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Monday, October 7, 2013

I'll be back late October or early November


Dear Friends,
As you read this, (I've prewritten this post) instead of being at the extended stay hotel, I am in Kansas helping my parents for a week as my mother just received a new knee.  I have a week before we get into our new home so I feel my time is best spent doing all I can to help mom get up and around.  My mother is 83 and my dad 85 and they have been married 58 years! Mom is a breast cancer survivor and dad has been dealing with prostate cancer for 18 years now.  They mean the world to me.

The above picture was taken two years ago at Thanksgiving.  You can see all my kiddos here with my parents.  It is a picture I love.  I come back on Thursday and we get to move into our new home on Friday.  Hallelujah!

On Saturday my in-laws arrive and are bringing us our beagle, Cindy.  How I have missed my sweet four legged companion who follows me everywhere!  Mike's parents plan to stay about two weeks to help us get unpacked and settled.  Oh my goodness I know I've got a lot of work ahead of me.

So with that, I hope you all are enjoying the cooler months.  In Michigan the leaves are turning and the views are stunning. 

With love and blessings,
Nancy

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Grand Rapids Art Prize 2013

We are moving to Michigan at the right time to enjoy a big event here in Grand Rapids.  It is Art Prize, an art show that brings artists from around the world together competing for a grand prize of.....wait for it....$200,000.  Yes you read that right, $200,000.  Total prizes given are $360,000!

There are over 1,500 pieces of art located in different venues covering 3 square miles in the downtown area.  We've been downtown twice to see as much as we could as this competition has continued for three exciting weeks.  The weather has been great and I've got to tell you how nice it has been to see a community come together.  One of the exciting parts of Art Prize is that the community votes on their favorite pieces.  That means Mike, Tim and I all got to cast our votes for our favorites.  It's not hooty tooty art critics voting, it is the people visiting and voting for pieces that speak to them.  We've seen all kinds of crazy art from a fire breathing dragon made out of metal to sculptures created out of every medium you can think of.  Of course there were many paintings and drawings as well.  During the first round, you can vote for as many pieces of art you like.  All four pieces I mention below were ones I voted for.

There was no machine embroidery in the competition, at least none that I'm aware of, but there were two quilts.  Three, if I count the quilt carved out of wood and painted that looked so real you had to get up close and have the artist knock on it to know it wasn't fabric.  Truly, in the picture below, you are looking at a trompe l'oeil wood carving and not a fabric quilt.  This art entry made it into the top 10.  It is about five feet across and was done by Fraser Smith of St. Pete's Beach, Florida.  I got to speak with Fraser and he titled this wood carving "Finding Beauty in Bad Things."  It was based off a plant he found that produced berries of different beautiful colors.  He soon discovered that this vine was invasive and choked out many desired plants so hence the work of art got its name.
 
Another entry that made it into the top 10 is this one, titled Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore.  This entry is an art quilt made from batiks and hand dyed fabrics.  It is a true work of art created by Ann Loveless who is a textile artist from northern Michigan.  She created this quilt, done in four panels, by looking at a photograph and it is 20 feet in length.  Ann used batiks and hand dyed fabrics to create this.  She started with a basic sketch from a photograph and then just cut her fabric on the fly to piece it together.
 
The final quilt entry into Art Prize is called The Loading Dock by Mary Buvia.  This quilt is made out of over 100 different colors of fabrics in different gradients of value and is so fun and whimsical.  I also got a nice amount of time to speak with Mary and her sister who was helping there helping.  It took Mary over 10 months to create this quilt and it was designed while she was with her husband as he received chemo treatments.  Sadly, Mary's husband passed away in 2010.  She has put her pattern for this quilt into a pattern book produced by the American Quilter's Society should any of you want to make one.  As much as I like this quilt, it looks quite daunting to make.  That said, I did get the book and Mary autographed it for me which was a highlight. 
 
Finally, last night the winners were announced in a 2 hour television special.  Mike and Tim both had a favorite piece.  It is this one titled Myth-or-Logic  It is a griffin made out of hanging pieces of bamboo that sway with the slightest breeze.  It was amazing.
The griffin above came in 7th place and the artist received $5,000.
The wooden quilt, Finding Beauty in Bad Things came in 8th place and also received $5,000.
The Santa quilt, The Loading Dock, I don't believe made it into the top 50.
Now you want to know the grand prize winner of the $200,000 don't you? 
 
Yes!  My favorite in the top ten, Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore won!!!!  It was absolutely stunning and an amazing piece of work.  Congratulations to Ann Loveless!
 
 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Free Machine Embroidery Designs and Projects

Dear Friends,
I just love opening my e-mail and seeing I've got access to free beautiful and quality embroidery designs and projects.  Puts a smile on my face for sure!  Designs in Machine Embroidery has put out another free digital issue for everyone!

By going to their website, you can download a special digital issue of the magazine with no strings attached.  There is something for everyone, from the beginner to the advanced.  I get their e-mail newsletters sent to me so I'm in-the-loop when something fun like this comes out.

The issue contains projects and embroidery designs for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Easter.  Their are projects from quilts to home d├ęcor and from toys to tote bags.  Fun, fun, fun!!  I'm personally quite interested in the quilt project, the baby Christmas stocking and doing the snowman hand towel show in the picture above.  His little feet sticking out below the towel are simply sweet.

Visit Designs in Machine Embroidery.  Just click on the photo at the top of their web page and it will lead you right to the download link.  Also, if you want to stay in-the-loop like I am, while you are there, just sign up for their newsletter.  It will keep you up-to-date with all they have to offer.

I hope you all enjoy this digital issue as much as I have.

Embroidery Blessings to each of you,
Nancy
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