Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year & Aaron's Quilted Nutcracker and Silhouetted pictures for my girls!

Aaron's Christmas Nutcracker !

One of my last big projects of this year was to make my Grandson a quilted nutcracker.   He has an extensive collection of nutcrackers in all sizes and shapes.   I have made him a nutcracker wall hanging and a quilt using nutcracker fabric.   This year he asked for a quilted nutcracker - one that was the real shape of a nutcracker and not one on a background!!!!   Well, what could I do?   We all know that when a grandchild asks for something, we will do whatever it takes!!  He asked and I set about to figure out how to do this project........something that I had no clue how to start.

So I found this picture on the internet..
I cut it into 4 sections and kept enlarging    
 each section...... until I had this...on the right!

 This is a tracing I made once I had the nutcracker from the internet enlarged to be 48 inches tall. I wanted it as tall as Aaron, but he is over 5 feet now. I had to stop somewhere.

These are some of the detailed pictures:
The star is made from gold lame.

The hair is a furry fabric with curly loopy yarn.   I was so fortunate to find that.
The beard is white fleece. 

The belt is from a piece of leather and the buckle is from a belt I purchased at Salvation Army store - just to get the buckle!

The shoes are more pieces of leather.  The feet were actually the hardest to do of the entire thing.   Not sure why, they just never did look right to me.

The final picture is the best!   The looks on his face is the best thanks I could have gotten.   I'd do it all over again for that look!!!

These are the silhouetted pictures I made for each of my daughters.   When they were each in first grade, the teacher had a local artist come and do silhouettes of each of the children.   They were done on paper and mounted to a sheet of white paper and sent home with the child as the Christmas gift for their parents.   Over the years, that paper has yellowed and tattered.   So, after seeing an article in Quilting Arts magazine, I decided to trace the silhouette and reproduce it on fabric.   I reversed one so they would be facing each other,   Karen, my youngest is on the left and Heather, the oldest is on the right.    They both loved their Christmas Gift this year.

In wish to you all for a Happy and Healthy and Prosperous New Year!   I love this quote......

 "And now let us welcome the new year full of things that have never been.”
                                                                                                     – Ranier Maria Rilke


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

YEAAAA!!! My computer is back!

Yea, my computer is home.   Now I have to try and remember all the things that I wanted to post before Christmas.

At our last guild meeting we exchanged our secret sister santa stockings.   My secret sister gave me a lovely quilt that she had made with attached beading (because she knows how much I like beads) and then left it with a note for me to quilt, saying I could do a much better job than she could.   I don't know - she is an expert handquilter, I am a machine quilter.   Oranges & Apples!!!   Anyway, here is the finished product, on my table with the advent wreath.   I think they coordinate quite nicely.

This is the quilt.   There is a String of silver beads around each of the purple squares.
I knew I wanted to quilt a wreath - as it was the Christmas Season and I knew I wanted to do a feather wreath.   Free motion - no pattern....a fun project.
This is a terrible picture color-wise.   The purple is a deep rich purple as seen in the other photos.   For some reason, I couldn't get it to show as dark in the photo.
The triangles around the edge.   The feathers continue - in the triangle and in the sashing.   I did a large scroll over the outside borders and sashing.  
Together, we have made a lovely quilt, I think.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Wahhhhh! I have all these pictures of projects I've been doing and didn't post too soon because some of them are gifts.....and CRASH goes my computer!! Of course I haven't backed up things as I should so I'm really hoping it can be fixed or at least my data retrieved. I don't think Santa has any money left in his budget for a new one. Thank goodness for my IPad, even though I can't do everything on this get my pictures etc. So no pics until I get it bsck from the shop :(

Monday, December 12, 2011

Brown Bag Challenge Revealed

So, this is it!!   "B is for Butterflies"!   That's the title of my finished piece.   The photo on the above right is a reminder of the objects we had to use.

I chose to make a big purple butterfly!   Why, well, because that would be "so" me.   I love purple and I love butterflies!!

I used the brown man's tie to make the body of the butterfly.   I used the doily to stencil the coppery design onto the wings, the zipper is the antenna and I cut the lime green hair scrunchy into little tiny bits and glued them to add dimension for the spots on the wings!!!

The background of this quilt is a piece of fabric I created by snow dying fabric a couple of years ago.   The green is created using the rubber gripper from the brown bag.   I painted onto one side of the gripper mat, then put it on the fabric and rolled it with a brayer to release the paint.   I used the copper mettalic scrubbie to add the dabs of copper paint you see above the butterfly wing.

