Friday, December 27, 2013

New Quilts -





I have been working hard. The holiday season was very busy in the quilt factory. Some choices presented themselves and Ive been trying to think of ways to do as many of the things I want to do as possible. The big decision is.. that I decided to try to start the MFA program I was accepted to. I live two hours away from the school - so all of the other decisions are based around how to make that happen. Ive thought of very simple (but time consuming and expensive) solutions like, buy a car and commute the two days a week Ill have and, I have thought of some insane ideas like, sell the house, find a new home for George and live on campus.

Those are some of the things Ive been working on and thinking about. As much as I have grown to hate cars I think trying to buy one and using it to commute and using it to travel outside of my city is a good idea. I think a good portion of my frustration is actually claustrophobia. If I could drive, I imagine how many more places would open up to find vintage and used fabrics or, even other salvaged goodies to create art with.

Besides, I still enjoy the process of owning a house. For me, there have been many disappointments along with the pleasures but, I still like it more often than I dislike it and I know that if I sold this house it would probably be a very long time before I had the chance to buy another one. I did get as far as calling the Realtor the other day.. but, there are still many things I would like to try to do to this house. Many unfinished projects. I know that if I was a renter again I would dream about being able to tinker on a house.

I have a great idea to get a full size electric stove in here - that is a project that will make this house something else!

Hope you are doing well.    

Monday, November 25, 2013

Making a bed frame from salvaged wood doors?

For the few years Ive been gathering used/salvaged pieces of wood. Some parts I bought from the re-store, others came from building projects Ive seen near my house. Ive picked up some as "trash" and Ive picked up some in trade for loading dumpsters.

There was a work site next door and I went aver and asked if I loaded a dumpster if I could pick what I wanted.

I got some good stuff. - Here is the bed Ive been working on. The doors are about 36 inches wide. Im excited to cut off a few inches of the twin mattress and have a thin little canopy bed with a MASSIVE amount of hidden storage under it!

See the doors? There is also a door as the flat part of the frame. So far, I have only bought screws. But I think I will have to buy some pieces to frame the top. We will see what happens. I could go look for more doors.

The bed will stay in back of the couch and eventually it will get a top and nice curtains to block off the rest of the room. I usually have a housemate and this bed is my new way to add storage to my house and a great bed with privacy for a house mate.

I love small house living. It takes thought and work to come up with new ideas after the first round (or three) of ideas played out a course. For example - I have tried bunk beds, fold out sofas, fold up beds, sleeping in a loft and, living alone. I see lots of tiny house living blogs and articles where people seem to get tired of coming up with new ideas. I get it - Ive only been here 5 years and, it seems like when I express frustration about the house culture tells me that ive "outgrown" the house and it is time to "upgrade." But, I love this house and unless Im moving to warmer weather, I dont want to go anywhere. So, I keep working with what Ive got. What Ive got is a blessing and it is abundant. It would be less work to have a larger house in only one way - I would not have to think of ways to live comfortably while accumulating large quantities of shit. But, in EVERY OTHER way I would have to work more to have a larger house, starting with paying for more house! I dont want to spend more time strssing out about money. My heating bill in Maine is less than 20.00 per moth in the winter! I dont want to spend more natural resources to have the luxury of not thinking about space.


Making your own fabric from scraps - tutorial.

Ive been piecing together scraps without a foundation to make larger pieces for as long as I have been quilting. 

I love how this sort of fabric building does not require a foundation - -and it also does not build the directional lines that traditional string piecing does. Im sure many people do this - but, here is how I do it. 

I love making fabric because, I can use the fabric as new yardage and cut new sizes out of it. 


See how these scraps remain scrappy and do not go together in strings to make a new directional pattern on the quilt top? 

Here is a video on how I do it - 


(Im not happy that blogger.com will not find my youtube videos in the tools sections anymore - but youtube is loading all comments to google+)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Tiny condo - making food.

Living small works great for me. I have a micro condo, 250 sf. Look for more posts about the small house goals and cheap living skills I'm trying to develop.

One goal is trying to make myself eat more veggies. Not any specific food goal besides eating tons of veggies and less garbage.

Dont look for chef made foods - not a foodie - and do not aspire to be. But, look for things that are simple and try to be high quality.

Posting pics and trying to fine more people to chat with about small homes, living with less by choice, having more time to do the things I love. Every hour that I dont spend working for someone else I get to enjoy my own hobbies.

Ive been eating better foods for about 8 days. (Today is November 8, 2013.) I am diabetic (type 2) and have been tired for the entire last year, when I was first diagnosed as diabetic. Medication did not really work and gave me unacceptable side effects.

Anyhow -

I got this stuff at the grocery store today.

Im making steamed squash soup with apples. 


While the water was steaming the squash and apples - it worked double duty by making a stock.

Mash it up!


Im trying to make a new deal with myself to stop all other activity while I eat. This is trite - but, today I watched the sun setting and how the light moved with the clouds. Some good ideas for quilting with dimension came from that. Tasting and chewing food is so basic. It is where I am. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New topics - trying to eat more veggies.

Before I bought the house - before the economy crashed and changed my financial and emotional life, I was a vegan. I was vegan for about 2 years. When I ate that sort of food I felt really great and was able to lose some weight.

Here are some pics of the food I made last night.


Simple. Steamed squash, mashed up. Vegan.

It felt good to east some healthy food again. My friend bartered some handmade pottery for a quilt. I made the napkin. Homesteading interests me, as does tiny house living. I live in a small city. My goal is to post more about the things I do to try to make my small city life reflect beliefs I have.

Nothing aims to be perfect. I only want to try.


Continent quilt -

I am working on a quilt that will have the 7 continents appliqued onto the top.

The background is just a light blue. More pics to follow but, here are some process pics.



I plan to have the continents bright colored.


Monday, November 4, 2013

New Quilting video - Straight Stitch quilting.

Hi -

I wanted to post a video that demonstrates a few of my quilty ideas. This video shows the Pfaff Grand Quilter sewing, we need more videos that show the machines actually doing their work. Finishing quilts with Straight Stitch quilting does a few things. It brings every sewing machine into the quilting game. Every machine does a Straight Stitch with no extra foot needed. Old machines are great - and cheap - and you can buy one and work it! The other great things about Straight Stitch quilting is, it finishes work in a fast utilitarian way. Utilitarian is beautiful. Remember the phrase "Form follows function?" You already know how to Straight Stitch - no need to learn Free Motion Quilting.

I also think most quilt teachers advocate for much more basting than is necessary. My goal is never perfection - my goal is to enjoy the process. Quilt tops that are flat will quilt flat even if you only use a few basting pins. Quilt tops that are poorly pieced will be poorly pieced tops no matter how many lbs of pins you baste with.

Quilt with speed if you want to.

Keep trying all kinds of techniques. People still enjoy making and receiving quilts as gifts. Simple, quality work will always be in style.

Im not sure why I cant embed video right now - but, here is the link to my new video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFEjJTHyPWM&feature=youtu.be