Monday, March 28, 2016

Weird astro-physical discoveries in my bedroom...

Do you hear that enormous sucking sound?!?  A black hole has been discovered in my bedroom, on my desk!  It is my computer!

It takes me no time at all to draw a new applique quilt block, but takes me FOREVER to turn those drawings into actual patterns.
I have now finished scanning all 19 currently available "Baltimore Rhapsody" music block pattern "quarters" (that is 76 individual scans/pages).  And all the pattern "quarters" fit together like nice musical puzzles when printed out.  

I have also finished the computer work on 52 of 63 "Little Treasure" block pattern sheets.

Now I am desperately trying to get all these new little 6-inch blocks prepped and stitched so that I have a color, actual picture for each to put in the photo gallery on my little pattern store site.

But all computer work and no sewing makes one cross-eyed and cranky, so I am taking a break from the tap-tap-tapping to prep and stitch.

I have come up with a cheeky way to do eyes on some of my critter blocks...I raided my "Black on White" fabric bins to find my collection of black spotted cotton.

Whether I am doing an eye socket with regular applique or reverse applique, fussy-cutting some of these fabrics has added to my eyeball arsenal.

The frog and bird have regular applique, fussy-cut eyes...these frog eyes are all turned under and ready to glue baste to the frog's head.

The doggie and squirrel eyes are done with reverse applique, where the raw-edged eye fabric is placed under the head after I have glued the eye socket edges under with glue.

Either way, it opens up some interesting options for doing critter eyes that won't have to include embroidery.  Yippee!

There have been other distractions, other than weird astro-physical anomalies at the desk in my bedroom.

My daughter, freshman at the University of Alabama, plays in a French horn choir with 29 other French horn music students.  I love the sound of one French horn playing...the sound of 30 together is absolutely orgasmic!  

They were to compete at a Southeastern French Horn Conference at Vanderbilt University.  We road-tripped midweek to Tuscaloosa three weeks ago to hear the group's last rehearsal before they departed.  Here is one cluster of them before they took the stage.  

They look cool even when they are just hanging out holding those beautiful things!

We also enjoyed a few days on the Alabama gulf coast...during college spring break.  Are we hip, just stupid...or WHAT??

It was a little stormy/rainy/cool, but still extremely beautiful and restful, and the fresh seafood was amazing.

Now the nose...and fingers...are back to the grindstone.  My husband and I hope to have the income taxes done AND digital quilt pattern downloads available on my web store by April 15.

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Friday, March 11, 2016

Slicing, dicing...and digitizing...

There is progress on slicing, dicing and digitizing BALTIMORE RHAPSODY!  I can now print some of the original patterns in quarters and tape them together and they are perfect!

I have quartered and scanned the brasses and the woodwinds thus far.  It has been quite a computer learning curve for me, I must tell you!  There are probably better computer programs and scanning equipment out there, but I have to utilize what I have for now.  My geeky husband is so busy with work right now that he has been little help, bless him.

And I am doing this without the use of my large flatbed scanner. While I have found the scanner, we cannot seem to find the correct adapter/power cord in all the moving debris.  I really hate that adapter/power cords have to be so specific as to which device you use them for, yet nowhere is it labeled as new favorite pet peeve!  I had this problem with my light box and digital frame as well...oh, if I only ruled the world...

It is raining today, so I hope to quarter and slice the remaining eleven currently available patterns.  Then I have a few new ones to bring up to speed...already posted but not yet published and available on the web store.  It is getting exciting for me!  This is right where I was in May of 2014, before my parents' has taken me this long to find myself again.

I have not forsaken the little 6 inch applique blocks...I am trying to prep and stitch the new ones in my spare time.  It makes more sense to offer them in little bundles of six or nine, so I am trying to round out the groups a bit.

And I got over a MAJOR drafting hurdle this week...the difficulty of drawing the saxophone family for new blocks in the continuing Baltimore Rhapsody project.  These won't be harder than the others to applique, but I had more trouble drawing them because their systems of keys and rods are so complicated!  I found myself "simplifying a bit."

Now comes the challenge of blending each instrument with block elements that not only capture and enhance the instruments character but also fit with the Baltimore album style.  I have been dreaming of New Orleans, jazz, southern, "hip and cool," and Cajun motifs...but in the Baltimore album style...weird, really.

