Saturday, January 1, 2011

Vegan Pancakes to Start the Year

Greetings All,
This morning I made the best vegan pancakes from scratch; accompanied by vegetarian sausages. Oh yes, I don't think I mentioned that I am a vegan and have been one for a very long time. Took care of the grandchildren last night. I thought I'd send them home with their bellies full; so I did it my way. I need to cook more for myself. I use to be the designated cook when the children were younger, and they learned to cook, and then my hubby wanted to cook, and then I was needed in the kitchen less and less. However, I miss my cooked food. Well, I am going to cook at least 3 times out of the week. Hopefully it will get to more. Anyway, have a great New Year day and wonderful rest of the year. Maybe I'll blog every now and then about the Art of Cooking Vegan :-) That might be a Voice of Art.



Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New You and Me

Greetings All,

The past year (2010) seems to have been a whirlwind of a year. I felt like I had been so productive. However, many of the projects that I had planned on completing are still in limbo or unfinished.

I can't believe that weeks have gone by since my last post. I thought about posting everyday, but, just never took the time to sign in. I don't usually make New Years resolutions because I never keep them or somehow seem to change them. I am though going to post at least once per week. I think that will be a more realistic of a promise to myself. If I post more times than one, so be it.

About the quilt that I was working on in October, it is still in progress. That piece will be one of the first that I complete in the new year. I am a woman of my word. I have allowed outside forces ( my job, and other things) take up much of my time. I didn't even quilt as much as I wanted to.

So, now this is where the balance starts. I am going to see how it unfolds. Moving into a balanced state will be one of the things that I'll focus on. Anyway, enjoy the New Year. Try not to take unwanted baggage with you into 2011. I am going to try to do the same.

    Me and the 'Fela the Musical' cast from one of my 2010 interviews.  
My daughter, the life coach, always talks about toleration. What will we tolerate in 2011? ......and for the things that we won't tolerate, what actions will we take to not tolerate them?


Peace, Love, and a Multitude of Blessings,

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quilting the 1st Layer Builds a Strong Foundation!

I have finish the first layer of quilting the quilt. Whew!!!! It wasn't difficult,just a bit tedious. For those of you who are familiar with my work, I do quite a bit of machine quilting and is very maticulous with the little things that I place on the quilt. I think the most time consuming in this step was the hearts, words and ribbon symbols. The quilt needs some green leaves; the hearts are not enough so for the second layer, I will add some green leaves and maybe some more hearts along with the women figures.

While quilting, I realized that there were some things that I hadn't mentioned or needed to reiderate about the machine quilting process.......and as things come to me, I will mention them in blogs to come.

1. When quilting you must put enough pressure on the foot pedal so that you will get ample enough speed and stitches per inch. If you go to slow, your stitches will seem jerky looking; almost like a person is driving a car  with two feet and the car keeps coming to a hault and moving in a jerking motion. The second thing is, when machine quilting too slow it's not like driving a car, you do not slow down when going around curves. When you want your stitches to make a loop or a circle or outline a curved shape, your bobbin thread will show on top if you are going to slow. 

Pulling up the bobbin thread to the top of the quilt when starting
2. In the picture with the finger (yes it's my finger), I have pulled the bobbin thread up to the top of the quilt because I am starting to quilt. You only do this when you are starting to begin stitching ( at the beginning when you are starting to stitch at any point during the quilt project or if you change the thread color or if you've had to stop sewing because the bobbin thread ran out and you have to start again).If you don't do that, your bobbing thread will work it's way back into the bobbin case and cause all kinds of problems including tangling of the bobbin thread. If the bobbin thread happens to run out, cut a descent length of the top thread and pull it to the back of the quilt project that you are working on by pulling a stitch from the back of the quilt.The will bring the top thread and the end of the bobbin thread to the back. Some quilters work it into the quilt layers once the quilt if finished. I stitch over those threads to lock them in place.....then begin quilting again where I left off.

Note: I took pictures of areas of the completed 1st layer. I wanted you to see how the threads seem to connect to one another. I don't cut the thread every time that I sew an appliqued piece if I am using the same color for each of the appliqued symbols. I just pull a length of thread long enough to move from one symbol on to the next one. Once I finish the whole 1st layer, cut the thread or clean up the area to prepare for layer 2. Well on to the next layer.                              

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's On Now!!!!!!!!!

Yes, it is on and in the quilting zone! I got up this morning and went straight to my sewing machine. Wow! This feels great!!. Oh, almost forgot to mention that today is my Earth Day.
Happy Birthday to me.
Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday dear Myraaaaaaaah,
Happy Birthday to me!!!!!!
So.... I feel even better that I am giving back for a good cause on my birthday

Alright, back to the business of quilting. I should give a little machine quilting 101. Okay, I use "The Bottom Line" thread on the bobbin. I love this thread on my bobbin because it is strong and thin and allows me to load three times the amount in relationship to other types of thread. The other great thing about "The Bottom Line" is that it comes in numerous colors. Some quilters don't like it because it is not a natural fiber. It is a polyester material. You know from the last post what thread I am starting the quilting with.

