My Happy Place

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Today was in my “Happy Place” – my gardens.

After spending 38 hours over three days driving to Brooklyn NY and home again, I am happy to enjoy my day by flower shopping and then working in my gardens.

Truly a lovely day!

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Looking forward to watching my plants grow over the next couple months.

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Perfect Day

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Each day, I spend time watching webinars, reading research papers and thinking about the ideas on how to prepare for providing dental treatment when we are allowed to reopen, while still protecting my patients, my staff and myself.

But this time can also cause a lot of anxiety.  So, this weekend, I also spent some time outside working in my yard.  The weather was so much better than last Sunday.  Sunshine and fresh air is great for reducing anxiety. 

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On Tuesday, I had a load of mulch delivered.   Seventy five bags of cypress mulch to spread around the shrubs and trees.  And, ten bags of black mulch for the flower beds (I like how this mulch looks like dirt when spread around flowers).  So, this weekend, I starting spreading the mulch and making my yard ready for summer.  

 

I also pulled out my yard art and put them in the planting beds and planters.  It’s nice to have something lovely to lift my spirit.  

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A few weeks ago, I found a lovely flower wreath for my front door.  It really brightens up my entryway. 

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I even put out some new yard art that I made over the winter.  I now have a glass frog and a glass ladybug in my planting  beds. I’ll give some details on how to make these later this week.  

What really made today perfect, was reflecting on God’s creation around me.

  • The beauty of the flowers popping through the ground.
  • The delight of the bird’s singing in the trees.
  • The wildlife wondering through my life (well, maybe not the turkeys!). 

Somewhere, Nowhere.

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Am I going somewhere?  Am I going nowhere? Those are my daily thoughts.

In Minnesota, even our weather doesn’t know what it is supposed to be doing.

Is it winter?  Is it spring?

Saturday, we had sunshine and 60 degrees.  I spent several hours outside raking and blowing leaves and cleaning out my flower beds.  Our neighbors opened up their pool for the season.  My spring bulbs were starting to pop, and I even planted some pansies in my flower pots.

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Sunday (less than 24 hours later), we had snow falling.  By the time the snow had ended, we had over 7 inches of snow on the ground.

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Hopefully the sunshine and warm weather will come back soon!

 

Flower of the Month Suncatchers

Earlier this summer, I was sitting in my sunroom having my morning cup of coffee.  On a sunny day, this is a relaxing place to sit.  Looking around the room, I thought it would be nice to add some more color to the room, possibly suncatchers in the windows.  When I counted the windows, I realized that there are twelve of them and I thought that something related to each month of the year would be nice to try and settled on a flower for each month.

  • January – Carnation
  • February – Iris
  • March – Daffodil
  • April – Daisy
  • May – Lily of the Valley
  • June – Rose
  • July – Delphinium
  • August – Gladiolus
  • September – Aster
  • October – Marigold
  • November – Chrysanthemum
  • December – Poinsettia

 

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IMG_3177To make the suncatchers, I used COE 96 clear glass cut 2″ x 6″ as the base.  Only a single layer was used and the glass was fused at 1350 degrees, a temperature between tack fuse and contour fuse to give a slight softening to the edges of the glass.

For the stems, I used green noodles and stringer.  To create curves in these, the glass was heated in the flame of a soldering torch and allowed to bend before placing on a heat resistant tile to cool.

For the flowers, a variety of techniques were used.  Some flowers were just pieces of cut glass.  For the Lily of the Valley, frit balls were first created by heating to full fuse small pieces of glass.  For the delphinium, I used coarse frit. For the gladiolus, I used fine frit.  And for the marigold, pieces of tangerine glass were dipped in glass tack and then dipped in yellow fine frit to create the light colored tips.

Here are some of the pre-firing photos:

And, the photos hanging in my windows:

 

 

One Smile Gala

The Minnesota Dental Foundation held their annual One Smile Gala last Friday evening.  The gala was an evening raising funds for the Foundations outreach to the under served in the state.  It was a fun evening seeing colleagues and friends from around the state.

The vision of the Minnesota Dental Foundation is to eliminate unmet oral health needs in Minnesota. The Foundation raised over $1M in 2018.  These funds were used for the Minnesota Mission of Mercy, Give Kids a Smile, and several other programs.

