From My Carolina Home

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An Unusual Exhibit at the North Carolina Arboretum

We are fortunate in this area to be blessed with not only the Blue Ridge Parkway, and gorgeous mountains, but the North Carolina Arboretum just next to the parkway.  It is less than a half hour away, so DH and I drove over to it over the weekend to see a most unusual exhibit.   I took over 150 pictures while we were there, but I promise I won’t show you all of them today, LOL!!  Some will have to wait for more posts later.   I wanted to show you all this first, the Lego Sculptures by artist Sean Kenney.  If you live in the area, make time to see this extraordinary work.  The NC Arboretum is one of several exhibit sites, with more all over the country.  There are over 100 sculptures in Sean Kenney’s series Nature Connects, and we are lucky to have 14 of them here for a limited time exhibit.

Sean Kenney Lego Exhibit at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

Although all of the sculptures are impressive, this Monarch on Milkweed was really a striking in its detail and colors. Up close, the legos look like a jumble of colors. Smaller and larger pieces, with dark and light shades create the illusion.

Sean Kenney Lego Exhibit at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

Then, step back and the eye blends the colors into an extraordinary sight. This Monarch on Milkweed sculpture contains 60,549 legos, the largest number of all the exhibits.  It is four feet wide and over four feet tall.

Sean Kenney Lego Exhibit at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

I think I took the most photos of this one too, I was so enchanted by the design and the intricacies of the work. I cannot imagine what it took to make this. Sean Kenney did an interview with the NC Arboretum to discuss his work, and this piece which is a favorite. He spent over 160 hours just in design! See the interview HERE.

Sean Kenney Lego Exhibit at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

Right in front of the Baker center is a Hummingbird with a Bellflower. Dramatic in its appearance, the hummingbird is suspended in air over the flower. Fascinating to just admire, and it is huge, over 6 feet high.

Sean Kenney Lego Exhibit at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

I didn’t make a note as to how many legos are in this one, but it has to be well over 50,000.

Sean Kenney Lego Exhibit at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

This one has a bit of whimsy, depicting the battle between squirrels and birds for the seeds in the feeders.

Sean Kenney Lego Exhibit at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

Again the detail close up is extraordinary, all done with legos!

Sean Kenney Lego Exhibit at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

The Pileated Woodpecker was high in a tree, just like you see them in nature. It had 4,424 legos.

Sean Kenney Lego Exhibit at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

Near a pond, the Duck and Ducklings sculpture had 6,927 legos.

Sean Kenney Lego Exhibit at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

The Sundial was huge too, with 27,869 legos and had a little bluebird sitting near the top.

Sean Kenney Lego Exhibit at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

The placement of the sculptures was part of the artistry. The Bald Eagle was placed high overhead, to emphasize the majesty of the bird. It was a grey morning, but you can see mountains in the distant background of the picture partially obscured with low rain clouds. The eagle and its tree perch contained 42,198 legos, and was 59 inches tall.

Sean Kenney Lego Exhibit at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

The Giant Praying Mantis was one of my favorites, peeking out over the top of the wildflower garden, it was a whimsical surprise.

Sean Kenney Lego Exhibit at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

Circling around the garden to see it, the size is impressive standing five feet tall!

Sean Kenney Lego Exhibit at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

Again, the detail of the legs and tail are so amazing!

Sean Kenney Lego Exhibit at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

These were just so much fun to see these, wonderful from every angle. There were 52,164 legos in this piece.

Sean Kenney Lego Exhibit at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

Then near the quilt garden was the Giant White Lily containing 32,514 legos.  It was three feet tall, and 84 inches long from leaf end to the stem end.

Sean Kenney Lego Exhibit at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

Incredible, they really need to be seen in person.

Sean Kenney Lego Exhibit at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

If you live within driving distance of the North Carolina Arboretum, plan a day to see this extraordinary exhibit. I only showed you half of the sculptures, there are more to see. It will be here until October 23rd.  I would even think of running down to South Carolina to see their exhibit as it would have different ones.  More are on loan to gardens in Iowa, Indiana and Virginia.

What do you think of this exhibit?

