Thursday, October 25, 2012

My trip to Alaska.

Day 1/Destination Fairbanks:

The Log Cabin Quilters of Anchorage and the Cabin Fever Quilters of Fairbanks invited me to come teach for them.  I had a great trip, and I'm going to share some pictures.

Alaska Airlines has a six and a half hour non-stop from Chicago to Anchorage. I will then fly another hour to Fairbanks. I loved the flight from ORD to ANC.

First off, they had wifi, and it only cost $5 per flight, if you are flying to Alaska. I signed up and posted to Facebook. Then, I realized I could move towards the back of the plane and have my own row. I did that and when I started up the iPad again, there was no internet connection. The screen kept apologizing for not providing an internet connection and urged me to try again in a few minutes. It told me that the connection would not work if we were outside the US

After about 15 minutes, I went to the back of the plane and asked a flight attendant if I had lost wifi because I moved too far back and was out of it's range. No, we were over Canada. And the service was only good over the US. I should have thought about that, the captain did say we were going over Canada. (A glance at the map would have clued me in...) The service, GoGo did send me a coupon for a free session in the future, I didn't use it on the way home.

The one hour flight to Fairbanks rolled back from the gate on time, but then we sat there for a while. Then we rolled back to the gate and the captain announced that there was a maintenance issue with the plane and we were to debark and we could come back on when they had made the repair. On the way out, as part of my effort to be as cheerful as I can on a flight, I thanked the Captain for not flying us over the mountains in a broken plane. The captain said "We couldn't go anyway, the plane wouldn't start." Aha.

I called Betsy in Fairbanks, to tell her I'd be at least 45 minutes late and we agreed that I would just call her when I landed, as she was so close to the airport. Not a problem.

I called Brian to tell him that I was in Anchorage, and leaving eventually for Fairbanks. He thought the airport was probably very small, but I told him he was wrong indeed. And here are some of the pictures  I took while at the Anchorage Airport.

One of the several souvenir stores in the terminal. I had a feeling I was going to see a lot of bad puns for business names.
A view out the window of the terminal. 

There was a plane hanging from the ceiling at the gate. It's a Cessna 172, which is the most popular private plane. Or maybe the most popular single engine plane. One of those. I "flew" one for my 41st birthday on a discovery flight. The real captain had a second steering wheel and other controls. I loved it, but I am too short to be able to fly this airplane, I can't see over the dashboard and reach the pedals at the same time.

I tried several times to make a scared face and have the stuffed polar bears be in the background. 
I checked the departure list and noted that they had several flights to Dutch Harbor. Brian loves "Deadliest Catch".
Finally we flew to Fairbanks, in a very crowded plane, 737. The view outside was amazing. I didn't take pictures though. But the people around me were very generous sharing the information, telling me the names of the rivers we were flying over. 

So, that was Day one.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A few shots of my studio

Here are some pictures of my studio.

The wall units are a combination of Ikea Stuva and Ikea Besta. The Besta units come in many more combinations than the Stuva, but the Besta doors were not what I was looking for. I discovered that the Stuva doors would fit on the Besta frames.

So, below are three Besta 25 x 25 x 75" high frames. With three sets of Stuva doors.
I could have saved some money buying wider Besta units, instead of three narrow units, but it was easier to get these home. (In my Prius) And I had to build them on my own, so the narrower units were doable. I used those furniture disks under the units to maneuver them in place and then I left the sliders under them.

You can see two more sets of Stuva doors, those are one two 25 x 25 x 25 units, I meant to buy shallower, but I bought those. 

The purple boxes on top are from ikea too, Skubb. They come in purple, white, black, at least for now, in many different sizes. They are made out of fabric, and the bottom zips open or closed, so you can collapse them. I used the Circle die from Accuquilt, to cut out some circles to use as tags. Stray fabrics land in the containers, one has lamé, another has silk, one has scraps. 

I also have this amusing clock. It is not from Ikea. I ordered it from Pamela Allen, the designer.

