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Monday, June 30, 2014

Beauty, inspiration, technology...


Hi everyone, 
Happy Monday! 
Summer is in full swing here in western NY, and it is hot, humid and .... Oh so beautiful! :) 
Don't know about you, but after first, enjoying the beauty around me, my next instinct is to take a photo!
This is Linden tree in full bloom, (on my way from parking lot to work), that took me all the way back to my childhood instantly this morning, with its sweet fragrance... Had to take a photo. 
This beauty greets me in my garden every morning... I have tons of photos of course. 
I love everything about these flowers! The center, color, how simple but stunning it is. Look at the white one too:
Sometimes it's about the moment... Like these rain drops on my hosta:
Or my buddy right by this jasmine bush...
Or that first morning light and dew...

I just can't stop taking pictures!! :) 
I used to carry my camera with me all the time and now of course it's the iPhone... Isn't technology amazing? 
Guess what - I  am actually writing this post on my phone, on my lunch break!! Not sure how it will turn out, but decided to just try - share some of my beauty and inspiration with you, and share it NOW.

What do you think about all this technology? Does it help you? Is it distracting? 

If I am honest, I have to say that it does take perhaps some time away, time that I can be sewing, creating... One has to be careful, don't you think? 
But it is all up to US - how we will use it and how much, right? 
Here I actually used my phone to help with design. Took a photo of this variation :

And then this one:
Still couldn't quite decide... And there was something in both that I liked and something that I didn't... So I posted it to one of great Facebook quilting groups I belong to and asked for opinions! 
Now that was amazing... :) got lots and lots of them, all so lovely and positive and about split 50/50 in which one they liked! And that was the best part - reading all the comments helped ME see things in both that I like and not!! Now I know exactly what I want to do! 
So that was my example of good benefits of all this new technology, instant internet community and sharing - do you have some? Let me know! 

Speaking if "instant" - here is me, finished with lunch and heading back to the lab... Ha ha! 
Don't worry, this will still be a blog about quilting mostly, this was just a bit of fun with my new phone... :) 
Speaking if quilting - I am still playing with all that beautiful Indelible fabric collection and getting ready for  a Blog Hop next week (yay, so excited!!) - so stay tuned, it's about to get fun, colorful and quilty around here! :)
Have a fabulous Monday, 
Marija

Friday, June 6, 2014

Teaching quilting - peek into my classroom

Hi everyone,

last night I finished yet another Beginner's Quilting class - what  thrilling experience it is, EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
I am teaching Beginners Quilting class for many years now in my fave quilt shop, Threads of Time. Class is usually 6-8 weeks, but my beginners really get as much time as they need (read - free extra classes always there if needed, till the project is finished).
Yes, teaching beginners does take patience and it is a bit different than teaching any other quilting class, but I really, truly LOVE it. My students are so dedicated, fun and enthusiastic to learn, it really is ME who benefits the most!
 Here are Persis, Linda and Dori with their finished quilts! (well, maybe few last inches of binding to stitch...)
and Sarah (who had to leave a bit earlier, so not in the photo above):

I mean - can you say FANTASTIC??

They were willing and brave to try everything I asked them to do - even do free-motion quilting for the first time, or use decorative stitches on their machine!!


I am just so proud of them all!!
My beginners quilt pattern changes from time to time, but it always involves all the basic elements and blocks (half-square triangles, Flying Geese, Nine-patches, Four-patches...), good useful techniques (like strip-piecing) and of course things that everyone is scared from - mitered borders, free-motion quilting, etc. I am the happiest when they say - "well, that is much easier than I thought it will be!" YESSS.
A different beginners pattern:
 Another one in the making...
I also recently taught a class called Modern Quilting 101 in another great local shop, Elmwood Village Fabric - same good old techniques, but pattern was closer to modern aesthetics. Full class of eight students - another thrilling, inspirational experience for me!! I didn't get all of the photos, but here are some of my wonderful MQ101 students and their amazing creations:
Beautiful baby quilt...
 ...with amazing back!
 Love these colors:
 Another great layout:
 And another! Love these colors too:
Another beauty:

Simple, yet stunning, don't you think?
with great quilting details too:

I love teaching other classes too. Specially when it is a great technique, that just unleashes creative possibilities and potentials in my students - like Bargello class!


 Or lately, we took Bargello to another level of FUN - by skipping the strip-piecing part to get lots of colors and instead using amazing, versatile OMBRE (color gradation) fabrics. Here are few photos from a Spring Seminar last year, organized by yet another wonderful local shop Pine Grove Quilt Shop (really, how lucky am I to have at least a half a dozen amazing shops in 15 minutes driving radius!!).
Starting to build a design with ombre fabric strips...


Add some contrasting colors for fun:



And then some finished designs:





I mean - how amazing and creative are my students? 

I did this workshop in Museum Quilt Guild in Batavia, NY and just look at these creative ladies:








Make sure to check out their blog (link above) - these ladies know how to have fun and so many inspirational photos there! And also the post about this workshop and more great photos is HERE.
My class sample is the quilt I showed you before - I call it Still Waters:



So - guess what? I will be doing this class again!! 
This time in Threads of Time shop and if you are close and want to have some instant fun - come join us!! Class is two Wednesday nights, June 18th and 25th, from 6-9pm. Hope to see you there! :)

Have wonderful weekend,
Marija


Monday, June 2, 2014

Sewing in Grandmaville...

