Thursday, October 20, 2011

settlers vom katan

you know those ridiculous "aha!" ideas you get every once in a while?

I've seen cookies. I've seen pizza. I've seen projects inspired by the game. But I haven't seen a fabric version of the game Settlers of Catan. Which makes perfect sense to me - the cardboard bits are shifty, and what would be more perfect than a mat with Velcro to secure the pieces onto? Or better still, a piece of blue, watery flannel, and the fabric tiles backed in flannel to keep them from sliding around. I'd use bits of grosgrain ribbon for the road. But I haven't gotten as how to handle the villages and towns, or the numbers for the middle of the tiles. Buttons?

Actually, what got me thinking of it was the pre-cut hexagon charm packs at the store. Not that that one could find a pre-cut charm pack with fabric of brick, rock, trees, sheep and wheat. But I'm on the look out. They would have to be instantly recognizable, so after some web searching, I came up with the following as ideas for a basic starter game:

brick (clay)

again with the trees
pebbles (for ore)

red brick
more trees for wood

birch (wood)

more trees

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


For a while, at work, we were painting pieces for the dual purpose of not wasting the paper products and having a variety of examples to show people how techniques worked. First up was painting light over dark. I was going through a revisitation of an elephant 

 phase, and looked up Indian elephants and paisley designs. The mottled texture was created with a synthetic sponge using an Olive tone. The elepahant was painted primarily in Green Tea, with Cranberry, Passionate Plum, Just blue, Pacific Salmon and Blue Green details.

We moved onto large spaghetti bowls to demonstrate sgraffito. Which trust me, I can tell you already it's not something you want to try- you probably won't have the time or the patience to execute this technique. And it's a pain.
Sgraffito works by first painting a thick - about three but more is better - coats of glaze on a piece of bisque. My base coat was Olive. You then take a stylus [we use dental picks] and carve out a design. I wanted my things to match, so I stuck with the Elephant/Paisley theme. That's supposed to be a pomegranate in the middle. After the carving is done, you take a secondary color and glaze the piece again, paying particular attention to the carved areas.Again, the more coats the better because when you are done, you have to wipe off the secondary color, but not wipe so much that you remove all the glaze down to the bisque. The idea is that the secondary color fills in the carved out places in the first layer of glaze. The Blue Green paisley swirls were painted on later, as were the little blue dots around the rim. 

I sponged the back of the bowl and glazed it to look like the plate. My wood furniture teacher in undergrad was very fond of encouraging us to do the unexpected, like putting a decorative paper on the underside of small boxes and drawers. It was the little details in overlooked places that made a piece really stand out. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

a slice of random

I remain ridiculously interested in travel. Never mind that I am a broke graduate student. The siren call of Megabus' $1 fare whispers to me in the night... go, go GO! I however, am like most whimps, and don't want to gogo-ago alone.

Let's blame the wanderlust on StumbleUpon, purveyor of websites catering to my interest in travel, baking, classical history, sewing, the list goes on. Mostly images of the Maldives and the luxury island resorts there.Or awesome things like this in Germany. [To my credit, I tried to follow the links, only to discover the website is ... in German. yo no hablo deutsch.] I should just opt not to click on the little round green, white and blue icon in the top right of my web browser.

Right. And miss out on cool things like this.

A wall that makes music when it RAINS!
the Funnel Wall at the Kunsthof-Passage in Neustadt.

When I do next go, I plan on lovingly ripping [in the style of John Williams] a few melodic ideas to make my travel life a little nicer. Even if the travel is to Villa Mamma e Babbo where the shampoo, body wash and conditioner are in normal sized, easy to handle bottles and the bed linens are pink check.

Aside from the California Roll sushi luggage tag, I was particularly interested in the heavy nylon bags for shoes, lingere, the token wet swimsuit and the like. I usually pack a laundry bag, I never thought to pack my shoes in a bag. Which begs the question of legalities concerning a small spray bottle of vodka. "Vodka?!" you say, waggling your finger, "Little lush!". I learned, in my brief stint as a costumer, that next to Lysol, plain unassuming [read:cheap] vodka is quite possibly the best disinfectant out there. So yes, a small spray bottle of vodka for hosing down said bacteria infested shoes.

