Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New projects and new directions

Summer is winding down here in N. Michigan although we have been having pretty warm and humid temperatures lately.  Yesterday we had a day of warm weather thunderstorms.  It reminded me of my childhood days where it was hot and then we would have a big thunderstorm.  I remember waiting on the front porch of the farm, hoping the rain would be over soon so we could go out and play in the puddles.  There was always a great puddle on the other side of the driveway and we would go out and splash around until it disappeared.  The carefree days of youth but a great memory.  

 I am the leader of our local quilt group this year so I have been trying to come up with projects for our programs.  This is a simple Christmas tree skirt that we will make in the month of October.  I found the pattern online and made it up to make sure the directions were correct.  It was a good thing that I tried it out because the directions were wrong and I was able to correct them.  I like the color combination and the size.  It is 60 in diameter which is pretty big for a tree skirt.  Many of the patterns are for something much smaller and they look strange under a big tree.  I don't have this quite finished yet, I have to do the hole in the middle and the slit to get it under the tree but I wanted to show the group while it was all together.  Some people will want to do it as a table topper instead of a tree skirt.  It was well received at the group so I think it will be a successful program.
I don't have any plans for this project after the program.  We keep our tree outside so don't need a tree skirt.  I am offering it to any family member that would like a new tree skirt.  SO, let me know if you want this lovely project for your home.
I have also been experimenting with landscape quilting.  This is my newest project.  I started with strips in the background that are sewn to a backing.  Then I added the tree and a swing for a little 'touch'.  I was going for a 'sunset/sunrise' setting and just kind of added the swing for a little extra color.  I am going to teach the group this process in the spring so I am planning to do a few more 'free style' projects like this on and off through the winter.  I am interested in exploring smaller pieces and more original pieces of my own design. I am having fun with this technique.

We will be leaving on vacation in a couple of days.  We are planning to go out west and visit Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park.  Neither of us have ever been to these wonderful parks so we are looking forward to seeing 2 national parks.  We will be stopping to see Glen and Penny on our way through and also Uncle Eldon in Iowa.  I will keep you posted on our travels.

Projects and new directions going different ways and exploring new territories.  The freedom of the open road calls to us and the freedom of the open mind is calling me through my quilting.  

Friday, August 23, 2013

Della the decorator ????

Designer???  you must be wondering if you have the correct blog because many of you know that I HATE decorating. Eva is the family decorator not me.  However you can add decorating and designing an art exhibit to my list of accomplishments because I am officially a "designer" according to the Jordan River Arts Council.  
SO, a bit of explanation is surely required for this posting. It all started with my wonderful friend MaryAnne.  She does belong to the Jordan River Arts Council and I am her assistant on some projects.  We were asked to participate in the latest show in East Jordan.  The show is called Art Full of Rooms.  The idea of the exhibit was to create rooms of a house in the museum's building and have them filled with art work from local or Michigan artists.  We/she was given the Master bedroom to decorate so we began to try to figure out what to do.  

 Many of the other 'designers' are artists and have a network of connections to draw from and find furniture and art works.  MaryAnne and I are retired teachers with not as many connections so we started by doing what we could with our resources.  I had a bed frame in the basement that I didn't use and was in storage.  We decided to paint the bed a shiny black.  I found a dresser that someone told us we could use and paint so it was painted too.  This is my friend MaryAnne painting the headboard at her house.  It did take 2 coats but turned out pretty nice.
 The dresser was looking better after a couple of coats of paint too.  We just spray painted the old drawer pulls and were all set.  Not bad for just the expense of a can of paint and it took the whole can.
 We had this idea to create a piece of 'art' using twigs from her farm so here is our creation.  It was inspired by a 'real artist's' exhibit that was at our local museum.  I hope the real artist isn't too upset with us.  I didn't see the exhibit but I am sure that his work was a bit more professional but once again, it didn't cost us anything.  We had a good time creating our little piece and are sure that no one is going to want to buy it but maybe it will inspire someone to create something of their own.

