Tuesday, April 26, 2016

C-WAGS Scent Trial - Level 4 April

River and I attended a C-WAGS Scent Trial on April 13 and April 20, at Anything Goes for Dogs in Marysville, Ohio.

Both nights, there were 2 trials at levels 3 & 4 each. I signed River up for level 4 only but I wound up signing up for one level 3 trial each night.

On April 13, she got 1 Q at level 3 and 1 at level 4.  She did really well the first level 3 search but the first level 4 search, she got 3 of the 4 scents. I think she got frustrated because she just started batting around the boxes and alerting when the scent wasn't there but she got one of the scents that was about 3 feet off the ground. The second search she did really well but a train came through the area and she was a bit nervous and stopped searching. I finally got her searching again and she found the last scent.

The Level 4 searches were fairly hard. A lot of the shorter dogs had never scented anything 3 feet in the air before but that height is within the rules.

On April 20, River was entered in 1 level 3 search and 2 level 4 searches. This was just a bad night all around. She didn't Q in any of them. She got 2 scents on the level 3 search and 3 scents on the level 4's. The room was really warm and humid feeling and I think that played a big factor in how the scent was traveling or simply not traveling. River does not methodically search each item on the floor. She simply roams around and catches scent that way and follows it back or she may get her nose close enough and catches scent. This time, it appeared she needed to get her nose really, really close in order to get the scent and she simply wasn't doing that.

Oh well. There will be another scent league in June and July.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

New Quilt Project - Bird by Bird

I found a great book called Applique Mastery by Philippa Naylor. In it, she throughly goes over her techniques for applique and her pattern for her quilt called Bird by Bird.

I admit, I don't usually follow a pattern exactly unless its making a tote or bag or something and I kinda have to for it to turn out. I simply mean that where a pattern says use X color or X shape, I probably won't. I'll change little things making them more mine so by the time I'm done, I doubt my quilt will look exactly like hers. And that's okay.

The quilt has a lot of applique pieces. Hence the title applique mastery. No I didn't count all the pieces but clearly there are a several hundred or more in this 74x74" quilt. If I would use a pair of scissors to cut all the interfacing pieces and fabric pieces and do it all by hand, I would be dead by the time it all got cut out let alone sewn down.

So, that's where my handy Cameo Silhouette comes in. I bought one to cut out paper decorations for my in-laws 50th Anniversary party last year but now I think I need it to help me cut out several hundred pieces of fabric and interfacing. I'll still have to do a lot of work on them and then sew them down but the Silhouette will cut faster and more accurately then I ever could and I might get this quilt done sometime this century.

The applique pieces are also machine sewn. You can sew them down by hand or whatever you want to do but I think I'll machine sew the pieces down and try to get the quilt done sometime in the next decade. Naylor also uses her sewing machine a lot for this quilt and I don't just mean to sew pieces down. There are a lot of embellishments from adding rick rack to decorative stitches around each and every piece with different kinds of thread.

So this quilt is going to be a huge challenge for me. One, I have to pick 10 different fabrics that will contrast and coordinate in a pleasing eye catching color scheme, work with several hundred applique pieces and interfacing, and add any embellishments (decorative thread stitches, rick rack, cording, etc.) that I want to try. And let's not forget, I always have 1 sewing element I do that I've never done before in my quilts (at least I try to). So since this is literally 1 piece of fabric and sewing bits onto it, I'm thinking I need to try a prairie points border, which I've never done before... ever.

Now to pick fabric.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Art Quilt - Grandma

I finished the 50th Anniversary quilt for my parents in February and I've taken a few weeks off to think about my next art quilt project. I usually find inspiration by picking a subject first, then I consider what else I can put on the quilt.

I decided my next subject would be my grandmother. She will be 88 in April and she's my last remaining grandparent. She's a really kind woman and I'm glad she's been in my life so I thought I'd do something special.

Since I made a colored pencil portrait of my parents, I thought I'd do the same for this quilt. So I went through all the family photos and picked a few pics of my grandma that looked nice. I picked one from when she was a teenager, one with her holding a great-grandchild and one with her with some flowers she got on Mother's Day. Grandma loves birds, flowers, Ohio State football, has no sweet tooth to speak of, has always weighed 127 lbs. her entire life and loves everyone she meets.

Since I can't put a ton of stuff on her quilt, I decided to put a picture of her with her flowers in the middle, a young version of herself on one side and pic of her holding a grandchild on the other. Further out, I settled on a cardinal and Ohio State with a football helmet. Then I thought to make the quilt in the shape of the state of Ohio. This may or may not happen. I haven't done anything like that before so we'll see.

I started with the teenage picture first. This one must have been taken when she was around 16 or so and it looked like it was taken in a photo booth type thing. It's a tiny photo about 2x3 inches in sepia tone and there is harsh lighting so her face is bright white. I had to darken her face a little or you wouldn't see any features.

The second one I did was grandma holding her great-grandchild Sophie. This picture wasn't the greatest contrast wise. Everything was pink. Literally. My grandmother's face was a flushed pink, her blouse was a shiny mauve/pink color, the baby's face was pink and her little dress was light pink with darker pink skirt with darker pink flowers. It was horrible to have to draw and I had to make up a lot. 

Next, I drew a red cardinal on a branch and a Ohio State logo complete with a buckeye leaf and football helmet in upper corners of the state shaped quilt. Grandma really likes her cardinals and Ohio State football. I'll do more quilting around the bird and the block "O" and buckeye leaf instead of doing them all in colored pencil. 

For the center of the quilt, I found a nice picture of grandma on mother's day. My mom had taken her flower shopping and she was sitting on the front step of her house behind her new flat of petunias and geraniums. I focused on drawing her legs, arm and shorts first.


Then, I worked on her plaid shirt. Memo to me, never draw someone wearing a plaid shirt. Just don't do it. And I worked on the background some.

Lastly, I worked on the face, shading and of course her flowers. I also found out, its hard to draw white hair on white fabric so there's more gray than in the actual picture. The pictures don't really do the drawings justice. You can't see all the different tones, wrinkles etc., that make up the picture.

I'm pretty happy with all 3 portraits. They're not exact but they're fairly good likenesses of my grandmother. But she'll probably say something like, "Why did you make me look so old?" then she'll kiss me. 

I purposely, left the background (wood/shrub) behind her not come all the way out to her leg and I made the flowers flow down from upper left to lower right. I'm hoping that when I get all the background parts of the quilt (white area) quilted that she'll look like she's more 3D instead of 2D. That's the plan anyway. 

I'm also thinking that I need to do a wash of brown ink on the quilt. I don't want it to be bright white and I like the antique look. The brown wash will soften it a lot.

Here's a pic of all 3 pictures. I put some brown background on the portrait on the left. The others had a background of some kind and it looked weird without one. Besides, it really helped the picture stand out a little. Although, you can't see it the Ohio State helmet is in the upper left corner, the bird in the upper right and under the portraits is the bottom part of the quilt. 

At the bottom of the quilt, under the 3 portraits, I kinda ran out of room but I decided to throw in some dog paws. I was going to try to draw a portrait of a German Shepard (Grandma had one back in the 70/80's) but I wasn't feeling it. I think the space was too small for it and my creative brain balked.