Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Taking a Few Days Off

My favorite place in the world is Winona Lake Indiana.  Whenever I feel like my batteries need to be  recharged this is the best place to go.  It is a place of many good family memories, beautiful sunsets, relaxation, and great sleeping.
If you like boats, you'll like this photo.  It's one of my favorites.  If you like to see a little more nature and something more restful the next one is for you. There are always a few ducks swimming around at Winona.
Fall and winter bring other types of birds, coots, swans, geese, herons of all types.  For me this is a great place.  I feel so fortunate that I have a place to go to to relax and get away for a few days. It is good to "not quilt" for awhile. My brain needs a rest from that type of decision making!

Now I will resume work on my first table runner pattern, it'll have ginkgo leaves on it. More about this later.

Enjoy the last days of summer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ten Thoughts on Creativity

© 2011 Ann Fahl
Sometimes you have the time to work, but you don't have any ideas for a new project. What can you do to spark your creative energies and get going?
Pile of fabric that was auditioned for one of my current quilt projects!

  1. Always keep a list of quilt ideas. Post it where you can easily look at it or add new ideas! If you don't have one of these, start one today.  Then you can check your list of ideas and maybe find something to work on.
  2. Go and touch your fabric, look through the colors, what speaks to you?
  3. Go to your local quilt shop and find a fabric that you can't live without; and use it to begin a new quilt.
  4. Look through your quilt magazines and books.  You can also check the links on my webpage to see what others are doing.
  5. Take yourself out to lunch or go to your local garden center or museum.  Take a notebook or little camera and photograph things that interest you. If you look, you will find ideas all around you.
  6. Cut a bunch of squares in one or two colors and construct a background. Or--make some nine patch blocks with your scraps and see what develops.
  7. Just sew something.  Do you have a nightgown or piece of clothing that needs to be altered? I am a firm believer in the fact that if you sit down at your machine or start cutting fabric, an idea will come to you.  If you sit with your coffee cup at the kitchen table all day, nothing is likely to happen.  But, if you go to your sewing area where all your "stuff" is and get busy; an idea is more likely to emerge.  Why not make some placemats and practice your machine quilting?
  8. Pull out some scraps with Wonder-Under on them, and make a tiny little quilt.  Allow yourself to play or color freely, just like when you were in grade school. Who knows what might develop? 
Buds and Beads a tiny quilt 12 x 10 inches  Made from scraps with Wonder-Under on the back
     9. If nothing seems to come to mind, you are probably distracted by life's events. Or, sometimes your brain is just tired, and needs a creative break. It is called "writer's block" by people that do lots of writing.  I have just emerged from a very long blank period.  Take this time to read a good book, paint the bathroom, or throw yourself into a completely different project. If this is where you are, just concentrate on NON-QUILTING activities.  You will know when you are ready to get back to work.
    10. Try wearing a pair or colorful socks or a wild T-shirt, something that is FUN. This will help set your mood for more creative thoughts.

Good luck.

Ann Fahl

Monday, August 1, 2011

It's Not Easy to Give a Quilt Away

Today is a big day.  Just by looking at me you can't tell, but I donated a quilt to hang in our beautiful brand new Mount Pleasant Village Hall.

The quilt has been steamed and all cat hairs removed!

Several years ago, it was decided to sell the old property and build a new Village Hall at a new location. I thought about this for a long time before I investigated what needed to be done to give a large piece to hang in this new public space. December 2010, I talked to someone at the village hall about this request. In February 2011, the new building was far enough along that I could tour it as long as I wore a hard hat!  I saw everything; from the holding cells in the police department, the offices, restrooms, meeting rooms to the lunch rooms.  The village made an effort be be environmentally responsible by using energy saving and recycled products etc.when building.  The focal point of the building is a natural area on the back side of the building, so there is lots of glass!  In fact there is so much glass, there are precious few places to hang one of my big quilts!

At this point I gave my contact a list of 10 quilts from which to choose.  They narrowed the field to 5, so I took the 5 to the large meeting room to see which might work the best. By this time, there had been some personnel changes and my original contact was no longer working for the Village, there had also been an election so there was also a new village board. This is when I met Logan. We discussed each of the 5 options and in a short time decided on November Garden. The colors blended well with the soft gray or beige walls and with the gray/black carpeting made partially from recycled tires.

Here is the large wall, about 12 feet wide, between 2 huge north facing windows.
 Now it is June 2011, and the chosen quilt had to be officially accepted by the Village Trustees (the board.) It was presented, and I talked for a minute or two about the quilt and why I wanted to donate one.  The board swiftly voted to accept the quilt. I explained that I would hold the quilt, until a plexiglass box could be made, to protect it when hanging in the public space.

There was a 2-3 week delay in completing the box. Logan and I finally made a date, in July to hang the quilt in the large meeting room. The night before we were to hang it up, there was some discussion at the open board meeting about where the quilt was to be hung.  So there is yet another delay. I return to the wonderful new building and look at the alternative sites and found there were 3 that were acceptable to me.  An official decision was quickly made about the new spot in the community room which was large enough to hold 100 plus people. Many people would be able to enjoy the quilt here.
Here is Logan and Bob, the precision quilt hanging team!
 So here it is, today, August 1, the quilt is finally hanging. We experienced so many little glitches, I won't even mention them here!  The quilt was hung by Logan and Bob, with some assistance from me.  They were very particular about measuring the wall so the box and the quilt were perfectly centered!  One hour and 45 minutes later, the quilt was in its protective ventilated plexi box, and my long wait is over. November Garden looks wonderful. Time for celebration. Please take the time to hum Purcell's Trumpet Voluntary and join me in my celebration!
Here is the quilt, November Garden, 50 x 56 inches, in its new home in the village hall.
I do hope the residents of Mount Pleasant, and the Racine, WI area will enjoy my quilt, even if just for a moment.  You will find the quilt in the community room to the east of the large main doors.  The hours for the village hall are 8-12, and 1-5 Monday-Friday. The address is 8811 Campus Drive, Mt. Pleasant, WI which will not be found on your GPS.  From I94, turn east on hwy 20, turn north on 90th street at the cemetery.  You will find the building on the east side of the road, the corner of 90th and Campus.
Here is the recently completed Mt. Pleasant Village Hall--now complete with quilt!

You may read more about the details of the quilt itself on my website.  I am so pleased that this very special quilt has a new home. My thanks to everyone that helped with this quilt donation project.  Thanks Logan.

Ann Fahl