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Slow Stitching a Quick Project

Remember this little cross stitch Christmas tree that I showed you during Christmas in July?

Cross Stitched Quilted Christmas Ornaments | From My Carolina Home

It is one of several designs in a kit. The problem I have at this point is I don’t want to make it the way the pattern says. It calls for the stitched piece to be cut out in a stocking shape, sewn and stuffed.  That is why there is some decorative stitching above the tree and to the left at the bottom.  The pattern contained the backing pieces already drawn for cutting and sewing.

Cross Stitch Christmas Tree Ornament - From My Carolina Home

So, if I want to sew it into a quilted ornament like I did the Candy Cane Ornament, I’ll have to make some decisions.  Mainly, what to do with those little bits – take them out?  Add more to balance them off?  Neither option was appealing.  Then I thought, I’ll just stitch a stocking shape around what is there.  So, I got out some DMC floss, and auditioned some colors.

Cross Stitch Christmas Tree Ornament - From My Carolina Home

I liked the red best, so started stitching a stocking shape around the existing needlework.

Cross Stitch Christmas Tree Ornament - From My Carolina Home

I stitched that turn three times, I took out the first two because I didn’t like where it ended up at the toe area. I’m not sure that I really like this either, but it is staying. At this point, I thought it might be good to give myself a stitching line, so I drew one on in pencil.

Cross Stitch Christmas Tree Ornament - From My Carolina Home

A few more minutes of hand work, and the stitching was done.

Cross Stitch Christmas Tree Ornament - From My Carolina Home

Finishing the ornament went the same way as the other one, beginning with squaring up the stitched part. This one is quite a bit larger than the candy cane stitching, so I had to use a 4-inch square.

Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament ~ From My Carolina Home

I knew that would make the final ornament large, if I went with two borders again. But I still wanted to do it that way, so I began with the first border in a gold and red print.

Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament ~ From My Carolina Home

I added the outer border in a cream print with holly, and squared it up again.

Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament ~ From My Carolina Home

Gold cording is looped at the top for a sewn in hanger.

Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament ~ From My Carolina Home

I sewed the pieced front to the same rose print backing, leaving an opening for turning, then adding two layers of batting.

Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament ~ From My Carolina Home

I stuffed just a bit of fiberfill inside to make the center puffy, then sewed the opening closed with topstitching. I went all the way around the ornament to hide the closure.

Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament ~ From My Carolina Home

Then I stitched in the ditch on both borders to quilt it.

Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament ~ From My Carolina Home

All done, it may just be a bit too large for the tree.

Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament ~ From My Carolina Home

But, because I put a larger loop on it, it could hang on a closet door or on the handle of one of the cabinets.

Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament ~ From My Carolina Home

Or perhaps it could simply lean on a sewing machine, lending a bit of holiday cheer to the sewing room.  This one along with the candy cane ornament will go as a set of two into the cross stitch category at the fair.

Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament ~ From My Carolina Home

Have you pulled out any holiday stitching for this season?

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Garden Windows – Quilting the High Contrast Version

Quilting the high contrast version of my Moda Bake Shop design Garden Windows took forever.  Or at least it seemed like it. I started by adding the borders, and then loading on the longarm. I stabilized it first by quilting in the ditch around the borders.  I did a full custom job on it, each window got an individual feather wreath.  I did all of these freehand, only marking a circle, and boy is there a lot of variation in those feathers!  I do have a lot of potato chip shapes, and some hot dog shapes, but overall it works.  Just don’t get to close, LOL!!

Garden Windows | From My Carolina Home

I started with the strip blocks, putting a row of ribbon candy in each strip, working down, then up then down again. I did one row at a time, alternating with the garden print squares.

Garden Windows | From My Carolina Home

Using a circle template, I marked a circle in each of the garden print squares.  This is actually a longarm circle ruler, but I have never used it for that.  I have a set of them in multiple sizes, and I don’t actually know how to use them with the longarm.  I think I need to do some research on that, well, maybe someday when I really want to know, LOL!  In the meantime, they are perfect for marking with a water soluble pen.

Garden Windows | From My Carolina Home

OK, so I marked the circles on each square in the row.  I did each row as I advanced the quilt so I didn’t have to roll back and forth too much.

