Sewing a Hexagon Quilt

There hasn’t been much in the way of quilty stuff on my blog lately. Probably because I’m living out at the lake right now, and no electricity equals no sewing machine.

But I wouldn’t let that stop me, eh?

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My friend Melissa had sent me a little care package containing (among other wonderful goodies) a jelly roll of Free Spirit Pirouette a month or so ago and I couldn’t wait to cut into it.  Her instructions were to experiment, play and enjoy. I took this literally and decided to do just that by learning a technique that was brand-new to me.

Misty with hexie flowers

I have always admired heritage quilts, and have always wanted to make a quilt entirely by hand.  One day I saw that there was going to be  Hexie-Queen Blog Hop, and since I had never made a hexie flower before,  it seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn.

hexie on windowsill

I took the jellyroll to my LQS and paired it with soft grass-green for the flower centers and garden path, and a creamy/buttery pale gold for the background. I loved the way the prints seemed to sink down and make themselves at home in these two complementary shades.

Misty with hexie flowers 2

Having decided to take the plunge, I looked at a couple of tutorials and then jumped into the deep end with the decision to start a hexagon quilt.

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I am slowly sewing 1.5-inch hexagons all sewn together into a Grandmother’s Flower Garden pattern. By hand.

hexie flowers in hand

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I carry it back and forth to town and work on it in the car.

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This antique glass butter dish is the perfect little container.

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hexies in a butter dish

It’s going to take awhile, but that’s okay. Handwork is relaxing. Why rush it when I enjoy it so much?007 I can already tell it’s going to be beautiful. 🙂

 

Today is the last day of the Blog Hop. Thanks for visiting, and don’t forget to check out the hexie-goodness on these other participating blogs:

Adventurous Quilter

Scraps of Life

Sew and Sow Farm

Kwilty Pleasures

Just Sew Quilter

Marjorie’s Busy Corner

Pig Tales and Quilts

Quiltscapes

Livinbluequilter

Sew We Quilt

Also linking up with Lily’s Quilts Fresh Sewing Day

Just Write {6} The Hallmark of Summer’s End

Driving in to work this morning down the wilderness highway from Fox Lake

we pass the first clusters of school children standing in the clear morning light at the ends of long driveways

waiting for the first glimpse of the yellow school bus to appear on the horizon.

Tendrils and wisps of fog rise from the wet chip-sealed highway

making misty the dripping scarlet leaves of fireweed gone cotton

the blown wild roses, the foxtails and cold-stunted aspen.

These fledglings scamper madly amongst the hillocks of wet grasses

lunches packed securely in backpacks of hello kitty pink and batman blue

unaware of the long vista stretching before them

thinking only of this moment

this first day of school

this hallmark of summer’s end.

 

This is my 6th installment of Just Write, an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments. I am linking up with The Extraordinary Ordinary.

Yukon College staff photo

We had our annual Yukon College in-service day on Wednesday. We used to call it the “President’s Breakfast”, and then the name was changed to the “Fall Huddle”, which quickly became known as the “Fuddle”.

So here we all are at the 2013 Fuddle. I sure do work with a great group of people and I’m going to miss them when I go.

Can you find me in this photo?

Fall Huddle 2013 (3)

Yup, you guessed it…there’s one in every crowd 🙂

Bellydance/Heavy Metal Fusion: Andrameda’s sword dance

Last week Andra gave permission to upload her sword dance, and I am so happy to present it to you today! I am a very proud dance mama, and it thrills me to pieces to see how far my former students have gone.

Presenting Andrameda performing Beyond the Edge: a bellydance/heavy metal fusion sword dance. Choreographed by Andrameda. Performed in Act 1: Rockin the Casbah, March 19th, 2011, Yukon Arts Centre.

Day’s End

Practicing for retirement 🙂 89 working days to go!

Days end

 

Pets on Quilts

spook & sam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…because so much cuteness simply can’t go unmentioned!

Entered into the Pets on Quilts contest under the “other” category – because there is a category for dogs and one for cats. But not one for dogs & cats together, lol!

This is Samson and Spooky snuggling together on the quilt in our master bedroom. This is an old whole cloth, machine quilted quilt that can be safely washed every time a cat barfs on it – which is often, and of which Samson chewed a corner off when he was a puppy.  As long as I have pets who mainly sleep on my bed I will never be able to put an heirloom quilt on it! I don’t mind. Cat barf is a fact of life…and so are puppy needle-teeth. 🙂

 

Rockin’ the Casbah Finale (finally!)

