Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Smoky Mountain hideaway

It's getting to be that time of the year where the leaves will start to change their colors. The stress of daily life, being isolated at home convalescing for an entire week and starting back to work have all taken their toll on me and I'm ready for another escape to my favorite hideaway. The leaves are always filtering the sun with light dappling the ground and the gently rushing water of the creek sets a soothing atmosphere like no other place. Sitting on the porch in the swing looking out at the forest, just letting time flow gently past without having to listen to the noise of a population nearby or being inundated with the emotions of a hundred others is a magic all on it's own.

The deck has a long staircase down to the creek allowing one to dip one's toes in the clear mountain stream water, if one were so inclined. (I highly recommend it, especially after a long drive.) My hubby and I explore our surroundings every time we go and revel in the majesty of nature.

The stream is pristine, framed in rhododendrons and loaded with mossy rocks and tree trunks laden with lichen and fungi.

I would buy this place if we ever win the lotto. As a friend of mine has said, "It makes my soul sing." We are going again this fall for a very short vacation and it will be the second time this year we've been, but I long to see the leaves in all their glorious colors high up in the mountains I love.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Healing and sourcing

It's been a long week. The surgery went well as far as I know. I don't have my first follow up until Monday to find out what the surgeon did and what I'm looking at in the way of recovery time, although I know I'm not supposed to lift anything until then. As you can see, my wrist and hand are pretty swathed in bandages.

 It's hard to be home from work for an entire week and not be able to do anything with all the free time. My quilts and yarns are calling my name..

I have been out in the garden and harvested some fresh lavender, rosemary, foxglove and sage to hang up to dry in the kitchen on the potting bench. Nothing like having fresh rosemary in a bread recipe. The whole house smells fragrant and clean with that sharp, herbal smell permeating the air. I missed most of the lavender flowers this year, but managed to grab a few. I'll make some sachets with them to tuck away into drawers and hidey-holes sometime soon. The sage will make a lovely incense and the foxglove will be used later in an ointment.

I've been combing the internet for tiny bones and feathers to make some fetishes and talismans with. I am trying to incorporate my spiritual practice into my daily life more often and trying to branch out with my crafting into other areas. Once I'm healed, I'll not only be weaving, but I'm going to start carving and have a bunch of beautiful woods just waiting for the right shape. I have a Gaboon Ebony piece that is waiting to be carved into a wand, some purple heart, pink ivory, Lingum vitae, and Bubinga that are all waiting to become hair sticks. I think I'll even make the hair sticks to be used as wands as well and may add a small charm or crystal on the end to catch the light.

After my husband took down several branches in our back yard to make more sunlight for the vegetable garden, I have a new source of elm, cedar and Osage orange just waiting for the appropriate usage. i just love the colors of the woods in this picture and the fresh wood smells so wonderful.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Big Damn Needles 2.0

Ok, so my hubby finally finished my huge knitting needles and I wanted to post a couple of pics to show what the final product looks like.

Here they are with the big ones up against the side of the table so you can get a better feel of how big these suckers are. Keep in mind that the big ones are 36" long each and the "small" ones are 18" each.

Andrew wanted to get fancy with them and put a shiv in the end of each of the walnut ones that was cherry and an oak one in the end of the cherry ones. That would just give a little bit of interest on the ends and the shivs would keep the ebony knobs from coming off. I just need to sand them a bit to smooth out the shafts and they are ready to go!

Sewing my heart out

The first quilt top I've done is with the Foliage line of fabric by Sentimental Studios for Moda. I bought 2 layer cakes of this fabric from Amazon (there are several places online that have it). The layer cakes have some of every fabric from the line in conveniently pre-cut squares. Here's what the layer cakes look like when opened:

I didn't have a pattern in mind when I started working on this quilt, I just wanted to practice at sewing blocks together and seeing how even I could get the seams (as it turned out, not very even).


I started by sewing strips of the blocks together and as each block is 10" x 10", I decided to do 8 blocks wide and 10 long to make a queen sized quilt top. I knew that 2 layer cakes was not going to be enough to make a top 90" x 100", so bought 4 yards of matching fabric by the yard to make the trim. I think I spent 3 or 4 days sewing it all together and since my seams weren't the same sizes, I ended up staggering the blocks to hide that. I think I like this look better anyway, so here's my finished top:

I am still waiting for the backing fabric to come in, otherwise I would have sent this on to the quilter already. I think I'll have a pattern of leaves quilted on top. I can hardly wait to see the finished results!

As my wrist surgery on Tuesday looms on the horizon, I am almost desperately trying to get my second quilt top done and I just realized I need another entire jelly roll to complete it. *sigh* I'll have to wait until after I've healed up enough to attempt working on the second half as there is no way in hell I'll get the new jelly roll in the mail by tomorrow and complete the second half of this quilt top. On the up side - I LOVE IT! Here's a preview of the first half of it:

(if you look at the bottom of the picture, you'll see the one strip in orange that has been sewn in at a wrong angle, I've got to fix it next otherwise it will drive me insane.)

The jelly rolls are of the Haunted Mansion line of fabric by Sanae for Moda and I bought the last two of these for sale anywhere on the internet (I found these on etsy). I'm a little surprised at how hard it was to find, but this line of fabric was from at least 2011 or maybe earlier. I remembered seeing this fabric at the stores when it was out and now that I've started quilting, I really wanted to use it to make a quilt.

To make a quilt large enough to fit on a queen sized bed, I would need  more than 2 of these jelly rolls, so I bought a plain black roll to supplement. I have a quilt top that is 59" x 99" using one roll of HM and the black one. I still have one entire roll of the HM left, so I'll use half of it and half a roll of black to give me another 30" inches of length so the quilt will be 99" x 99" and then I can add trim around the edges. There are still several places online that carry some of this fabric by the yard, so the edges will match the rest of the quilt. I can use the rest of the HM and black to make pillow shams to match.

The back fabric for it is After Dark! by Alexander Henry. It doesn't match, but I wanted an alternative fabric that I would not mind being used as a bedspread on it's own.

At some point I'll have all of the fabric to make the Night Shade quilt top (see Quilting Crash Course blog for pic). Some of these fabrics are from the Night Shade line by Tula Pink and some are from the Ghastlies fabric line by Alexander Henry. I wanted a really good selection of several coordinating fabrics and I think these all work well together. Funny that this was supposed to be the first quilt and I haven't even started it yet. For this one I intend to use a pattern and make it look like a more traditional quilt top with pinwheels and hourglasses.