Along with attending the gala, I also donated a few glass items to the silent auction.

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These garden flowers were well liked and raised a couple hundred dollars for the foundation.  Perhaps next year I will do some other glass garden art for the auction.

 

 

 

Nui Shibori Table Quilt

Fabric Dyeing has been a fun, creative way to make unique fabrics for my quilting.  This spring, I spent some time playing around with stitched shibori.  I wanted to figure out how to create drawings in the dye.  I also wanted to try hand painting before and after dyeing the fabric.

So, I set out to do a few experiments.

Experiment #1. Nui Shibori flower and over-dyeing painted fabric

  • Draw pattern on the fabric with a water soluble fabric marker
  • Stitch the drawn lines  with polyester thread
  • Dissolve Dye in 1 ml Urea Water, Add 2 T Print Paste, 14 ml Urea Water, 1/8 tsp Mixed Alkali, Mix well
  1.               Dark Pink = ¼ tsp Mixing Red
  2.               Light Pink = 1/16 tsp Mixing Red
  3.               Dark Blue = ¼ tsp Mixing Blue
  4.               Light Blue = 1/16 tsp Mixing Blue
  5.               Green = 1/8 tsp Evergreen
  • Paint dye on fabric areas within the shibori stitching

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  • Paint dye in sections for over-dyeing

Dye Paint

 

  • Allow to dry for 4 hours
  • Pull center threads and tie off

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  • Place in 1000 ml of 0.15 mg/ml Mixing Blue Dye (with Soda Ash)
  • Batch for 5 hours
  • Wash with Blue Dawn, Dry and Iron

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Dye Paint Overdye

Lessons Learned:

  • Shibori pattern turned out well
  • Dye painting turned out well, but the the color edges were too crisp – use less Print Paste next time
  • Over-dyeing does not change the underlying painted color very much

Experiment #2.  Whole Cloth Pattern:

  • Design quilting using QuiltCAD program

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  • Stitch section outlines on long arm with polyester thread for pattern placement when quilting
  • Draw shibori pattern by holding water soluble marker in the needle position and running pattern on trace

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  • Hand stitch shibori sections

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  • Dye Paint:
  1. Mixed Alkali: ½ tsp mixed with 8 ml Urea water
  2. Yellow: 1/8 tsp Golden Yellow in 10 ml Urea water; Combine 1 ml concentrate with 6 ml Print Paste, 3 ml Urea water and 0.6 ml Mixed Alkali
  3. Green: 1/8 tsp Evergreen in 15 ml Urea Water. Combine 7.5 ml concentrate with 15 ml PP and 1.5 ml MA
  4. Dark Pink: 1/8 tsp MR in 15 ml Urea water.  Combine 7.5 ml concentrate with 15 ml PP and 1.5 ml MA
  5. Light Pink: Combine 3 ml MR concentrate with 15 ml PP and 1.5 ml MA
  • Paint on Fabric sections of shibori stitching

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  • Allow to dry for 4 hours
  • Pull center threads and tie off
  • Stitch Floss “Ties” to center of fabric to help with lifting in/out of water
  • Make Dye Concentrate: Mixing Blue 10 gm in 100 ml Urea Water (100 mg/ml)
  • Place in 4000 ml Soda Ash solution in bucket
  • Add dye concentrate at 5 minute intervals (10 ml, 10 ml, 10 ml, 10ml, 40 ml) = 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1.0, 2.0 mg/ml to create an ombre effect
  • Lift fabric a small amount after each dye increment
  • Prop fabric up on support dripping into empty bucket, cover with plastic bag

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  • Batch for 4 hours

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  • Clip and remove all sewing lines
  • Wash with Blue Dawn, Dry and Iron

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  • Quilt as planned

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Lessons Learned:

  • Paint center dye before pulling tight the outer threads – easier than having to paint on a bubble
  • If you forget the first step – sealed air packs work well to fill the bubble for painting

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  • Fabric will trap air, creating a bubble, in the middle – easy to keep the center section out of the dye bath.
  • Use a color of thread different from the color of dye – makes it easier to remove the threads.
  • The fabric dye paint did not turn out as well as I had hoped.  So, after quilting, I repainted the fabric dye without Print Paste for a smoother look

 

I entered this quilt in the Minnesota State Fair on a whim to see what the judges comments would be regarding the shibori  and hand painting technique.  Boy was I surprised that it was awarding a blue ribbon!