Finally, I fused a the letter "b" onto the flat wooden bead - hence the title of this piece.

This was so fun and everyone's piece was way different than the one before it.  You can see all of the pieces on the Museum Quilt Guild Blog

Monday, November 28, 2011

Brown Bag Challenge!

What do all of these things have in common?

1. A Man's tie (brown)
2.  a zipper (yellow)
3.  a white paper doily
4.  a metal scrubber (chore girl)
5.  a flat wooden bead
6.  a hair scrunchie (purple)
7.  rubber shelf liners

These are all part of the brown bag challenge we are doing in my guild.   We each received a brown bag with these 7 items (different colors and patterns) and were challenged to create something using all of them with any fabric we chose.   We could make a small quilt, purse, pillow......anything that we could show we used each of these items in some way.

I love things like this......I was one of the coordinators....but this was hard!   I'd have an idea and get stuck on using the last two items.   I'd have another idea and not like the way they all went together.   We have to use all 7 in some way, but they don't to appear in the quilt as they do in this picture.   Example:    Use one of the items to alter fabric in some way. 
Well, it is finally done and 2 weeks ahead of the due date (December 10).   YEA!!!!!   It's not a masterpiece, but I conquered the challenge.   No...of course you're not going to see the final product yet.   You know my blog is read my hundreds of people and I can't risk my idea being copied!!!!   Ha Ha...FYI - that is a big huge joke, designed to bring a smile (maybe even a loud guffaw) to your face!

Stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Longwood Gardens

I have been doing a little quilting lately - very little because of post-surgery on my finger - but I can't show any of it here as it relates to Christmas - both for family and for guild.   Instead I will show pictures from my recent trip to Longwood Gardens, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.   It was their annual mum festival.   Mums were never my favorite flower, but they certainly do wonderful things with them.
This is the first mum "tree" you see when you enter the conservatory.   There are 1167 blooms on here and they are all carefully grafted and inserted thru wire holders to present this sort of display.   It is just spectacular to see.

Loved the colors on this one!

This one is called Spoonflower!

Truly an Asian looking Mum - just outstanding in size and color.

I'm also on the hunt for a new waterlily photo to make a new quilt.   Here are some possibilities from the Longwood Gardens!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


We had a Fine Arts Festival at my church today.   It was a combination of an Art Show,  an International Bazaar and a Musical Concert tomorrow.   I was in charge of securing the art and we ended up with 42 pieces - a nice little display.   Large enough to be interesting and small enough not to overwhelm.   I showed 4 different art quilts, one of which is shown above - "Seagulls at Portland, Maine".   SOLD!    I was very surprised to see the sold sign on it when I went back to help close up the show this afternoon.   I know the home it is going to and it will be loved!    It is from a pictures I took on our cruise last year along the New England Coastline.   I manipulated one seagull to make 3 of different size.   I printed that onto printer fabric and then added other fabrics for the rocks and water.   Then I added tulle for shadowing, lots of threadwork for dimension and finally some colored pencils to enhance the color of the seagulls.   Metallic threads highlight the water.   Below is the original picture I took.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Sunday Morning Stroll in October

Well, if you read my previous posts, you know I'm still not quilting because of surgery on my finger (more involved than I originally thought--Silly, naive Elaine!!)   Anyway, I took the camera out today since it was a nice sunny day for a change!

This would be my favorite row of trees in Centennial Park - quite possibly the only real color this year.   We seem to be seriously lacking in color in this part of the state.
A very interesting tree in the park.

Interesting texture from said tree.   I like the roots - they al look rather "halloween-like"!

My favorite tree on my street, that is NOT mine!   It looks rather "painterly" don't you think?
Closeup of said tree.   I like the way the leaves move about the tree.
Just some lone red leaves amongst all the dead burdocks.   I like the juxtaposition of the bright, living with the dull dead leaves.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Be Very Careful...........

This is a VERY dangerous object!

 It is not just the lid of a soup can as you might imagine, it is as dangerous to your fingers
as a rotary cutter (if you are a quilter).  In late June I was opening a can of soup with this type of ring top lid and it just "snapped".   I had to go to the ER immediately and returned home with 4 stitches.   After about 6 weeks it all seemed to be healing just fine - on the outside.   But the color was off, parts of my finger were still numb and parts hurt to touch.   I was referred to a hand surgeon and am now awaiting surgery to repair a severed nerve.   Apparently the nerve endings are attaching to scar tissue and if I touch it at all, or try to use it, it is like sticking my finger in a light socket.   So, next week I will have surgery to insert a conduit like object into my fingers into which the nerve endings will be get them away from everything else they are looking for and/or attaching to.