3 floz
Billed as "For those who travel, for those who are curious, a those who can't commit."
Of particular interest, the "Help" line. Packaged neatly into a square tin [i'm assuming tin, paperboard wouldn't survive two seconds in any of my normal bags] Help products have you covered from aching or snuffly head to blistered toe. Pretty cool. I'm also thinking Christmas, particularly for my friends on the run in school who would sorely like to brush their teeth before arriving at choir practice.

Monday, October 17, 2011

minimalist materialsism

I'm proud of myself for not snagging the free bedside table in Shadyside. I was also on my bike, so it would have been a little ridiculous. It was pretty dated, looked to be from the 60/70's, but it had beautiful bones and potential...

Must stop. Else I hop in car and fetch a piece of furniture I have no space for. Decor wise, I seem to be going for a blonde wood, white trim - okay, the paint color was called "Silver Chalice". Looking around, I would say I could do a better job hiding the clutter. One thing at a time.

The To-Do pile keeps growing, and some things I will have to resign myself to not getting done this year. I can't paint indoors because I don't have a garage or the proper ventilation. So this puppy might have to wait for spring.

I bought it in May at a garage sale. I just replaced the original(?) painted wood knobs for white ceramic ones. A little on the lamesauce side, but you work with what you got sometimes.

I started looking up furniture stenciling, wondering if maybe I could incorporate the knobs into the design somehow, and I came across foiling. Oh dear. What is foiling? I asked self. How does it work?
Holographic-metalic-metal-rainbow? What?

One thing at a time, broke grad student, one thing at a time.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Butler Quilt Explosion

Starting today at 10 A.M. is the Butler Quilt Explosion! This year's theme, "A Journey Back in Time". 

First of all, it was a day for a drive. The trees are just beginning to turn, and will probably peak by next weekend. But who knows what the weather will be like next weekend, right? Last weekend I camped in the Laurel Highlands, and we got rained out. Today was picture perfect. 73 degrees, not a cloud in the sky. Aside from the fact that one of the street Google tried to send me down was one way in the wrong direction, it was very easy to find (and apparently, the police officers were turning a blind eye to the parking meters in that section of town)

So I got parked, and first thing there is the requisite basket of scraps, fill a ziplock (and seal it) for $.50. For $.50? oh, yes, please and thank you. So here is the addition to the stash - some nice reds, a mishmash of batiks, oh, happy day.

Moogie thinks, of course, that they are all for her.
Silly kitty.

There is also the raffle table, with baskets and a quilt. I have not heard anything as of publication... but the show goes for 2 more days, so there's still hope, right?

And then, to get to the quilts, you had to pass by the concessions. I will not regale you with tales of tasty pyrohi and apple dumpling. But it was fresh, homemade and TASTY.

Entre vous!
First up, on the left, was the display of Hoffman challenge entries. I, being biased and the only person in my party, took pictures of my favorites - and this goes for the pictures of the rest of the show, too.
Hoffman Challenge 2011 Fabric H8709 Moss Gold #98G


 Clockwise from top left
Asian Garden,  35"x40", Marcia Brown, Prineville, OR
Who Hoo's There? 27"x38", Vinda Robinson, Colorado Springs, CO
Ovals, Circles and Squares, Oh, My! 37"x37", Diane Whittier, Shawnee, KS
Weeping Cherry, 24"x33", Chris Davis, Antioch, TN

As aforementioned, these were my four favorites. Now to the rest of the show, and I will attempt to give proper credit where due. Remember, these are my personal favorites.

Peppermint Patty, 88"x99"
S. M., Pittsburgh, PA
Quilted by R. M.
Honorable mention

"I'm a beginner quilter and came across this pattern and instantly knew I wanted to make it.  I had my eye on bubblegum pink and chocolate fabrics and decided to challenge myself with the pattern ("Peppermint Patty" in American Patchwork and Quilting, 8/2008) Choosing all of the scrappy pinks and browns was fun; with the corners of the quilt my favorite parts. This was my third quilt. I designed the back unsil log cabins out of leftover fabrics"

 Sunflower Illusions, 80"x91"
J.K., Zelienople, PA
Quilted by M.T.
Third place, best use of color
Machine pieced, Long arm quilted

It's a Judy Niemeyer design. Paper-pieced with "piping hot binding" by Susan Cleveland. Most fabrics are batiks. 

My View, 88"x88"
T.M., Irwin, PA
Quilted by self
Third place, Novelty

"I started this quilt for my mother because it was her favorite pattern. When she died I put it away for about 5 years. This past January, I took it out and finished it."