Hi everyone,

hope you had a fabulous weekend!
I sure did! - cuddling with our precious little granddaughter, taking her and her furry brother Oliver on a first stroll around the neighborhood, taking both dogs (Oliver and Marley) on a good nature walk, some gardening and yes - definitely some sewing too! All of it with some gorgeous Buffalo early summer weather - seventies, some breeze and clear, beautiful blue sky - can anyone ask for more??

Saturday afternoon stroll with my grands... (granddaughter and grand puppy - both such cuties!!)
 I can't tell you enough how happy and full-hearted I felt during this little walk!!

Oh and see that stroller/car seat cover? Yes grandma made that too. Lauren found some good tutorials on Pinterest and I used this one (Cluck, Cluck , Sew blog)  in general, but then added a little window so we can see our little girl - it is covered with tulle to prevent bugs from coming in. It was really quick and easy to make and it is really useful - for wind, for sun...and definitely a great gift for any new mom!

Sunday morning was just so beautiful... This photo was taken at around 6:30 in the morning, while I was enjoying my first coffee and some glorious bird songs...these peaceful moments are something I really cherish and it does make for a good start of any day!

And then it was on to a nature walk with both big boy Marley and grand puppy Oliver! This is Ellicott Creek bike trail, our favorite (and close by) spot to walk. Right now wild Yellow flags (pond iris) are in full bloom!! Hence a rare occasion that my husband took the camera and I am in the photo too...he he.

Aren't these so beautiful?!
 And Dame's Rocket is starting to bloom too! I just LOVE when it is in all shades of purple!
A nice little "picnic" after the walk, for pups to have water and cool off. Love this photo of my husband! :)
So Marley prefers his water in a stream (or hose at home)...
... and then of course little Oliver had to have the same thing! Ha ha! (he is just too cute!!)

And then, the last part of Sunday - SEWING!! YAY!!
Have you friends ever work with VOILE? I know voile from my childhood, over in Europe, where sewing clothes (rather than buying) was much more common when I was a kid. My mom loved voile and we had lots of blouses and dresses from it. Now, thanks to this lovely revival of sewing, some fabric companies are printing many of for-quilts designed cottons also in cotton voile. Light, breezy, soft..it is really a dream!
One of my favorite fabric companies, Art Gallery Fabric has many beautiful voiles! And just recently, my friend Sandy over at Elmwood Village Fabric got some that I couldn't resist... I know, I know - I AM on a fabric buying fast, but I did say at the beginning of it - anything for the baby is excluded!! So there... ;)

I found a great idea on Pinterest for the infinity scarf that can double as a breast-feeding cover, specially when mom and a baby are on the go, and thought to myself - voile would be perfect for that!!! Then my grandma-mode brain said - baby girl should have a matching dress when they are on the go!! See where I am going? He..he...
So even though this is not a tutorial, here is what I did:
- got 2 1/2 yards of two different voiles
- decided that 90" (2 1/2 yards) is a bit too long for a scarf , so I cut off about 12" from each fabric. The rest of the length I cut along the fold because I only wanted half if the width of the fabric (so I do have enough for TWO scarfs here!)
- I used those remaining 12" of both fabrics to make my little granddaughter a dress... A reversible one too!! I used little outfit that I bought her (size for a 3 month old baby) as a source of a "pattern" - only to have something for that upper part - here it is all cut:

Time to sew...
I love using my open-toe applique foot when doing any kind of top stitching! It makes things easy to see and in this case, inside of the presser-foot was a perfect guide too.

Tiny little ruffles...these are all of 3" long!! :) Oh I just love it so much!
Even did some french seams for my little princess...

Yes my friends, this dress was a bit involved and maybe spending several hours on a little dress that can be worn only one or few times is unreasonable...but I loved every minute of it!!! :) And I will do it again of course...

So here it is, all done - one infinity scarf for mom and matching dress for her little princess:
I had so much fun making this, I had to extend it by doing a little photo-shoot!
Hang the dress on the jewelery stand, out on my flat roof, by the flowering Golden chain tree...TA-DAH!! (silly, I know...)
 So one of the ruffled straps is fixed and the other one has a little snap, to facilitate dressing the baby (hence the little flower decoration - to hide the snap)
.
And the other side:
I used 50wt Aurifil thread - this beautiful bold fuchsia on the top and gentle gray in the bobbin and the way I was stitching is that appropriate thread color would always be on the right side - pink on the right side of floral voile and gray on the right side of the blue voile - LOVED how that worked out!!
Infinity scarf for mom is nice and big, it will work well as a breast-feeding cover too, I hope!!
Puppy thinks it is a good place to snuggle too...
I have another scarf to make (for my daughter, so ALL the girls will have matching stuff! :) ) and I will try to make a tutorial on how I did it!

So what do you think?
Did you try voile so far? Do you like it?
I have to say I am in love with it...not good news for my budget, but hey... what else is new? :)

I hope your weekend was full of sunshine and fun too - tell me what you did!
Have a wonderful week ahead,
Marija

#artgalleryfabric   #voile   #Aurifil   #babylove