Years ago, I bought two of these units. At ikea. Of course! They were meant to be shoe storage. And the green doors reverse to be blue. Depending on my mood, they can be bookshelves, storage for Accuquilt dies as they are here, printer stations. Etc. The did have short plastic legs, but without the legs, the unit fits under an old dining table. Ye olde dining table is cherry, it's gorgeous, and I got it at Carson Pirie Scott, as a clearance item. It's 36high, 40x72. And there is a leaf that I can't lift. You can't see the table in this picture, you'll have to trust me that it exists. You can see one leg of it here. I have covered it in multiple layers of ironing board cover fabric, felt and canvas, so I can iron on the whole table.

This is from ikea too! From the kid's section. It was about $5. It's meant to hold a roll of paper, but I took a bolt of Wonder Under off the cardboard, rolled it up and I keep it on my worktable.
I hope you found that inspirational!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Horror Vacui Or Cenophobia?

I learned about this term during a lecture at the School of The Art Institute. Professor Yood was talking about Chicago artists and one of the characteristics of an artist from Chicago is often "horror vacui".
If you look at the wiki article and then again at my quilt, my quilt seems almost empty in comparison.

I don't really think I'm unstable, but I am enjoying adding more and more detail to this quilt top. I'm putting this image up now, which is a few weeks old, so that I don't wander upstairs and work on it and forget to come down and update the picture on my blog.

I've decided that each section should have at least two details within each band. For example, see the purple triangles around the upper right circle? Those need to have another shape on them. And I'm going to put more circles on the curvy bands, one has turquoise curves on purple (Upper right corner), another is the turquoise against the orange. I have no clue how I will quilt it, I might even bead around each shape.

 I've been working on this quilt for at least a year, maybe two even. I'm taking it slow and enjoying it. These shapes are all fused, no turned edges for me!

Here's a link to the wikipedia entry

What do you think? Have you ever obsessed over a surface?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My show in The Quilt Show

My episode on The Quilt Show, with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims, will be free for one week, April 15 to April 22.

Follow the link above. There is also a coupon code for a 20% discount if you decide to join. The code is:

I hope you go see it. I had a lot of fun taping it. And I seem to be a lot calmer than I am in "real life". 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

tell me a joke

The other day, I was playing around on my iMac and discovered that LION features "VoiceOver", part of its Universal Access services.

One of the voices, Samantha, sounds just like Siri. ( Listen to "Samantha")  (listen to a really interesting use of Siri)

I was playing with the commands. You press a button and say stuff, and the iMac does different things.
I'd forgotten how much fun this is, and how it can be truly useful. In 1992, we got a MAC LC, and Josh and Sam were able to do all kinds of things with our computer, because the Talking Moose would do many of the same things that VoiceOver could, if they needed help reading window contents. Plus it was highly entertaining.

I used to ask the Moose to tell me a joke. He told terrible knock knock jokes. And so does Lion's Samantha. (My little Samantha, the bride to be, tells much better knock knock jokes.)

So, the other day, I had to drive from Evanston Illinois, up to Racine Wisconsin. I have built in GPS in my Prius and she understands verbal commands. I wanted to see the entire route. I couldn't figure out how to do it. She showed me all the Thai restaurants. Then the Golf courses. Then a few other things. She does "hide icons" on command, at least she understands that one thing.

In frustration I said "Tell me a joke." That trigged the "help" command and she read me a list of common commands, one of which might have been "show entire route". Whatever it was, I remembered long enough to see the entire route. A half hour later, I couldn't remember, because driving in the rain, with half of your quilt stuff and wondering where to get goodies to get on the way to the quilt retreat does not go well with trying to remember weird bits of information. But I remembered "tell me a joke", which gets me to the help screen.

The next day, on the way to the local quilt shop, I tried again because the route there was very windy but on the way home it was easier, so I wanted that easier route. But we were there by the time I got her to show me the entire route.

Sometimes when I am alone in the car, I swear at her, and she goes to the next CD in the cd changer. "Next CD" also works.

Anyway, I don't think the Prius does tell knock knock jokes. I really wish it did.

I think it won't be long before cars come with an optional mount for an Ipad, one that would also hide it. You'd pull up a screen... wait, I bet they already make that.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A quick tour of my studio

I have more of my studio organized, thanks to several trips to ikea and hardware stores.