The show opened August 11 and that was the week of Brittany's wedding so I wasn't able to go to the Artist Opening event.  I talked my recuperating husband in to driving up to East Jordan this past Sunday.  He was getting a little 'house bound' anyway and wanted to get out. I wanted to see the whole show and see how our room measured up to the other designers.
 I forgot to mention that the original inspiration for the whole room was MY quilt. This is the room that we designed.  The art on the wall behind me is  local artist that I found and it goes along with the quilt very well.  You can see a bit of the dresser in the corner and not much of the bed headboard shows but it does look nice.  The lamp in the corner is one that I found to use too.
 This is just another view of the bed and the furnishings.  The bedside tables and the bench at the end of the bed belong to MaryAnne.  Her husband made them and we just took them from her home.  He also made the music stand that you can see beside me.
 Much of the art work on the walls came from MaryAnne's house.  She has a nice personal collection.
 AND of course, here is the wonderful and creative 'twig art' that we created, dead leaves hanging from the branches and all.  A local potter put these two pieces in the show.
One of the reasons for this show is to feature local artists and offer their works for sale.  Since much of the paintings in our room are from personal collections, we didn't have much for sale.  The vase on the left is for sale though. I also put a price on my quilt in the event that someone wants to pay BIG bucks for my work.  I really don't want to sell it that much so I put a price of $5000 (yes I did type the correct number of zeros in that price quote).  I figured if someone wanted to pay that much, I would sell it to them  I haven't gotten may offers but the comments about the way the quilt and painting go so well together have been flattering.  It was overheard by a good source (MaryAnne's brother) that people wish they could afford the painting and the quilt.
 This was the guest bedroom.  I think my quilt is much nicer.  I forgot to check what she is asking for this quilt.
 This is part of another room, I thought I would just include a picture of the recuperating patient.
 I think this room was called the 'porch'.  A lot of the items in this space were 'rescued' pieces of old buildings or things like that.
The other rooms were fine but I do believe we were one of the best rooms.  I forgot to take a picture of the dining room which was very nice too.  It was right up there with our room.
Anyway, I am glad that we were able to see the whole show.  It is going to be on through September 22 so if you are so inclined, you can drop in and see it.  East Jordan is a pretty small town so not many people will see the show.  I did ask at one time (after we consented to do the  room) about how many people came to see the shows.  They told me that they get about 250 people to stop by and see the shows so I am not planning on being 'discovered' by some design firm and being asked to come and decorate their offices of multi-million dollar cabin or retreat.
It was an interesting project and it kept me fairly busy working on all the collecting, painting and setup for the show.  Most of all it was a great way to spend time with my friend.   We had fun painting and creating together. Time with friends is always a treasure and now I can say that I have been a decorator/designer.  The publicity actually said "Six rooms created by area designers, local furniture makers and artists".  We were the designers and artists but most of all we were two friends working together and having fun.
Bud's reward for going with me to the show was ice cream on the way home.  It was a fun day and a great way to get out and enjoy the country side.  He is doing very well in his recovery.  He went to work every day this week but didn't stay long earlier in the week. Today he spent the whole day at work and went out for a short walk this evening.

I know it was a LONG post but I have been saving the pictures up all summer because I wanted to show the whole project at one time.  Reward yourself with ice cream if you made it to the end of this posting.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Recovery and the nurse's project

WELL, Bud is feeling better today.  Yesterday was a real rough day for him.  The surgery went very well, they found a small hernia developing on the left side too so they fixed both sides.  It was a minimally invasive surgery done through three very small incisions so it was an out patient surgery.  We were home by about 10:30 but we had to be there at the surgery center by 6:15 so already it had been a long day.  I encouraged Bud to take a cab to the center but he insisted I get up early too and accompany him.  (Just kidding)  
However, the pain medication was not kind to him.  He has a very sensitive stomach and it caused nausea right away.  He didn't keep anything down yesterday even though he called the doctor in the early evening and was prescribed something to help.  Finally he just decided to go to bed and see what the morning would bring.  
Today he is feeling MUCH better and here is a picture of him having a sandwich for lunch.  He is still very sore but not taking any medications.  He will rest through the weekend and is hoping to go back to work on Monday but I am encouraging him to take it easy next week too.  We will see.  I have been staying pretty close by him, nursing him and doing what I can to help. 

