Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Friday, January 31, 2014

Decisions, decisions on strip blocks

It's grey and rainy, so I decided to get a color shot by putting together the blocks I made last year for our monthly STITCH challenge, even though I didn't get blocks made for every month. The blue block in the top right of the second photo didn't seem to fit, so I made another one. (First photo, right side, second from top.) 

Then I tried a few different arrangements. A digital camera sure helps to compare! After very little pondering I decided to go with the layout in the first photo, which was the third layout I tried.

The fourth photo shows the first arrangement I tried, which I sort of like but decided to go with a more orderly setting that forms five diamonds ... although, now that I'm reviewing this post, I'm going back and forth between the first and last photos. Any opinions?

Here is how it looked outside this morning, which is why I needed to not dither and just jump into the color. I found the fun rain boot vase at Rite Aid yesterday half off and filled it with flowers brought over earlier in the week by a neighbor and her little great-granddaughters and a granddaughter. They come every Tuesday to visit Bunners and swing on the porch swing. They always brighten my day!

I've linked up to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday in case you want to see what other fiber artists have done this week:

Have a colorful day

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Inspirational lines and shapes from Texas

Everything I look at morphs in my head into quilt possibilities, so I thought I'd show you a few examples from last week's Texas trip. I zoomed into the wavy lines of a trunk at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens, and later I found myself on a staircase with similar lines. Both beg to be made into art.
Blue Mesa Grill, Dallas, TX
The restaurant abounded with design inspiration in addition to fantastic Mexican food.

The twig wall in the lobby of Blue Mesa Grill in Dallas is fabulous! Many quilts have been based on this simple juxtaposition of horizontal and vertical lines in alternating blocks.
With Dave at Blue Mesa Grill, Dallas, TX
For example, I made the quilt "Aquifers" four years before I saw the twig wall, but it could've been inspired by the wall. It actually came straight out of my head with no conscious inspiration.

Detail from "Aquifers," original art quilt by Sherrie Spangler

It may look like these wet rocks inspired the blocks in "Aquifers," except that I made the quilt four years before I took the photo! I guess I'm just drawn to those shapes and they come out subconsciously in my work.

Does this happen with any of you, and what shapes are you repeatedly drawn to?

The clouds and sky as we flew out of Seattle are similar in design to the rocks in Texas, with a horizontal line dividing a complex area below from a simple area above in each photo.

Leaves -- what more can I say other than gorgeous natural lines and color. Any little piece of a leaf could lead to a quilt. These are from the San Antonio Botanical Gardens.

Squiggly, wiggly plants and pods in San Antonio could translate into a quilt.

Organic fractured lines in a rock walkway in San Antonio contrast with yet are similar to manmade lines in a hotel lamp shade in Dallas. Each could inspire endless quilts. More to come later from the Texas trip!

Have a colorful day

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Everything's bigger in Texas!

Those of you who guessed that the Mystery State was TEXAS are right! As they say, everything's bigger in Texas, including me when I lumbered onto the plane to leave after a week of Texas-size servings of dessert, barbecue and enchiladas.

It took me three days to finish this slab of chocolate cake from the Saltgrass Steak House in San Antonio, and I didn't even eat all the icing.

My stomach felt like this laughing Buddha that was on the grounds of our hotel in Dallas. At the same hotel, the Hilton Anatole, I got this outrageous Rice Krispy dessert. It has chocolate mixed in with a layer of peanut butter filling and homemade marshmallow fluff on top. I had half for breakfast the next morning.

Then this thing was my dessert at Dick's Last Resort in Dallas. It's a cakey brownie with a whole Hershey milk chocolate bar melted on top and powdered sugar, nuts, chocolate drizzle and ice cream.
At Dick's, they make appropriate hats for each customer. Here's mine. (Most of them I can't show on the blog because they're too bad.) Dave's said "Banned from Petting Zoos."

Even the names sound big. Here's the Monument Café in Georgetown, just north of Austin. I actually had something healthy there, but I can't remember what it was.

