25 July, 2013

Me and My Big Bro

About 1953, I think....
Over the last few months, I have been getting re-acquainted with my older brother.  He kind of vanished, POOF!, about a million years ago, back when I was a young Mom.  It was 1978, I think, a lifetime ago.  I have missed him all of these years, wondered where he was, hoped that he was having a good life.  Did I have a sister-in-law? Was I an Auntie? Was he even still living? Mr. T. and I seriously searched for him, but with no luck.

Through the magic of the Internet, and with the good fortune to be married to a retired Federal Agent, my very own Mr. T,... who is some kind of a super-whiz at investigations, we finally located him a few months ago in New Orleans.  My brother and I have connected through Facebook and are communicating back and forth, getting to know each other again after all of these years. He's a musician living in the French Quarter.  He has sent me CD's of his compositions.  Really great stuff!  He always was a superb musician!

No, I am not an Auntie, I do not have a sister-in-law, but that's just fine with me.  I am just happy to have found my Big Brother after all of these years.  That's him, in the photo above, standing in the middle.  I am seated in his pedal airplane, sitting like a brazen hussy with my leg slung over the side ..., and with my brothers initials, J.P., painted on the side by our father.  My bro "flew" all over the neighborhood in his pedal airplane, and he let me channel my inner Amelia Earhart from time to time.  I bet that airplane would be worth about a gazillion dollars today!

Who that kid on the right is?... I have no idea. All I see in the photo is me and my big bro.

07 July, 2013

The Design Wall Blues

If I could sing, which I can't.... (OK, I try... in the car... along with the radio... ), I'd be singing,  "I Got 'Dem Design Wall Blu-oooz".

I have no single wall in our sweet old bungalow large enough, and without heavy furniture placed in front, to accomodate a design wall.

After months of not even touching my Birdsong quilt, I am happily immersed. Since I must make do without a proper design wall, I have tacked my "in progress" quilt blocks on the wall behind the door in the master bedroom, scrunched between the bedroom door and Mr T.'s highboy.  As you can see, I still do not have enough room to tack them all up side by side. Notice that the blocks on the left are overlapping.  The little neon green and pink sticky notes tell me just where the blocks need to be placed.

I needed to get the blocks tacked to the wall so that I could stand back from them and make some decisions about which fabrics to use in the next blocks that I make.  I don't have lots of variety in the blues and reds and do not want to use the same fabrics adjacent to each other.

I am loving the way that the leafy border at the top looks.  Each little leaf is a four inch block.  This border will be on the top, sides and bottom of the quilt, inside the 12 inch outer border, fabric yet to be determined, but probably one of the blue prints, or... one of the red prints.  Still undecided.

These are two of my favorite blocks, the Chipping Sparrow and the Lark Bunting.

I can see that my needle turn hand appliqué  skills have improved a great deal since I began this quilt, having just learned the technique a few weeks prior to starting. I wasn't doing so badly at first...my work looked surprisingly good,  but I was incredibly tight in the neck, shoulders and hands.  I am happy to say that I have since learned to relax while doing this variety of hand appliqué.  I think that I have found my groove, so to speak, or my Zen, depending on how old you are.  Bet you can't guess how old I am. Insert Peace sign here...

Only NINE more bird blocks to go!  I am well over half done with them, but still have tons of those little four inch leaf blocks.

UPDATE - July 17, 2013 - Moving right along. I have finished four more blocks and only have FIVE more to go!

I have learned something about myself in the process of making this quilt.  I do not especially enjoy doing the prep for the blocks, cutting all of the pieces and preparing them for appliqué.  Progress completely bogs down when I need to prep blocks.  That is the point at which time it becomes easier to procrastinate than to continue.  So I figured out that if I prep two or three blocks at one time, then put them in zipper bags, ready to go, that I am ready to sew whenever I like.  Hmmm, maybe this is why I have so many unfinished projects. Poor prepping, perhaps. Well,... that,.. and I am a Gemini, which kind of says it all.

I will remember this little lesson on future projects.  Prep, prep, prep.  Kind of like eating your peas first.