The Way I Free Motion Quilt
1. I drop the feed dog.
2. I set my stitch tension to a comfortable position. I think it is a mental thing :-) (Really, the stitch tension doesn't really make a difference since you will moving the fabric through the machine at will.)
3. I don't use gloves or fingers or any device to help keep the quilt from sliding through my finger. I just use my bare hands. Love the feel of the cloth.
4. Then........I just go for it. I get a comfortable speed so that everything is in sink; my hands with my mind and my foot and my gut. I almost get into a meditative state. It's like nothing else around me matters. It's just me the quilt and the my machine; which is and older version of the Bernina family called the Quilter's Edition. They don't make them anymore, but it is one of the most sturdy machines that Bernina has ever made. That's what the man who cleans my machine told me.
5. Oh yeah, almost forgot, even though the rythem when free motion quilting can feel great without dropping the feed dog can feel exceptionally well, ALWAYS drop it when machine quilting. I almost lost old faithful  because I got in the habit of machine quilting on it without dropping the feed dog. I ran well for a good while. Then it started making a loud noise. Finally, the machine just stopped. When I took it to the mechanic, he asked me if I had taken it apart and tried to put it back together myself because he had never seen any machine in such bad shape. I said ,"No" and after a number of questions we realized that I had injured the timing mechanism by pulling the quilt across the feed dog. The repair cost me over $ 200.00. I was able to save my baby; the Bernina that is LOL.

I'll report again on the process of the quilt once I get to Quilting Phase 2. I still have to upload the radio program shows, "Voices of Art". Maybe later on today I'll get to at least 1 of them. I'm going to spend some time with my Granddaughter. She's taking me to lunch for my B-Day!!!!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Staying On Course

I'm back in my two seater, convertible, lapis blue Jaguar; the highest end model of course. Get it? Back on the wagon is how the saying really goes. I kept walking past the sewing machine... and the quilt.... and the thread, gently gazing as I walked past. "Go for it", I say to myself. "Just jump on in; get started on the quilting and finish it. There's not a whole lot to do". So I pull out a bin of my thread. The ones that are yellow,red, and variegated with a sprinkle of purple threads here and there. I am a thread finatic. I probably have just as many spools of delicious thread as I do fabric. I think it has to do with the thread colors and texture. I also like the fact that one can hold a spool of thread in your hand. Don't the threads look yummy? I have a love for all types of cotton and other types of  threads but Madiera viscose thread seams to always steal my heart. I use 'black core' thread quite a bit. The black core is made exactly the way it is named. It has a strand or a couple of strands of thread in the center of the strand. The strand of thread is wrapped  or twisted with a metallic strand that seems different from other metallic threads that I have used in the past. I don't have trouble with breakage and it gives off a wonderful glitter next to the fabric; depending on the way you look at the finished quilt.  The viscose variegated that is pictured to the right will be used for the tree and the background sun rays and sky. I think it will promote contrast but blend nicely, at the same time, with the tree. The brown color that is a part of it variegated nature will blend in. I'll probably use a cotton thread for the outline of the women's bodies and the hearts that will serve as leaves. I'll let the quilt tell me what it wants. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Harlem Needle Arts is Featured

Angela Harden (General Manager), Michelle Bishop (Director,HNA), and Me

I keep hearing this voice in my head saying," Finish that quilt, finish that quilt. You know it was due days ago." What a whirlwind of a schedule it's been this week and we are only approaching Wednesday. Well, tonight was the Voices of Art radio/web broadcast and the Harlem Needle Arts, founded and directed by Michelle Bishop was the guest. What a wonderful show!!!!!! I felt right at home; in my element. I never realized how much work it takes to produce a successful radio show, as specially one that is streamed live on the web. I enjoyed myself quite a bit though!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Voices of Art airs on WHCR 90.3FM and the Stitch Goes On!!!!

                                                                                                                     Getting ready for the radio show tomorrow evening from 5-6 pm. Voices of Art airs on WHCR 90.3 FM or streamed in live at This will be the final Voices of Art broadcast until November 2nd. I will be doing two a month until the end of year. Oh, I do have a surprise show that will be aired either in November or December. One of those months will run three shows. I will let you know as we get closer. Tomorrow's guest will be Michelle Bishop, Director of Harlem Needle Arts. I am looking forward to the interview because I love introducing folks to arts that  may be unfamiliar to them. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm still working on the quilt. It's on the sewing machine. I am a free motion quilter. That means, I use the machine needle as a drawing tool. The feed dog is dropped......Under normal sewing circumstances, the feed dog ( the thing that looks like dog teeth) within the plate of the sewing machine is used to keep the fabric from sliding when one sews. Well, I move that out of the way so that my fabric can slide or move freely, allowing me to move what I am sewing in any direction at any time. I  outline the shapes that I want, create detail and shadow in the shapes, and I always sign my name using the free motion sewing technique. There is a special sewing machine foot that we use. It has a round shape and kind of jumps up and down so that you can move the quilt layers freely. Once I get in the groove, I can free motion quilt for hours at a time. These are a couple of my favorite images to free motion quilt. I frequent three LOL! 1. My rendition of the feather, 2. A spiral or coil, and 3. My name of course. I always sign my quilts with just my first name and add an Egyptian Ankh( The Ankh is a symbol of everlasting life) at the end.