So, I have no new quilts to show right now - but, stay tuned!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

I made this Bead

Yesterday was RAFA (Rochester Area Fibre Artists) Day.   As part of the afternoon workshop, Sarah Terry showed us how to make this bead - called "Sparkly Wheels".

It is hard to get a good picture, but here it is.   It is about 1 inch in diameter, made of 30 turquoise 4mm bicone swaroski crystals and over 100 little tiny purple sparkly size 11 seed beads.   Even with my "gimpy" finger, I was able to complete this.   I love it.   It will probably go on a quilt, but who knows.   I have enough to make one more this size, or two smaller.   I might try the smaller - on a day with good light and lots of patience.

I'm loving my hibiscus this year.   I moved it from the other house last fall and it has taken off this year.   Everyday there are at least 4 new blooms and this has been going on for weeks.

I mean, seriously, look at this color!!!   I have several pictures and a few closeups.   There is a quilt in there somewhere.

The bush - larger than it looks here - is relatively small yet.   It is still waiting to "grow up".   I can't wait.

This could be done in a quilt with sheers!!!!   I can just see the layering potential.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

j frag hibiscus

j frag hibiscus

My good friend, Janet, has a very special birthday this next week.   We have been friends since our college years, both of us were music majors, we both married our respective spouses on the same day 41 years ago, they lived in Batavia for awhile, our kids are about the same age and now they are our vacation/cruising buddies.  We have maintained a good friendship for lo these many years, despite many lengthy periods of not being able to get together because of family obligations etc.

My good friend Janet also loves hibiscus flowers.   This is a quilt made from the photo of her hibiscus plant taken in early August.    I saw an article on fractured flowers and thought this would make a perfect gift for her.    It was a pretty easy technique, using a photo printed to fabric, in this case, I printed on silk to give it the sheen that is characteristic to a hibiscus bloom.  It went together pretty easily and the stitching didn't hurt the silk fabric.   I added simple quilting lines in the flower, just to show the general shape of the folds etc. of the petals and then a leaf design in the outer part.

I call it "j frag Hibsicus" for "Janet's Fragmented Hibiscus".   It's sort of a play on a "genus" or "species" name in the plant kingdom.   It now resides in her home in Dublin, PA.   Happy Birthday, Janet!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

I went to Bermuda!!!!

Yes, I, Elaine Ross, went to Bermuda!!!  It's not many years ago that for a myriad of reasons that I won't go into here, this would have been unthinkable or unbelievable.   Yet, "Sailing, Sailing Over the Bounding Main" I went.   And it was "bounding"!!!   The first day out we rode the end of Tropical Storm Emily.   The crew, who had their sea legs, assured us this was nothing.   Maybe to them that was so - not so much to us.   Anyway, once there, it was perfect weather, hot and sunny everyday.   I have lots of pictures and it is truly impossible to pick a favorite.   But, I will share a few now and then.   Probably what impressed me the most was the "color".   I am a "color" person in my gardening and in my quilting and everything from the buildings (beautiful pastel shades), to the water ( a turquoise as blue as the pictures you see) to the pink sands and the beautiful flowers was color intense and inspiring.

Yes, the water is this blue and the sands are this pink!!!
Water Lily from our garden tour in St. George
Sunset on Harborfront Evening.   A perfectly gorgeous evening.
Standing under a tree, waiting for the bus to pick us up at the beach (I won't go into that experience with the buses)........this leaf was just inspiring for its color.   There IS a quilt in here somewhere.
One of the gorgeous churches
Looking at the moon from the back of the ship as we journeyed over the Atlantic and back to NYC.
View of buildings from our deck on the ship.   Something about the graphic, geometric shapes and colors - this was a view I loved.
Sunset on the water.
We took a catamaran ride one evening - a "champagne sunset catamaran" shore excursion!!

Mark and I with our friends, Janet & David Fryling, who we vacationed with both last year and this year.   We all went to college together, 3 of us were music majors (Mark should have been also), we were married on the same day 41 years ago, and have remained good friends since. Special times!!!