One by one, I’m finally getting all of the show cuts up here for your viewing pleasure. 🙂

Visiting this show has really made me miss my troupe. This was one butt-kicking dance troupe, let me tell ya! Talk about a talented, fun group of gals. I sure wish they could have stayed together. Anyway, here is the finale to our best show ever – Rockin’ the Casbah. I choreographed the finale to  New York New York, live by The Big Band. Well, the show was a fusion of Big Band and Bellydance, after all! What better way to end it?  Enjoy!

 

bellydance floorwork & Purvottanasana: upward plank pose

This is a re-posting from August 11, 2011.

Bellydancers can benefit from including yoga into their personal fitness routine, and one way this is evident is in floor work. Floor work is an aspect of the dance that seems to be making a bit of a comeback very recently. At least, after seeing virtually zero floor work for about a decade or more, I have suddenly seen a few routines making an appearance in various shows over the last couple of years, and “how to” floor work DVDs are starting to appear on the market. Bellydancers in North America used to do floor work regularly in the 1970s & 80s. It was part of what used to be called the “standard 5- or 7-part restaurant routine. More on that in another posting.

Anyway, back to yoga. My yoga practice ebbs and flows, and sometimes I just don’t feel like working with my DVDs. Instead,  I’ll spend some time on my mat just working through poses that I enjoy, trying out poses that I see in magazines or online journals, or working on poses that focus on areas I need to build strength or flexibility in (personal challenge poses). I have weak wrists, and there are some poses I simply can’t do because my wrists do not support me. I also don’t do the sword work that I’d like to do because the weight of the sword causes pain in my wrists, making practice difficult. In a fitness assessment last June, I scored low in the upper body strength category. That wasn’t a surprise, but it did cause me to refine my fitness plan. As a result, I’ve started to incorporate some movements to stretch & strengthen my wrists, arms & shoulders into my yoga routine. I’ve also added working with light weights, but I’m not as dedicated to that practice yet.

One of the personal challenge poses that I’m working on right now is the upward plank (purvottanasana).  This pose strengthens the wrists, arms & hamstrings and is also a heart-opener (stretching the shoulders & chest). By the way, Purvottanasana translates as “intense Eastern stretch” in Sanskrit (the front of the body being the “eastern side” and the back of the body the “western side”). For some reason, that just tickles my little raqs sharqi (eastern dance) heart! I love word associations!

The upward plank pose is challenging for me to do with good form. Start by sitting with your legs together in front of you, toes pointed. Hands are behind you with your fingers pointed towards your bum.  Press down through your hands and engage your legs to lift your hips into the air. Your wrists should be directly under your shoulders. Your arms and legs should be straight. Relax your bum without letting the hips drop, and let your hamstrings & arms do the work. Ground all 10 toes and gently tilt the head back. If you can’t do it without “cheating” & using your glutes, then sit back up and bend your knees before pressing up into reverse table top position. When you’ve built some strength in your hamstrings, you can begin work on the full upward plank again. You’ll see right away why this is a good strength builder for wrists, arms & legs!

As a bellydance floor work movement, you can layer belly rolls & flutters onto the upward plank pose, being mindful to not allow your hips to drop. To recover, lower the hips back to the floor. Cross one ankle over the other and roll towards your audience onto your side, supporting your torso with the downstage arm. From here you can lift into full or partial side plank for more isolations if you choose (another powerful arm strengthener) or keep your side-hip on the floor as you focus on performing mesmerizing hand & arm movements with your free arm. To sit up, bend the knees & swing the legs around to kneeling. (Be mindful to not offer your audience any crotch shots. Always dance side-on or at a diagonal when on the floor.)

If you are balancing something on your head such as a sword, cane or water pot, you want to be very mindful of your balance & center. So, as you roll over, be sure to start the roll from the foot. Think of it like gently “wringing out” your body. The turn starts from the ankle and then proceeds through the lower leg to the inner thigh; then the hip turns, followed by the waist, the breast, the shoulder, turning the head last.

Here is a lovely photo ofAndrameda in purvottanasana, balancing a very heavy sword on her chin. She did some stomach isolations, followed by lovely snaky cross-over steps with her feet from this position. I hope everybody was suitably impressed with the strength required to do this movement and especially with the ease and grace with which she executed it! Brava, Andra, you make it look so effortless!

The Simple Woman’s Daybook – August “Office” Edition

simple-woman-daybook-smallFOR TODAY

Outside my window…it is overcast but I can see some blue between the clouds.