Garden Windows | From My Carolina Home

Then, I took a deep breath, and freehand quilted a feather wreath in each one. This one was one of the better efforts. Lots of them have wonky feathers, and potato chip feathers, some didn’t come out even at the start/stop point.  Plus, I need to get better at the backtracking over a stitch line. Ah, practice and more practice. This one was near the end, of course.

Garden Windows | From My Carolina Home

As each feather wreath was done, I erased the water soluable marking pen with Sew Clean.

Garden Windows | From My Carolina Home

Moving on to the borders, the outer one was done in my favorite beadboard. This is ruler work of the easy kind.

Garden Windows | From My Carolina Home

I started marking the green border with an egg and dart design stencil. This was not as easy as they make it look at the shows!  I got it too thick on the top border and the chalk bounced in little pills as I tried to figure out where to sew – on the outside of the line or in the middle?  The middle won, but the marking was so uneven that the egg and dart came out uneven too.  Plus the green fabric hid the thread!  Ah, but it also hid the wonkiness.

Garden Windows | From My Carolina Home

One thing I figured out is at the show, the demonstrator is using a board under the stencil and has a hard surface to push the chalk against. Trying to mark while the quilt is on the longarm is not as easy.  The surface gives with the pressure and the chalk just doesn’t come out as easily.

Garden Windows | From My Carolina Home

I did one green border at the top, and added ribbon candy in the black border.

Garden Windows | From My Carolina Home

My marking on the side didn’t show enough to quilt by, so I had to mark again.  Lining the stencil back up precisely where I had it before was a challenge too.

Garden Windows | From My Carolina Home

Eventually, I was able to get an amount of chalk on the quilt dark enough to see, yet not so much that the chalk was bouncing on the fabric as I sewed.

Garden Windows | From My Carolina Home

Then, I realized that the traveling I did in the ditches was not enough to get all the sides of the squares, and I decided that I needed to stitch in the ditch around all of them. So, out came my really long ruler, and I did that. I am not good at this, but again, practice is needed and I have to start somewhere.

Garden Windows | From My Carolina Home

Trying to get close up pictures of the quilting was difficult. The thread I used was a tan polyester that added a little shine, but because the fabrics all have gold threads, it is difficult to see.  The bobbin thread was Bottom Line.   The batting is my favorite Warm and Natural all cotton.

Garden Windows Quilting ~ From My Carolina Home

Got mustard? There’s a big hot dog in this feather wreath.

Garden Windows Quilting ~ From My Carolina Home

You can barely make out the egg and dart in the green border on this pic, after the chalk was removed. The great part about this chalk is it brushes off easily, and any that doesn’t come off disappears with ironing.

Garden Windows Quilting ~ From My Carolina Home

I bound it in the green print, over a couple of evenings while watching TV. Here it is all finished.

Garden Windows | From My Carolina Home

One more important note, after my pattern for Garden Windows was published on Moda Bake Shop, I read with dismay that the pattern was done before.  One of the comments said it was Warm Wishes, so I researched that name and found it.  It was originally published in 2000 by Quiltmaker magazine for  Project Linus.  I had no idea, as I didn’t begin quilting until 2003.  Moda didn’t catch it either.  I had never seen the Warm Wishes pattern on any website or in a magazine.  I didn’t know about this pattern at all.  I came up with the idea completely independently using the jelly roll strips.  Although I have now given proper credit on the Moda site in my response to the first comment that mentioned it, I still feel bad about it.   How can I know if a design I come up with in my head is truly original now? Garden Windows is different as it uses a jelly roll in a scrappy version with a different method of construction, where the original Warm Wishes uses width-of-fabric strips of all the same fabric, but still it bothers me.   I do not believe that there is any way I could have found out prior to the publication of Garden Windows.  Still, my apologies to everyone, and see the Quiltmaker website for a free download of the Project Linus Warm Wishes quilt.