This is the bigger-looking version of the statue clue in the Mystery City blog post. It's Stevie Ray Vaughan, late famous blues musician who is memorialized in this statue in Austin. The other part of his clue is that he played on "Austin City Limits." One of his songs is about flooding in Texas, and one of the clue photos was debris after a flash flood swept through McKinney Falls State Park in Austin.

At the colorful County Line in San Antonio, I had brisket and a crème brulee to die for, but I didn't get a picture. Another colorful restaurant is the Blue Mesa Grill in Dallas, where I had lunch with a friend I hadn't seen in about 20 years.

I think the entrance looks a little like my Southwest wonky log cabin quiltlet (the one I was accused of copying).

This twig wall at Blue Mesa reminds me of a quilt. Next I'll blog about inspirational lines and shapes I saw from San Antonio up through Dallas and above the clouds.

P.S. Some of the other photos in the Mystery Cities post are the Riverwalk and the Alamo in San Antonio, Las Colchas quilt shop in San Antonio (that'll get its own post), and an Alaska Airlines plane at Sea-Tac painted like a salmon.

Have a colorful day

Friday, January 24, 2014

Mystery state and cities -- can you name any?

Start of our trip.
Hi Y'all (hint 1). I haven't blogged in awhile because I've been out of state all week, so this calls for another Mystery Cities post. Who can guess what state and cities I've been in?

Hint: Everything's bigger in the Mystery State, even chocolate cake.

Mystery City 1:

One of Mystery City 1's biggest attractions.

Another major attraction.

There are a lot of these here.

On to Mystery City 2, same state:

This guy, one of my favorites, sang about flooding in the Mystery State.
Here's a link to the song, which is almost like cheating for you: 
He's played on "______ City Limits."

 This shows some of the recent "flooding down in ________ ."

Mystery City 3:

We just arrived yesterday in Number 3, so I only have one good photo so far. The other hint is that we came here hoping to find warmth and sunshine and ended up in a Polar Plunge.

I'll blog later on quilt stores and art, but for now let's see how many can figure out all three cities!

Have a colorful day

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Let there be light!

"Light" by Sherrie Spangler copyright 2004
We finally had sunlight today in our cloudy corner of the country! The upside was gorgeous shadow play on my 10-year-old quilt hanging in the stairway landing. The downside was that suddenly all the dust and cobwebs became visible.

As the sun came through the window, it created one shadow on the quilt and a second one on the wall below. I couldn't figure that out, but I took photos. And here's a photo of the bird sculpture and Starbucks stuffed reindeer that cast the shadow. (Yes, I keep my Christmas decorations up until February. We need the cheeriness on the grey days.)

Have a colorful day

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"New Mexico House" quilt

"New Mexico House" by Sherrie Spangler copyright 2014
I just did another wonky log cabin quilt, this time in response to our STITCH challenge to use the beads we were given at last month's meeting. I traded for some cactus beads because I love the desert.

I'm still using the same scraps from the last wonky quilt. I satin stitched turquoise frames around the window and door because Southwest lore says turquoise frames ward off evil ... at least that's what I read in a guide book.

Cactus beads inspired this little quilt.

I decided to do a pillowcase backing, so I only quilted through the top and the batting. Before I applied the backing, I machine stitched the sleeve so I wouldn't have to do it by hand afterward.

Then I put the top and backing right sides together and sewed all the way around. I turned it through a slit that I cut where the label would go.

Speaking of labels, don't make my mistake. Usually I use a pigma pen, but this time I used a pretty turquoise Staedtler pen. I forgot to test for permanency, and when I steam fused the label on it all blurred out. So I just went over it with a black pigma pen and now it looks fine.

This wonky piecing is getting addictive. I think I'll do some more today because my car just started making a horrible knocking noise when I turned it on so I don't think I'll be going anywhere today. Still waiting for the service guy to call me back and tell me if it's even safe to drive in to the garage or if I need to have it towed.

Hop over to Nina Marie's Off-the-Wall Friday to see what other fiber artists have done this week:

Have a colorful day