I am thinking...about how much I would love to be lowering my stress levels at a dance workshop right now, hip-dropping myself into a sweaty ball, or howling with laughter over a silly joke with a girlfriend. Yesterday, alone in the office, I dialed up a Middle Eastern music station and worked to Amr Diab, Hafiz and Oum Kolthum. I have never done that in the office before. Since I am alone in the office again today, I am thinking that I might just do it again.

I am thankful…that my recovery from menopausal depression is withstanding the stress of these last several days weeks and that I have learned to recognize, acknowledge and ACT on my feelings of tiredness and stress before they overwhelm me…to be able to say “this is about me” and say what I need.

On another note, I am also thankful to feel inspired (and, yes, even impatient!) to rejoin the dance world (are you surprised?)

In the kitchen…since I am writing this on my lunch break where I work at Yukon College, my kitchen of the moment happens to be the top of my desk, which has a half-eaten sandwich hiding somewhere amongst a pile of paperwork on it at the moment.

I am wearing…leggings, sandals and a tunic top. Not the most appropriate office attire, but the campus is quiet so it’s okay.

I am creating…I have just spent the entire morning formatting a draft MOU between our Bachelor of Social Work program and the University of Regina. At home, I’ve started a new project: making a quilt out of hand sewn hexagons. I can’t have only the ONE project on the go after all…two is definitely twice the fun.

I am going…to pick up the truck after work. It is in the shop getting camper bars put on. Yay camping! Then to take Samson for a walk. Then (maybe) to a gals night out going away party. I say “maybe” because I am unbelievably tired emotionally – and it feels like a lot of work to go anywhere but home.

I am wondering…what possessed me to write this during my lunch break. You don’t really get a lunch break when you stay at your desk. I’ve already been interrupted a half-dozen times to do work, lol!

I am reading…Royal Weddings – a Harlequin Romance book of three short stories about girls who meet princes-in-disguise. This is sheer unadulterated, brainless, entertaining summer reading and I am not going to apologize for it!

I am hoping…that the scale doesn’t reflect the crap I’ve eaten this week. Stress eating. Yuck for gut.

I am looking forward to…getting some exercise. I feel antsy and wound up. And getting home to sew.

I am learning…to make neat little hand sewn seams that the Queen herself would be proud of.

Around the house…since I am at the office, I’ll say “around the office”. We are in the middle of moving, so everything is in boxes and discombobulated (don’t you love that word?)

I am pondering…ugh. Do I have to?

A favorite quote for today…“don’t ask me, I just work here”

One of my favorite things…well okay…I will admit it…I love shopping. I do. God help me and my bank account.

A few plans for the rest of the week…no plans. I’m just gliding along day by day, enjoying the summer.

 

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Baba Mama

I first heard this song at a show in Saint John New Brunswick in late 2000.

I was sitting in the audience, having finished both of my performances, all settled in and enjoying the show when this fabulously energetic music boomed out of the speakers, and in bounced this little dance troupe from Maine.  They were 4 or 5 young women wearing yoga pants with matching fringe skirts and choli tops, and I was completely mesmerized.  So mesmerized, in fact, that I actually still remember it, 13 years later! 🙂 They were beginner dancers, their choreography was simple and teetered on being over their heads, and yet they outshone many of the performances that I saw that night in sheer joy and enthusiasm. What they lacked in crispness and accuracy was more than made up for in the energy and excitement that they shared both amongst each other and with us in the audience. I no longer remember their choreography, with the exception of two movements: a cute little chest drop while pulling the hands down the front of the body, followed by pelvic drops with the same hand movement, which I changed around a bit and incorporated into my own repertoire.

Fast forward to 2010. I bought a CD at a workshop I was attending in Calgary, and just about fell off my chair when I heard that song start to play!  According to the CD, the song was called Baba Mama. I was so excited that started to choreograph it right in that very moment.

Here it is, performed by Saba Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble. Choreography by yours truly. Watch for that little chest and pelvic drop with the pinch pull-down: I incorporated it into the choreography as little tribute to those lovely young dancers from Maine.

 

A July start

I started a new project last month…I “discovered” hexies (clever me!). I will be making a quilt entirely by hand. I like them because they are portable, I can make them when it’s too hot to sit with the big quilting project on my lap, and because they are traditional. I love the connection with women throughout history that working with my hands gives me.

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One Yukon Minute: hail storm at Fox Lake