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Moda Bake Shop – A New Recipe

I am excited to announce my latest design for Moda Bake Shop, that published on the Moda Bake Shop site late yesterday afternoon.  This is the third design that the Moda Bake Shop has accepted.  The fabrics are called Fern Hill designed by Jan Patek. The colors are similar values making a low volume quilt.  It uses a jelly roll along with yardage of two of the Fern Hill fabrics, one for the windows and one for the backing and binding.  I call it Garden Windows and the pattern is free on the Moda Bake Shop blog.

Garden Windows Title

Visit the post Garden Windows on Moda Bake Shop to see the step by step construction and download a free pdf with the pattern.  DH really liked it when he saw the finished quilt.  There is a lot of movement within the quilt, as the eye moves around.  The construction is really quite easy, just take a look at the pattern to see.  It actually goes together really fast.

Garden Windows Finish 6

I made another one with higher contrast fabrics, just to show a variation.  I’ll show you more of it soon, this is the piecing part, and I added a border.  I have been working on quilting it using more custom designs than I have ever done before.  I’ll show you some of those next time.

Moda High Contrast 6

Do you like the low volume or the high contrast version?

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Celebrate Birthday Card

A special lady has a birthday coming up, so it was time to get out the stamping stuff and get creative.  I really enjoy making and sending cards, and every birthday and holiday is an opportunity to create something new.  Starting out this time, I decided to use the embosser once again.  I have some new embossing folders, and you know that means I have to find a way to use them.

Celebrate Birthday Card | From My Carolina Home

I like this hummingbird stamp, and I have a new idea for the inside.

Celebrate Birthday Card | From My Carolina Home

This time, I used the versamark on the stamp first, then loaded it with purple ink.

Celebrate Birthday Card | From My Carolina Home

This gave me a nice clear image.

Celebrate Birthday Card | From My Carolina Home

I then covered the image with clear embossing powder,

Celebrate Birthday Card | From My Carolina Home

Tapped off the excess, and used the heat tool to set it.

Celebrate Birthday Card | From My Carolina Home

This created a raised outline to use my new blender pens to color.

Celebrate Birthday Card | From My Carolina Home

When I got to the bird, I referred to my bird book for suggestions.

Celebrate Birthday Card | From My Carolina Home

Since the little hummer that visits here appears to be a girl, I made this one a girl too, with no red on the throat.

Celebrate Birthday Card | From My Carolina Home

I added some patterned paper to the left edge, a birthday wishes stamp to the upper right corner, mounted the hummingbird on the embossed paper, and glued it down.

Celebrate Birthday Card | From My Carolina Home

Now for the inside, my sentiment stamps are small, and the card was large, so I needed to create a larger design with some additional stamps. This is three stamps. The flower and the ‘Celebrate’ are overlapped slightly to create the feeling of it being one unit.  All were stamped in the same color purple.

Celebrate Birthday Card | From My Carolina Home

All done. Of course, my handmade by Carole stamp is on the back, but I forgot to get a pic of it.  I like the way that the embossed outline has a bit of shine to it.

Celebrate Birthday Card | From My Carolina Home

Are you doing any stamping?

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August in the Garden

Every time I say something about the garden, it conspires to prove me wrong.  In July, I said that I planted the johnny jump ups too late to get any flowers.  Then not a week later, here they come. I really cannot complain as I love their sweet flower faces.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

More little tiny buds are showing and I hope to have a lot of these soon.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

Then I said I was disappointed in the dianthus in the flower bed, and then they went to town blooming.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

The caladium is getting a lot bigger. I’ll have to repot it soon.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

I put a saucer from one of my larger pots out in the yard near the bird feeder for the birds to use. Contrary little things haven’t touched it.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

These white begonias must love this heat, every one of the pots that has them is blooming profusely.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

And more begonias.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

The verbena is still producing pretty purple flowers, surrounded by those begonias.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

The last thing I said was that the hydrangea was just about done. Then it decided to put on a new show, with copious blooms in a dusky pink…

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

one gorgeous bloom in deep lavendar…

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

and one in a blueish hue with some purple and white, all on the same plant. At the same time!  I think this one will deepen to all lavendar over the next week or so.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

Of course, the torenias are still going strong. These baskets will keep going all summer and well into fall.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