Together Forever, 96"x116"L.S., North Lima, OHQuilted by self
Original design
"This wedding quilt was inspired by the couple, who are very supportive of each other and yet true individuals. The yin and yang was a perfect symbol. The blue/green background reflected the universe."

Sarah's Kaleidascope, 92"x92"
S.D., Butler, PA
Quilted by J.M.
Machine pieced, Long arm quilted
 Inspired by a quilt shown in a Fons and Porter Love of Quilting magazine.

Florida Curves, 108"x104"
L.S., North Lima Ohio
Quilted by self
Pieced by machine, long arm quilted.

"I began this quilt in Florida while visiting with my newest grandchild. My husband and I went to 6 different quilt shops gathering fabricsI had wanted to do a stack-and-whack with curves because this was the Tri-County Quilter's Guild challenge for 2011. I made my own pattern with freezer paper. I got directions from a friend on how to re-stack. To add interest, I reversed one half of the stacks."

Big Fish, 21"x18"
B.R., Lower Burrell, PA
Quilted by self


"I bought the pattern at a quilt show while in Naples, Fla. I had fun embellishing it with netting and stones."

E. Pluribus Unum, 48"x48"

L.A., Mars, PA

Quilted by self, hand quilted
First place, Best Hand Quilting

"This Quilt was inspired by one half of our nation's Great Seal. I drafted it from the version which appears on the back of our one dollar bills."
detail with seed bead embellishment

 Well, no one is perfect, and I goofed on this one. So enthralled was I at the ensy-weeeeensy ickle pieces that I forgot to take a picture of the description beside it. This may yet be in my possession, as I saved the brochure provided by the guild. 

Uluru / Ayers Rock, Australia, 25"x18"
L.S., North Lima,OH

Quilted by self
Third place
Original Design
 "This quilt is based on a photo take while on vacation in 2010. It was created to comply with a warm color scheme challenge for the United Quilt Guild in Salem, OH" 

N.R., Pittsburgh, PA
Quilted by N.R., C.A., A.D., P.G.
Original Design

"A snapshot of Pittsburgh was cut up into 4 slices and four people each got a slice to use for inspiration. The four quilts were then sewn together."

Sunflower, 26"x31"
D.C., Slippery Rock, PA
Quilted by A.G.

"It's a Phil Beaver pattern and fabric. Using fusible web and pattern for applique technique to achieve desired coloration in petals and leaves."

Anita's Jacket
G.K., Sewickley, PA

Quilted by self
First place

Lucky Me, 56"x"70
J.B., Eon Valley, PA
Quilted by J.R.
Machine pieced, long arm quilted

This quilt grew from the extra blocks from my granddaughter, A----'s quilt. It's Terry Atkinson's "Lucky Stars" pattern. I love using batiks and I'm lucky to have this quilt for me."

Dear Margaret, 50"x77"
M.C., Pittsburgh, PA
Quilted by self
Hand quilted
Second place, best theme quilt

"Blocks made in a class by Terry Benzo at Quilters Corners. I named it Dear Margaret since I pieced all of those itty bitty pieces, not Jane."

[Jane, for those of you who don't know, is in reference to an actual woman named Jane who's quilt, after which this is modeled, was showcased in a book for quilters. Quilts in this style are typically referred to as Dear Jane for that reason.]

Hunting in Blue, 52"x67"
G.K., Sewickley, PA
Quilted by self
Pieced by machine, long arm quilted.

"I tried to use as many blues and creams from my batik stash as I could find."

Magic Carpet, 55"x55"
B.H., Freeport, PA
Quilted by self
First place
Pieced by machine
Domestic machine quilted

"A fat quarter collection and a selection of batiks came together with a paper pieced pattern to make this multi-colored hanging that looks like a carpet"

Wizard of OZ, 50"x62"
E.E., Murrysville, PA
Quilted by S.W.
Original design

"OZ is a favorite of a niece. I will present it to her... some day."

Mariposa Beauty, 36"x51"
B.H., Freeport, PA
Quilted by self
Pieced by machine
Domestic machine quilted

"A variation of New York Beauty blocks done with a Lonni Rossi group of fabrics from her Mariposa collection."

Show times: 10A.M.-5P.M. Fri/Sat, 10-4 Sun. $5 Admission.
Family First Resource Center, 216 N. Washington Street, Butler, PA 16001