I have been working on a little project though.  I wish I had thought to take this picture the other way but after I had it loaded on the blog, I don't know how to rotate it so you will just need to turn you head sideways.
As a little introduction to this project, I am the new leader of our small quilt group here in Traverse City. One of the topics that has been of interest to me is Art Quilts.  For me that means creating a quilt without a pattern.  There are many books out with different types of Art Quilts but I thought I would start simple and then maybe do some more complicated project after I have managed to 'get my feet wet'.  I went to a show earlier this summer and they had some of these strip quilts.  I thought I would use that concept for my background and then add some dimension to the quilt.  I chose the black and white but then it got a little boring part way through so I added the yellow and red to indicate a sunset.  Finally I put the flowers on top and made them 3D so that they stick out from the background.  I could add some beads and such if I desired and maybe do some thread work on the stems and flowers.  OR, I could just leave this alone and start anther on to work on.
I am planning to teach this concept to the group in the spring so I would like some different projects to show.  It isn't very large, only about 8"x18" but it is a start.  A small wall hanging is a good way to start.  I like the black and white background but I think I could use different colors too.  I will keep you posted. It is a new and different way to express my creativity without actually following a pattern.

I have named this creation:  Sunset Over the Garden.  What do you think???

So, the patient and nurse are doing well here.  Keeping busy and resting, maybe that is what this time in our lives is all about.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Wonderful Wedding Weekend

 It was a busy weekend here for the Noble/Lister wedding.
 Friday afternoon Bud picked up his brother and family at the airport and then we went to the rehearsal dinner on Lake Michigan north of Traverse City.  Sue and Brittany are getting some last minute advice from Pastor Wall.  He did a wonderful job officiating at the wedding.
 The bride and groom were beaming all weekend.
 Saturday started out with a French toast and bacon breakfast prepared by Uncle Bud.  The girls were getting ready and needed a little nourishment before the big event.
 Bud's brother and his family from N. Carolina were looking very nice and trying to keep warm in our colder northern Michigan summer.  Only Jill is missing but she couldn't make it in from Colorado.
 Megan, Sonja and Patty were ready for the wonderful day.  The ceremony was perfect in every way.  Inspirational and touching as we watched them exchange their vows, excited to begin their new life together.  Brittany was literally 'bouncing' when she was exchanging her vows.
 The Noble family is quite large. Most of them managed to come over from Green Bay and the surrounding area.  It is hard to get them all in on picture and standing still.  It is a wonderful family, full of love and laughter.
 The Cline family is a little smaller but very fun too.  Like I said the only one missing was Jill.
The aunt and uncle were very happy to be a part of Brittany's life.   We welcome John and are looking forward to many wonderful years with them.  They are a very special couple and we feel blessed to have such a close relationship to the whole Noble family.  
 Of course Sue and  Walt were very proud and excited, knowing that their daughter has chosen such a wonderful man to share her life with.
 The whole Noble family looks very attractive.  The star of the show was Brittany but Charlotte came in a close second with her beautiful singing at the ceremony.  Her voice was so beautiful.

 A couple of beaming bride pictures.  She was a beautiful bride.
 The wedding party was big but full of wonderful young people, ready to share this day with them.  They have a great group of friends that we were able to spend time with this weekend.
 SO, the event that made me nervous was the 'grand entrance'  Brittany wanted Bud to take them from the harbor over to the reception which was right next door to the harbor where we keep the boat.  I was quite nervous that anything could go wrong and it could be a disaster.  I am not one to tempt fate but Bud consented.  I was suppose to drop him off and then drive over to the reception to watch, not really wanting to be there in the event some disaster occurred.  However when the bride and groom came down the dock they didn't bring any of the groomsmen along with them so I was recruited to assist.