I think about the saxophone/jazz musicians I've known, and some of their personal characteristics don't 'represent well' in the Baltimore album smoking, drinking, marijuana (and worse!), dark bars and speakeasies, playing into the wee hours of the night, etc.  I mean, I can't exactly just draw a cannabis leaf/flower...can I, LOL?  

Some people want these blocks for their sweet little granddaughter who plays saxophone in her school band...there is a disconnect here.

And then there are issues with the folk instruments I have been drawing...I have already blended the banjo with a hound not to go too "country" with those...

I want the four saxophones to work together in a wall hanging or blend well with the other music blocks in a larger quilt...or stand alone as a wall hanging or pillow, of course.

Overall though, it is good to be contemplating this kind of nonsense again!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Oooo...guess what I have been up to...

I have spent most of the weekend FORCING myself to tackle my technical deficiencies in the digital pattern making department. First, I am working on all these little 6-inch applique blocks I've been doing lately in my REPRO MADNESS project (and I've drawn some NEW ones that I need to prep and stitch!).

My plan is to "PDF" them, bundle them, then offer them on my little web store as a digital download (VERY reasonably priced).  I will send them out snail mail as well, but for those with a printer you will be able to save on the time and cost of shipping.  

Yippee! Immediate gratification AND more money to spend on FABRIC!

Several of you have wanted to know when/if I would be offering these little 6-inch patterns, so that is why I am doing it!  You are pushing me to grow...and learn new techie things, that are usually hard for me, LOL!  Since there are so many sources for 6-inch pieced blocks out there (and probably already in your quilt library), I will just be offering the applique designs...not a completed project.  YOU will get to be the project designer, so in my way I am pushing YOU to grow as well!  Ha ha!

(And once they are printed out on your end, you can enlarge them is you are nervous about the small size...they would also be fun as larger sized blocks.)

Now that I have figured out my scanner for the little blocks (that fit so neatly on one page with no segmenting needed), I am slicing up my 15-inch music block patterns into quarters and will digitize them.  I know there are some of you eager to order a digital download of those blocks.  I may need some Guinea pigs to email a couple of the patterns to when I am ready to experiment!

I should have offered those Baltimore Rhapsody patterns like that to begin with, but I really liked the idea of printing the patterns "in total," on a 16-inch piece of paper, so that they would not have to be taped together to use.  It was an expensive, odd size of paper pattern to print, and I guess I learned my lesson...with the first 1900 patterns!

(I just taped together some patterns that I copied from one of my applique quilt books, and it was no big deal at all...not hard to match up the segments and happily go forward in the process.  I guess the "whole pattern" thinking was just me being unnecessarily obsessive/compulsive!)

See?  No big deal at all!

My design wall is filling up, and my hand applique is catching up with the number of pieced blocks...I may have to do some piecing after all, LOL!  I am having too much fun with the little blocks to quit!  I need to nail down my actual setting so that I know how many more of each kind of block I need...

In stitches, 
Teresa   :o)

Friday, March 4, 2016

Trying to even the score on my design wall...

I have been stitching up more 6-inch applique blocks to go with the beautiful 6-inch pieced blocks I received from Ola and Mary.  This REPRO MADNESS swap project has been going on since right before I moved to Alabama.

For the quilt setting I am planning for my blocks, I need approximately the same number of applique blocks as pieced blocks, so I have been concentrating on designing and stitching some single blocks.

I cannot tell you WHAT in my brain prompted that silly bear, but this kitty is supposed to be my beloved Weasley.

I wanted to make loyalty blocks about each of our past beloved pets...this one will be in the mail for Mary and represents her dearly departed wiener dog, "Ketchup."

This one will be in the mail for Ola and represents her dearly departed chocolate lab, "Dutch."

This silly cat is supposed to be my "Weasley," happy in his new home back in Michigan.  I sure do miss him!

I am constantly praying for peace, both foreign and domestic, which prompted my peace bird...after last night's political debate maybe I should do a block showing "The 3 Stooges"...

My quilt just has to have a tea kettle...

I guess sailboats are a little cliche...I don't have one, but I have BEEN sailing, LOL...

Another flower...

And I just had to do a wiener dog for ME, just because those critters are so darn cute...

...and one for Ola...

I wanted an antique bike since this quilt is made with reproduction fabrics.  I am not sure how well this block will go, thematically, with the silly dancing bear...I chickened out on the spokes of the wheels...

Now I need to pin the new blocks on the design wall and see where I stand with my numbers...I will be adding nine blocks.  With 6-inch blocks, this project grows slowly.

In stitches,
Teresa  ;o)