Sunday, April 18, 2010

April weekend

I have been blessed with 4 days of extremely fun things to do. Thursday morning was a quilting workshop with R, Thursday evening was fabric art guild with J and friends, Friday morning was quilt guild, and Friday evening and all day on Sat, C and I made Shaker boxes. Sat evening was D's Glee Club concert and gardening today. I have to retire so I can do this every week! There was a little cooking, cleaning, and laundry thrown in, but mostly it was just fun stuff.

Isn't this a gorgeous quilt? It is applique and traditional blocks all done in bright clear batik fabrics. The picture doesn't do it justice, it really just glows with color. It was a raffle quilt done by an Oakland County quilt guild and one of the members of my guild won it and shared it at show and tell this week. I think it is just stunning and how absolutely cool it would look in my yellow bedroom, behind the bed of course, so the dogs didn't lay on it. I have a couple (or 3 or 4) other quilting projects going right now or I would have already started on one similar to it, but alas, there are only so many damn hours in a day and there is never enough time for everything. The next picture is a close-up of the quilting done on the corner applique block. It was machine quilted and it really adds to the overall effect. I forgot to find out who did the quilting, (note to self...always take a picture of the label on the back, duh), but I am going to have to ask next month. She said that I could come visit the quilt anytime that I liked (I might take her up on it).

On Thursday, R and I went to a guild quilting worshop with Elsie Vredenburg of Tustin, MI. She calls the class "Stone Soup" and you bring in your odd quilt blocks from different projects and she helps you to put them together in a satisfying, though eclectic, manner. I took extra blocks from K's wedding quilt, D's apple quilt, strips from E's and C's quilts, and and blocks from a couple other workshops. Fortunately for all of us, she provided 3" 9 patch squares in a multitude of colors and several other small blocks for us to combine with our blocks. R's quilt top was the best. She had several extra blocks and fabrics from a quilt that she just finished for a church raffle (that sold for $280, it was beautiful and worth much more), so she actually had a theme going, unlike me. While looking at mine, Elsie mentioned that this method didn't usually add up to a competition quality quilt top, but it was alot of fun anyway. The very best thing about workshops is that you get to spend 6 hours with your friends, everybody doing something fun, talking, comparing notes, trading fabric, eating, and since you took the day off to do it, and paid for the class, you don't have to feel guilty about not doing anything else. A perfect day even with a less than perfect quality quilt top. My contribution, also displayed at show and tell on Fri morning, was only half of a quilt top because I only finished part of it in class and haven't had time to even think about it since. Elsie also did a lecture at guild on Friday about the healing qualities of working on, and receiving, handmade quilts. Certainly in my case, quilting and fabric art for my peeps is a way of expressing love when you live far away and can't be there everyday. And since the kids have grown and have lives of their own, it's one way of keeping me sane and giving me a community.

Thurs night was fabric art guild and we poured plastic resin into bottle caps to make little charms. And yes, L, stunningly, it was the same 2 step process that we did with dad and mom in the 1960s. You poured hardener into the resin, stirred a bit and poured it into the cap and let it sit until it dried. It was even purchased at Rio Grande, which was one of the mail order craft companies that mom got stuff from later. Mom and dad were definitely way ahead of the curve on this craft. To prepare, I wrote words using a variety of small fonts and tore them out as needed to add to my bottle caps. I also had gorgeous blue and green colored papers from an old National Geographic and a little sand, so I did "to" "the" "beautiful" "sea" in 4 of them. The resin darkened the colors, but the word is clearly visible as the white paper became invisible in the resin, so my charms look pretty much as I intended. This would be a really fun craft to do at the beach if anyone is interested, with cheap charm bracelets or anklets. People put all kinds of things in the caps, watch parts, beads, even little shells. Dad would be approving of all of this. I was the only one with words.

These photos are from the Shaker Box workshop in Charlotte on Fri and Sat. John Wilson is a retired Lansing Comm College woodshop instructor and has done this for many years. He travels all over the world teaching various wood classes, but the Shaker boxes are his most popular. He has been written up in Fine Woodworking, Popular Woodworking and several other magazines. He has also built gorgeous wooden boats. He and C had quite the discussion about the boats. He isn't teaching the class anymore, but offered to sell her the boat plans. My basket guild went to a workshop last fall, but I didn't go because we were in Munising. They want to go back and do the next 4 sizes up and I had to go get caught up with them.

We got there at 6 Friday evening and stayed at the shop until 11pm. He spent a couple hours explaining the history and process of the boxes. He is all about sharing the knowledge. There were people there from all over the country and a woman was supposed to be there from England, but because of the Iceland volcano, couldn't get a flight out of Europe. There were several older men, mostly woodworkers, furniture and jewelry box makers, a woman sculptor, and two couples. We shaped and tacked the veneer sides on Friday night. C and I were pretty fast and made all of our box sides on Fri night, so he let make the next size up and I also made a small music box. So C and I both have a stack of 6 nesting cherry boxes and I also have a small cherry music box with a birdseye maple top. It plays, appropriately enough, the Shaker hymn, "Simple Gifts". It took until 3 on Sat to finish the tops and bottoms of the boxes. Some were still working when we left, but we needed to get to get back to Flint so we could get the sawdust off of us before D's concert on Sat night. So we drove home and then went back to Lansing with H to see D. It was a long day filled with lots of concentration, and the smell of sawdust and the veneer storage brought back memories of Michigan Lumber with Gramps when I was little. I have more photos and will bring them to Md to show. I sanded mine today and will try to get them finished this week. C was at school today, but hopefully she will have time to get hers done this week too. We were going to drive home on Fri night, but he has a little guesthouse that we stayed in instead of driving, since we started at 8am on Sat. He built his guesthouse himself and it has a gorgeous birdseye maple banister on the ladder steps going up to the sleeping loft. The guest house was fun with it's little wood stove and big sheets of slate anchored to the walls as fire protection. The picture of the big box with the maple top and inset is a sewing box. The class next Sat was full, but he told me that I could join them, so I'm thinking that I could use a new sewing box. We had a blast and I think everyone should make a few Shaker boxes in their lifetime. Gramps would be very proud of C. She did beautifully.
The last photo is of the last song of D's concert on Sat and of course, from 3/4 of the way back in the concert hall, so the photo is not great. They are singing the MSU song, "On the Banks of the Red Cedar" their traditional closing. We heard both the Women's and Men's Glee Clubs and they were both very good. I always prefer the men's voices and they did a processional as the first piece, an African song with drums, that was stunning. They are also usually more entertaining then the women. I suspect the director's styles are different. The men sing lots of sacred music too, but also spirituals and funny pieces. And of course, the men are better, that's where D is. I'm so glad he has taken advantage of the opportunity to sing with a group like this. He seems happy when talking about the Glee Club and we love to hear him sing.

Gardening today, H mowed lawn and I planted bulbs and watered my little bitty marigolds and tomatoes. H is talking about yards and yards of soil and mulch so I suspect we'll soon be really busy. This is where he stops at the neighbor's house and collects the kids to work for the afternoon. Fortunately for me...they do.

1 comment:

  1. The boxes are beautiful! How nice that you were able to make your own!