 They made the trip safely and it was a grand entrance.  The photographer asked if we could take the boat out into open water (outside the break wall) and I was glad that Bud said no.  I think a quick sail across the bay would have been too much.  We didn't put the sails up but just used the motor to go the short distance.
 The crowd was waiting and watching up on the balcony.  I am interested in seeing how it looked from up above.  Brittany was very happy with the way it turned out.
 What a wonderful bride.  I am blessed to call her my niece.  My dress is one that Jessica helped me pick out for her wedding but since it was a winter wedding I decided to wait and wear it to this summer wedding.  Thanks, Jess for helping me find this dress.  Blue was the color of the wedding with a 'nautical' theme.  I fit right in.
 The weather was fantastic   with the temps being in the mid 70's with hardly a cloud in the sky.  The view from the balcony was over the harbor.  You can see across the boats to where we keep our boat so it was a short boat ride.
 Wedding cake was delicious.
 The first dance was touching.
 Father and daughter share a great memory.
I'm not sure why this picture ended up here at the end but this is John's family from Ludington. They are a wonderful family.  

OK, OK, I used that word wonderful many times in this posting but I am at a loss to find another word to describe this weekend.
The happy bride and groom left for a honeymoon in Hawaii this morning.  Love and happiness will follow them.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Wedding week

I finished the quilt for the wedding this week.  Brittany and John will be married this Saturday afternoon.  It is an exciting week here in Traverse City.  

 Blue and white are their colors so I thought this would be a nice pattern.  It is a 'throw' size since they are still in school and haven't set up a permanent home.  I will make a larger on for a bed some time in the future.
 The bride and groom loved the quilt.

 Just a little 'close up' with Brittany and me.  I loved making this special quilt for the two of them

Wednesday evening Captain Bud took some friends out on Red Sky for an evening sail.  I didn't go along so that it wouldn't overload the boat.  Bud told me that there were 16 people on the boat.  They all seemed to have a great time.

I am very happy for the young couple, starting out their lives together with so many loving friends and family around them.  It will be a great weekend.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

So this is 63

Today I turned 63.  That is hard to believe.  
 Wednesday night Eva and Leo met Bud and me in Big Rapids for dinner.  That is a nice tradition that we have established the last few years, meeting for our birthdays and dinner.  We have tried several restaurants there and have not been too excited about the choices.  One place is VERY nice but a little on the expensive side.  The other two are just 'bars' and often too noisy.  This time we went for the 'chain' restaurant and went to Applebee's .  It was a good meal but most of all the company was great.  Leo is probably getting a little tired of me since I saw him 3 days this last week but I hadn't seen  Eva since the houseboat trip.  I am thankful for such a wonderful family and our loving relationship.  I know many families do not enjoy a close relationship so I am thankful that we managed to forgive our childhood 'pains' and have great adult friendships.
This is the 'face' of 63.  I rarely have pictures of myself on the blog so this time, since it IS my birthday, I put two on.  We went out to dinner on Friday evening with a dinner group that Bud is a part of.  It is a 'guys' group that meets for dinner every other Friday but this week they invited the wives.  I bought this dress for a new summer outfit.  It was on sale at T.J. Max for just $25 and I couldn't pass it up.  When I put it on it fits close to my body so I feel like it is a bit too tight but it really doesn't show any 'bulges' so I guess it is the right size.  My insecurity and my WHITE legs make me feel a bit uncomfortable in the dress but then I need to remember I AM 63 and am not suppose to be glamorous, turning heads and looking "hot" like a 25 year old.  Getting older is difficult for my ego but I am working on it every day.

Saturday we drove up to Boyne City to visit some downstate friends that have a cottage on Lake Charlovoix.  We have known them for a long time and haven't seen them in a couple of years.  We caught up on each other's lives and had a very nice dinner.
Today, my birthday, we have had a quiet day at home for me with lots of birthday text coming in from family. I did a little reading and sewing.  Bud went out to do some shopping.  He needed a new suit for the upcoming wedding and some new pants for work.  I am not a good shopper with him so I decided it would be more fun to stay home and relax.

SO, that is how I welcomed the new birthday.  One more year.

Friday, August 2, 2013


I have been taking time off blogging, I am not really sure why, mostly just neglect.  I think about composing a post but then don't get to the computer and put it down.  I will try to get back into the routine.