First, an ikea hack. I needed something to hold my flatscreen tv, my dvd player, stereo and satellite dish. The tv stand I had was too low. I didn't want to hang the tv on the wall, because I change my mind so often about where things are in my studio. So I built this "media" dresser out of a Malm three drawer dresser (less than $100), a Closetmaid stackable shelf, and pieces of hardware I had saved off of another table. You can buy new ones. The downside of this hack is that it won't hold my stereo, but I haven't figured out how I really want to hook it up anyway.

 Here's what I needed:
MALM 3 drawer chest IKEA Extra roomy drawers. Smooth running drawers with pull-out stop.
Malm dresser from ikea $80

ClosetMaid 31" Horizontal Organizer Espresso
Closetmaid stackable shelf from Target $13

Secure the shelf to the top of the dresser using an angle and some good wood screws
I used a battery operated screwdriver. (Ikea has THOSE too!)

I reinforced all of the corners on the upper 
shelf also. I only reinforced the corners on
the back of the lower shelf, so I could move
things more easily on the shelf. But I see now
that I could have also reinforced the front corners 
too. So if you want to do this, you'll need 10 
corners. 4 on each level for reinforcement and
two to attach the shelf to the dresser.
Here's the finished media dresser. I found those disks you put under furniture to make it easier to move, and I just left them under the dresser so I can move it when I need to get to the back of the unit.

My working wall, this quilt top is almost finished. 

The bulletin boards I used to form the wall are strong enough to allow me to use the wall to hold things up, like my clock, and some quilt parts, and a shirt I want to embellish. 

I hung two of these decorative shelving units on this wall, because they were shallow enough to avoid interfering with access to the walk in closet on the right. I'm going to use the shelves to hold small things that I've bought just because I like to look at them, or gifts. In this picture, I have some ribbons I bought from Handloom Batik this year at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival, a pincushion made by my friend Maggie Winfield, some buttons in spice jars from ikea. At the door to my closet, I have this cute bird hanging thing I bought from Handloom Batif a few years back. It really should hang on a hook from the ceiling but for now, it perches on the door frame. And I'm short enough to walk under it.

I rearranged my stash of hand dyes into a rectangular color wheel. On top of the bookshelf, I use Skubb storage boxes from ikea. These particular ones are about $5 each in sets of three. I used the round die from Accuquilt to make labels to tie onto the handles of the boxes.  

This is my main worktable. It's really a "harvest" table that I bought as a floor model at a furniture store. It's 36" high, 40" wide and without the leaf in, 76" long. I can put the leaf in for another 20" in length, but the leaf is really heavy. The table is made out of cherry, although you can't tell, because it's surrounded by storage and covered with multiple layers of batting, and a top layer of canvas.

 I used safety pins and the silver cord that comes from the Apple store to hold the fabric on the table, but it's sagging. One of these days, I'll zigzag over some regular string to make a better cover. In the meantime, this table gives me a lot of space to work. I can iron, rotary cut, and put my Accuquilt Go! up on the table too. If I clear off the table, I can put one of my smaller quilts completely on the table. I like to work in a 40x54" rectangle for some of my quilts.
I found this roll paper holder in the kid's section in ikea. It was $5. It is meant to hold a roll of 18" wide paper, also sold by ikea. But for me, it's PERFECT to hold a bolt of Wonder Under, my preferred brand of fusible. I took the fusible off the regular bolt, pulled out the instruction sheets as I went and then rolled it up. It lives on this holder, and I can easily use it to cut sheet of Wonder Under to put in my printer. 

I cut Wonder Under into sheets across the width of the bolt. So the sheets are 8 1/2 inches by 17 3/4 inches.  I can stack them to feed into the printer, I use a few sheets of regular printer paper behind them for support and then let them flop over the back. You may not need the support sheets, you might have to play around and see what works best. This printer is an all in one and wireless, so I can design something on my laptop and then send it over to the printer. I keep my laptop on one of my sewing cabinets. 

Well, that's it for today! Time to go get ready to go to the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild meeting!