get (even more) sporadic now. Today's the first day of the two week summer seminar. Looong days.  But fun.  Then in August, I'm going to have my second knee replaced (did the first in January).  But for now...
 On the Grand Old Fourth I worked.  (I dragged Hubby in to the office with me so it was fun, for me at least!) We saw awesome fireworks at the park down the street from our house.  On Saturday, the gang met at my sister's for lunch.
 The weather was beautiful.  We feasted and talked.
 And I stitched.  I had the "brilliant" idea to stitch some gifts for some of the Summer Institute people I'm closest to.  I decided on monograms as a "west meets east" kind of thing.  This is for a Chinese friend.
 This for for a Thai friend. In Thailand the day of the week you are born determines your color. His is orange (as is mine). 
 On Sunday we drove out to Lubeznik Gallery to view the current show.  I love the detail in this shibori by Frank Connet.
 By the end of the weekend I had my Thai letter completed and framed.  It helps to have a deadline like a trans-global flight coming up to get the fingers moving.  The circle that looks like a watermark on the embroidery below is actually a reflection of the camera lens in the glass.  I didn't notice it until too late.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


 I'm very fond of a French magazine called Quiltmania.  I can generally find the monthly magazine locally, but not their seasonal special issues or their books.  Rather than order them from France, I took the opportunity to pick up some things at the International Quilt Festival.
 Above is a spread and below the cover of a lovely book full of my type of small projects.
 I'm not a fan of beige, usually, for for some reason the Japanese use of it just fascinates me. I want to be able to use color like that. 
 This book was the sample so it was half price.
I was really intrigued by this weekly hexagon project. They're mostly wool and it makes a nice spread with 52 hexagons.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Quilts, Quilts, Quilts

I really enjoyed the displays at this year's International Quilt Festival. I took a few photos (in the areas where this was allowed.) This quilt was quite dimensional--see below.
Isn't this lovely?
The detail of this piece, with little teeny fabric pieces, was astounding.
I took this picture to keep as an idea--what if I made my own drawings of my family for a quilt?
Of course, I did some shopping, too.  I got a frame for the Blue Crewel design--I adapted the pattern I made to fit the frame. It's a bit smaller than I'd hoped, but exactly the right shape and color.
I got a couple of kits from Just Another Button Company.  I love working with wool and their kits are quite charming.
The hexie potholder is going to be a gift. The fabric is just 'cause I liked it a lot. And more of my favorite hexagons...this time for a purse in two sizes.
Another Just Another Button Company kit. I got all of the pieces for both kits cut out on the weekend. I was hoping to have time to stitch in the evening this week, but it hasn't happened yet.
One last quilt--this is a tribute quilt from Australia. It was astounding.  I love how the piecing segues into the portrait, done in thread.