 

Minnesota State Fair 2019

The weather has been absolutely beautiful the past couple of days, mid 70’s and sunny.  Perfect weather for the start of the Minnesota State Fair.  The first two days of the fair set attendance records for their respective days. After just three days, the attendance is over 500,000 – perhaps we may even surpass Texas this year!

On Friday, I went to the fair with a few friends.  It was a fun day.  Since my boys are grown, the past couple of years I have gone to the fair by myself, mainly to see the quilts and other crafts.  Of course, even with friends, the first place I went was to see the quilts.

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This year, I entered my “Fractured Tree” quilt hoping that it might do well at the fair.  Unfortunately, I was disappointed to learn that the quilt did not ribbon this year.   Fortunately, it was displayed in a spot where it was easy to see.

Interestingly, this was the only quilt this year that I originally planned to enter in the fair even before making it.  The other quilts I made were not made with the fair in mind.

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After making my son’s “Moonscape” quilt, I realized it was such a unique quilt that I thought I would enter it in the fair and see how well it might do.  I did receive a ribbon and look forward to reading the comments after the fair is over.

 

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When I was finalizing the registration of these two quilts for the fair, I decided to include two other quilts. 

One of these was a shibori and hand painted wall quilt.  I will describe the technique used for this quilt in another blog. I was pleasantly pleased to see that this quilt received a blue ribbon! 

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The other quilt was one that I was making for an acquaintance and finished sewing the binding on the day before I needed to drop it off at the fair. This quilt “Blended Cultures” was made to commemorate the birth of his first grandson.   I was really surprised to learn that this quilt also received a blue ribbon.  I am really glad I was able to complete it in time to enter it in the fair!

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Sweepstakes Winner made by Mary Alsop. She has tremendous skill and is an award winner ever year.  In fact, she was the sweepstakes winner last year as well.

I’d love to meet her some day.

Some other quilts that caught my eye:

 

After a day of exploring the fair, I think my favorite spot was the Horticulture Building.  The flowers there were stunning!

 

 

 

Another Decorative Watering Can

I started gardening when my boys were very young.  When they were playing outside, I needed to be there to watch and supervise them.  While I would play with them, I found myself thinking of ways to enhance my landscaping and would decide to do something new to plant. When I were planting, I would have the boys help me.  As young boys, their favorite thing was to haul mom’s supplies with their Tonka trucks.  I would often have to walk behind them and pick up plants, rocks and/or mulch that bounced out of their trucks, or weeds that never quite made it to the disposal area. Now that my boys are older and no longer playing in the yard, I still  enjoy the time in my gardens.  Working in my gardens has become a relaxing and creative thing to do.

One of my more recent joys is to make art for my gardens.  One of these yard art pieces was a beaded watering can that I posted about two years ago (July 12, 21017).  Recently, I saw another watering can idea and decided to add it to my gardens.

So, another new project – a lighted watering can!

Materials

 

  • Watering Can. Unable to find a copper one to match the copper art in my yard, I found a copper colored brass one at Target that I decided would work.
  • Fairy lights.  I originally tried using solar lights, but found that they did not last.  After one week, and trying several different types of rechargeable batteries, they would not hold a charge.  To replace them, I purchased battery operated lights that had a four hour timer. These have been in my yard for over a month and are still working well.
  • Drill with metal drill bit.
  • Support to hold battery case inside the watering can.
  • GorillaWeld epoxy
  • Brass wire
  • Shepherd’s Hook

Steps:

Flower Power

I love this time of year, the temperatures are nice, the days are long and there are few bugs so far.  But mostly, I love the flowers.  And, right now, my yard is lovely.  So, I decided to take some photos today.

Warning, photographic overload!

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After taking some general photos, I decided to play around with the Macro setting on my camera.  I need some more practice, but I had fun doing this.

Lest you think everything in my yard looks great, I thought I would also show the large patch of lawn that I am trying to repair.  Hopefully in a few more weeks the grass will fill in better.

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