Then there were the visitors this month. A small flock of wild turkeys is back, which usually doesn’t occur until September. I am hoping for cooler weather soon.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

With the longer lens on my camera, I can get much better pictures of the wildlife now. These males were fluffing their feather against the rain, and I was hoping they would spread them and strut but they didn’t oblige me.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

The one on the right here is a juvenile, likely hatched this spring.  I think this small flock of five is all bachelors.  Hard to say though, as the young ones don’t have their red coloring on their heads or the feather wattles they will get later.  But the females don’t turn red or grow wattles.  Either way, I just like watching the wildlife as it strolls by.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

They stayed around for quite a while, eventually working their way around the house and up the mountainside behind the house.

What is going on in your garden?

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Quilting Another Charity Quilt

Every time I do a quilt, I learn something, and I try to pass along those lessons.  This one was no different.  I was originally given this quilt and backing about 4 months ago with a group of quilts.  They came from my friend whose neighborhood group in the local guild is making quilts for Mainstay this year, a local battered women’s shelter.   Most of the quilts these ladies do are pieced nicely, but almost half of them had poorly applied borders.  That slap-and-sew method causes me the most headaches with charity quilting.  I have a Borders Tutorial and I think a few need to see it again as they just do not understand why measuring is important.  This one was no exception, but it also had another issue, the backing was exactly the same size as the flimsy.  I sent it back as I have to have extra all the way around, see my post on Loading the Longarm if you are a new reader to see why. I received it back with extra fabric sewed onto all four sides.

Duck Border Charity Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

Oh, great.  I warned my friend that I would attempt to get the flimsy centered but that I could not guarantee it. She said no problem, so I brought it home to quilt. Loading it, and laying the batting on top, I could no longer see the seam lines on the backing. It looks like there is a light area, but that is just the way the light looks, the edge of the quilt is actually on top of the seam line.  Or so I thought.

Duck Border Charity Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

It has a border that looks somewhat masculine, so I got out my pantographs to look through them.

Duck Border Charity Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

I like to do this one called Tiger Swirl, as it isn’t feminine and has a 14 inch span. It will cover this quilt in about 5-6 passes, quick as I need to get it back to the maker soon.

Duck Border Charity Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

The curves nicely complement the angles on the on-point squares.

Duck Border Charity Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

So, sewing along, doing OK with the borders, edging in the fullness when I get to this.

Duck Border Charity Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

This was around the third pass, and on the left side. So out comes the Best Press solution that I dilute 50%, and the steam iron. I showed that in detail in my post on Fixing More Quilt Problems. I got it a bit better, but it still puckered. At least I didn’t need to put in a pleat. But then, I get to the bottom.

Duck Border Charity Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

A wavy border, and to make it worse there was a bias seam just to the right.  You can see the end of it in the lower right corner of the photo.  The maker made a seam like you do for a binding, not great for a border as the bias edges create even more fullness.   Trying to get it to lay flatter wasn’t working. You can see here how much it is bowing up in the center because the edges are too long.

Duck Border Charity Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

So, I steamed the stuffing out of it, trying to get it to shrink a bit and take up some of that fullness. There was still a lot left, I just flattened it a bit.

Duck Border Charity Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

Now I have to pull the corners out to spread out the fullness to that edge. Those will have to be cut off once the quilt is done and ready for binding to square it up again.  There are a fair number of puckers in this quilt, thankfully these will not be noticeable once the quilt is washed and it draws up all over.   But I am not happy giving back a poor looking final quilt.  Unfortunately, there is nothing else I can do.

Duck Border Charity Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

Eventually, I get it finished. Then with some dismay, I found the backing hadn’t lined up as I thought.

Duck Border Charity Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

Even though I warned that this might happen, I am still thinking she will be upset with the results, especially when I got to the bottom and found I had more backing available than I thought. So, I could have started a bit lower and had a bit more wiggle room at the top.

Duck Border Charity Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

Ugh. Well, at least it is done. The quilter will have to cut off about 2 inches of border all the way around to get the extra pieces off, which will reduce the overall size of the quilt.

Duck Border Charity Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

At least Mainstay will get another quilt for their residents.  And after all, that is the important thing.

What are you working on today?

 

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